One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.” –Luke 5:17-26
In this story of Jesus meeting a paralyzed man, two amazing miracles took place. Do you see what they are? When the paralyzed man was first brought to Jesus, Jesus said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” That was the first miracle. The second miracle was when Jesus healed the man so that he could walk again.
The question is, which one of those miracles do you think is more impressive? Healing a paralyzed man—that’s pretty neat. With just a word, Jesus knit the man’s broken spinal cord back together. Muscles that hadn’t been used in years suddenly became strong. Nobody else but Jesus could do a miracle like that.
But as amazing as that was, it wasn’t the most impressive miracle. The most impressive miracle was what happened when Jesus said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” At that moment, every single bad thing that man had ever said or thought or done was immediately wiped away. His heart was cleansed of sin. He was given eternal life. His name was written down in heaven. He became God’s child forever. All because Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Does that seem like a miracle to you? It is. In fact, it’s a much harder miracle than making the man walk.
Don’t take my word for it; that’s what Jesus himself said. The Pharisees (who thought they were super holy and better than everyone else) grumbled when Jesus forgave the man. “Doesn’t he know that only God can do that?” they asked.
Jesus did know that. He knew that only God could take sin away from the heart. Only God could pay the great debt that the man owe. Only God could give him eternal life and a home in heaven.
So Jesus asked them a question, “What’s easier, for me to forgive him, or tell him to walk?”
The answer is: it was much easier for Jesus to tell him to walk. All that took was just a word from Jesus. But forgiving sin is something really hard to do. In fact, it was so hard, that it would cost Jesus his life. The only way for Jesus to forgive that sin was to go to the cross and die for that sin, to take the punishment that the man deserved for his sin and bear it himself. Forgiving sin is the hardest thing in the whole world for Jesus to do.
But that’s exactly what Jesus had come to do. He hadn’t just come to heal people’s sickness and make them feel better. He had come to heal a far wore disease than paralysis: he had come to heal the disease of sin. The whole point of Jesus coming to earth was to heal the disease of sin, so that everyone who trusts in him would have all their sin forgiven and a home with him in heaven forever.
So if you have trusted Jesus and asked him to forgive you, an amazing miracle has happened in your heart, too. It’s the same miracle that happened in this story: God has wiped away every bad thing you’ve ever done or said or thought and had made you his child forever.
If you haven’t asked Jesus to take away your sin, you can ask him today. You don’t have to wait until you’re better, or older, or smarter. Jesus has done all the hard work—he obeyed perfectly, he died for you, he rose again to life—so that all you have to do is trust him, and ask for that miracle. And then you, too, can be God’s child forever.