January 11
‘If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’ John 20:23
Bible reading: Luke 5:17-26 (Go to the Bible passage)
Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, ‘Get up and walk’ (:23)?
If Jesus asked us that question, we would say that the former is easier than the latter, because the latter can be checked, and the former cannot. For if you tell a man, who is paralyzed, ‘Get up and walk’, and he stays down, everyone will know that this word has been powerless. If we think carefully, we realize that - actually - Jesus could say more easily, ‘Get up and walk’ than, ‘Your sins are forgiven’, because to make the latter possible, He first had to die a God-forsaken death on the cross!
Where do so many people find the courage to tell others that their sins are forgiven, without ever bringing any release or relief…
Jesus was different! The paralyzed man, who had been brought to Him, found that Jesus had power on earth to forgive sins. And He possessed that power because He became obedient to death on the cross (Philippians 2:8). To Jesus it is more important that we receive forgiveness for our sins than that we receive a cure for our bodies. But when our souls are purified of sin by the work of Jesus Christ, we will surely also notice that physically. For he, whose sins are forgiven, finds new strength flowing through his body. God wants to give this wonder now too, for Jesus has told us, ‘As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you’ (John 20:21).
Anyone who accepts this mission to proclaim the gospel and who submits himself to the guidance of God’s Spirit, may tell many others in the authority of Jesus, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven!’ (:20).
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