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Monday, December 5, 2005

Luke 5:17-16
The power of the Lord was present for Jesus to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat ... 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 (said) ... "Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

Jesus asked, "Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgiven sins ..." 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.

Another question: which is better for the paralytic, to rise up and walk or to have his sins forgiven? His friends didn't go to all that trouble, risking a lawsuit, destroying part of the stranger's roof, taking their own lives in their hands, just to get a sign of the cross and a blessing, even to get an absolution.

But Jesus thought it was a pretty big deal - it's what he offered after all. And the Pharisees were up-set! Not by the healing but by the words of forgiveness, spoken as if Jesus were God himself.

My spiritual life is inextricable from my physical life. I can distinguish the two, and I get a different kind of "experience" from absolution than I do from sudden physical healing. But both matter a lot to me, and both matter a lot, Jesus seems to say, to God.

We certainly fell hard and long out of the Garden of Eden, and Satan was certainly given this planet earth as his place to roam. But the kingdom of God sends arrows of grace flying in, and Satan has been, is being, and will be defeated.

In this meantime, the Holy Spirit slings those arrows at all my parts, my spirit and my body. God made it all, he owns all of me. It's all good.

Forgive me, Lord, when I try to wag the dog and constrain your love for me with my own incomplete expectations and understanding. My mind, my body, and my spirit all belong to you.

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