For the Forgiveness of Sins

A reading for Thursday, June 5, 2014: Matthew 9:1-8.

"This cup is the new covenant, sealed in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins." These are the words we say as disciples observing the sacrament of communion. ...for the forgiveness of sins.

We believe that the power to transform is based on the forgiveness of sins. Sin is anything that separates us from God and the life that God intends for all. It is not just a set of rules for good people to follow, though we are given direct guidance in scripture about what is pleasing to God and what offends God. Instead sin is the problem of creation that God has been dealing with throughout all of scripture, since the beginning. It is the limitation of humanity that Jesus came to set beyonds its limits. Sin is the binding of our hearts and our minds that the Christ offers us salvation and release from. We are saved from our sins by the forgiveness of sins.

When Jesus returns to Capernaum in our lesson today, he first sees the compassion of those helping a paralyzed man. This man was not living the life God intends for all. So Jesus declares for all to hear what is wrong. Not that the man sinned and was being punished for his sins, as some believers sometimes wrongly assume, but in fact that all the world is caught in sin and death and this man suffers from the fall of creation. He is a victim of sins.

What's interesting is that Jesus sees in the friends that carry the paralyzed man a hope and a compassion that is pleasing and honoring to God. "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." This is what moves Jesus to heal and to proclaim God's intention against sins. Compassion and care, hope and faith, trust and forgiveness... these are the powers that God has given to humanity to transform creation. This is what Jesus came to proclaim... for the forgiveness of sins.

The scribes don't understand. They still believe sin is individualized and based only on obeying the law. How can anyone forgive sins but God, who has given the law? For them this is still about the rules. Well, the truth is, this Jesus is God who has given the law but more than that, this is God who is honored and proclaimed in the forgiveness of sins. The forgiveness of sins by God is what transforms all of creation.

Today no matter who you are you will be surrounded by two things: Because creation is still being transformed, you will be among sins and the brokenness and captivity of creation. However, because the world is still being transformed you will also be among the forgiveness of sins and the proclamation of God intentions for peace, for shalom. Truth is we have the power of Jesus... "to glorify God, who had given such authority to human beings."

Be compassionate, be faithful, be hopeful in trusting Jesus Christ ...for the forgiveness of sins.


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