Maggie Niles,
Grace Church, Honesdale

And now some men brought him a paralyzed man lying on a bed. Seeing their faith
Jesus said to the man, ‘Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.’ At this some of the
lawyers said to themselves, ‘This is blasphemous talk.’ Jesus knew what they were
thinking, and said, ‘Why do you harbor these evil thoughts? Is it easier to say, “Your
sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and walk”? But to convince you that the Son
of Man has the right on earth to forgive sins’ –he turned to the paralyzed man–‘stand up,
take your bed, and go home.’ Thereupon the man got up, and went off home. The people
were filled with awe at the sight, and praised God for granting such authority to men.

Matthew 9:1-8

Perhaps these men are on a journey, long or short, to enable their paralyzed friend a chance at healing. It must have been heavy work, so they must have really believed in Jesus’ abilities. How wonderful that Jesus instantly recognizes the faith of both the friends and that of the paralyzed man. He heals the man straight away! But here are the naysayers again. They seem to hover around all the time, don’t they? These legalistic folks can find fault in the smallest or the biggest things; no infraction is too small to ignore, it seems, and no principle is too large to overshadow a law. So Jesus has to make it all clearer. Again. Forgiveness enables healing. Loving resolution on the inside enables healing on the outside.

Maybe it wasn’t very far at all to bring the paralyzed man to Jesus. But it was a pilgrimage for those men in the sense that they were taking an important trip without knowing the outcome. Stepping into the unknown with an open mind and heart is a big risk no matter how long the journey is – across the state or across the street. Maybe all our trips could be pilgrimages, if we paid enough attention!



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