FORGIVE BILL CLINTON ?!?
Isaiah 43:18-26; Ps. 32:1-8; 2 Corinthians 1:18-22; Mark 2:1-12
SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY
February 20, 2000
What a cute story!! This is one of those you and a hundred other people get in your email with a note that says: "This is soooooo inspiring!!" I do enjoy those stories. .. Or maybe, this is the type of story that becomes the theme for a Vacation Bible School ... friends caring enough for other friends to make this special effort. How cute ... how inspiring.
Or it is until you begin to think about it. Once you do the reaction changes to: "How could Jesus do that? How could Jesus do something so .. so ... so insane? Yes, Jesus is God but there are limits. There have to be limits!"
I don't mean the healing. That is a minor point. Even the Scribes admitted that. The issue is the forgiveness. How could Jesus do that? The man never even asked for forgiveness!! Remember Jesus had healed the leper who ran around telling everyone about this new miracle worker in the neighborhood. The paralytic came to be healed, not forgiven.
And notice ... this is extremely important in our society ... that Jesus makes it clear here, and in other stories, that the illness is not linked with the sin. If that linkage existed the man would have gotten up immediately. Or, Jesus would have said, "I already healed you, why don't you walk away." No, the forgiveness and the healing are different issues. In fact, it appears that Jesus forgave the man and turned away, ready to let him remain a paralytic. Only when later challenged does Jesus turn back and heal.
So the forgiveness is the key event, and the man never asked for it! What right does Jesus .. God .. have to forgive without being asked? Did Jesus consider the people who had been wronged by this man's sins? Was restitution made? Did Jesus verify the repentance? Such quick and easy forgiveness is, at best, reckless. (thanks to the Rev. Brian P ...
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