Read Mark 2:2-12
All this week you have been praying for a friend or family member to have an encounter with Jesus, and that they would also join you as a guest on Easter Sunday at Covenant. Take a moment now and pray that God would begin to move in this person’s life as you prepare to invite them to church with you.
“And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
One of the amazing claims that scripture makes is that Jesus is the only one who can offer forgiveness of sins. In all other religions forgiveness comes at the expense of your doing more good than bad. The idea is simple; at the end of your life, if you’ve done more good than bad, you might get eternal life. But Jesus has a different take on forgiveness and salvation. In John 14:6 Jesus puts it this way….
“I am the way the truth and the life, no one gets to the Father except through me.”
We see Jesus putting the burden of proof on Himself as the only one who can give access to God. But how can Jesus make this claim? Simple. Jesus is the only one who lived a perfect life, died, and rose again to conquer death. Jesus is the only one who can truly offer forgiveness of sins because Jesus is the only one who died FOR the worlds sins.
When we view forgiveness through the lens of these four friends trying to get their paralyzed buddy in front of Jesus, we see that the reason they showed up wasn’t necessarily for a spiritual reason. In fact, scripture gives us no indication that they were there for any other reason than to have their friend physically healed. But Jesus demonstrates a great truth here in healing the man’s soul before He heals the man’s body.
What does it profit us to be healed physically in this life if our soul isn’t aligned with Christ? Not much. Many times we encounter friends and family that want to get things right before they come to Jesus not understanding that what they need to make right first is their soul and their heart. The only one that can fix a man’s soul is Jesus Himself. The only one who can bring the spiritually dead to life is Jesus.
As you think and pray for your friend or family member today, pray that God gives you an opportunity to share this truth with them. Maybe your conversation would sound something like this….
“I know that you might not feel good enough to come to church with me, or that you need to get some things straightened out before you come as my guest. But what i want you to know is that you don’t need to be perfect to come, I’m not perfect myself…”
As you end today’s devotional, meditate on the fact that God is working in your friends life right now. And give thanks to Jesus for meeting you and accepting you and forgiving you of your sin as well.