Text: Mark 2:1-12
When Jesus saw their faith, He said unto the sick of the palsy, “Son, thy
sins be forgiven thee.” Mark 2:5
To those in attendance that day two thousand years ago, that seemed such an odd thing for Him to say. Most of those in attendance considered it blasphemy, because only God can forgive sins. Jesus asked them why they were so concerned over His authority to forgive. To show that He had authority and powers they knew not He told the sick man “Arise and take up thy bed and go thy way unto thine own house.” The man took his belongings and left.
Immediately, this brought to mind a story in a sermon Pastor Chestnutt preached here at Grace many years ago. Reynolds Price, a playwright and English professor at Duke had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Mr. Price told his story: “I am not one of those who readily believes in visions. Yet one day, while in that area between awake and asleep I was suddenly in a strange place. I immediately recognized it as the coast of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus appeared and I asked if He could cure the cancer. Without saying a word He picked me up, carried me to the water and placed me in the sea. He said to me “Your sins are forgiven.” I asked about the cancer. He said “and that too.”
Mr. Price often told this story. Always adding that on that day he understood which is more important. I, regrettably, never became a friend of his, so I was never able to hear this story firsthand, only from others who actually heard it from him.
God, help us to remember that the forgiveness of sins is for eternal life, while the healing of an illness results in a finite number of years on earth. And help us to understand the reasons why it is more important. Amen.
~ Tom McGill