Luke 5:21-26

Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, “Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he said to the one who was paralyzed—”I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.” Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God.

Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen strange things today.” Luke 5:21-26

We have seen strange things today.” For many reasons, that line has never been more applicable to our lives.

We are edging ever closer to 400,000 people losing their lives to a disease that we didn’t even know existed a year ago. And yet, millions of people still argue that the coronavirus is a hoax. In fact, when the Texas legislature opened for business this week, all the members of one political party wore masks while the vast majority of members of the other party refused.

For the first time in our lifetimes, we have watched our president lose his bid for re-election and not only refuse to admit it, he concocted a litany of fantasies about fraud that convinced millions of people to believe re-election was stolen from him. Today, for the second time, he will be impeached, just days before his term in office ends, because of the role he played in inciting a riot inside our nation’s capital that resulted in the deaths of five people.

What ties these current events to today’s Bible reading? The power of pre-conceived ideas. The power of our world view.

The Pharisees and teachers of the law were right there in the midst of the crowd when they saw Jesus in action. But they didn’t see Jesus as a leader, as a teacher, as a healer. All they saw in looking at Jesus was a threat to their own standing, their own influence, their own power. And because that was their worldview, they were blind to what was happening before their very eyes.

The obvious answer to Jesus’ question is this: Of course it is easier to say “your sins are forgiven” than it is to tell a lame man to stand up and walk! Anyone can say “your sins are forgiven.” Talk is cheap but words matter. But the Pharisees wanted the religious establishment, their own source of power and prestige, to corner the market on forgiveness. Jesus wouldn’t have it.

So he told the man to take up his pallet and walk. And he did! Right before their very eyes! And they didn’t even see it! It didn’t change anything for them. It didn’t shake their pre-conceived ideas. It didn’t change their hearts, their minds, or their intentions to be rid of Jesus forever. It actually fueled those intentions.

Jesus backed up his words with an action that was healing, loving, amazing. As they say, “The proof is in the pudding.”

And so it is in today’s current events. Words matter. They inspire action that reveals character. The proof of the constant lying, exaggeration, hyperbole, incompetence, and race-baiting we have seen over the past four years is now being revealed in vivid color for the entire world to see.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, in these tumultuous days, we pray that you continue to open blind eyes, shake up pre-conceived notions, even as you work through those who would bring healing to the hurting and hope to the discouraged. See us through this time, that we might together for more clearly see you for who you are and continue to be – our Savior, our Lord, our Hope. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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