One of the things about one’s birthday is that it gives one the opportunity to look back at the mistakes that have been made during the year. I have made a lot of them. I once sent my mom a birthday card that said “Mom, you have had a lot of difficulties in your life. Happy Birthday, from one of them.” The thing that I hate the worst about looking back is that there is really nothing that we can do but look. Our lives don=t have a reverse gear or a time-controlled backspace. The pages of the calendar only tear out one way. Once we make a mistake, or commit a sin there is no way to go back and undo it. In life, God does not give us a “do over.” Yet we still go on making mistake after mistake, committing sin after sin, and longing for forgiveness. I know that people long for forgiveness because I hear from them quite often. I know it because I so often need forgiveness myself. I need it from my co-workers. I need it from my family, and I need it from God. We all have to find some way of finding forgiveness.
Some deal with this guilt in different ways.
Some drown it in Alcohol or drug use.
Some deflect it by saying that they have never done anything wrong. Yet deep down they know that they need help.
Today we will read one of the few passages where Jesus explicitly forgives someone.
JESUS BRINGS FORGIVENESS. Every person should experience the forgiveness that is available through Jesus Christ.
Forgiveness brings Liberation from exile.
A. This is one of two places where Jesus explicitly forgives someone.
B. Sin, sickness and exile are all related.
Forgiveness brings Altercation with enemies.
3. Who the scribes were. A combination lawyer and theologian and the ones that we see in the Gospel of Matthew are very legalistic. This is the first mention of opposition by them.
What the A.
controversy was about-Jesus claimed not just to announce forgiveness, but to offer it himself. DUCK INTO 7-11 AGOT ANY GRAPES?@ Some threats are real, others are not. Jesus meant what he said and had the authority to back it up. That is what the Ain order that@ means in v. 6
Forgiveness brings Exhalation to God. V. 8
Conc.: The church is a hospital for people who are sick. Forgiveness is the medicine that they need, but that they so often go away without. If the church is to proclaim the message of grace, it must proclaim the message of forgiveness. A forgiveness that is available only through Jesus.
G. K. Chesterton said, "God paints in many colors, but he never paints so gorgeously as when he paints in white."
Philip Yancy in his book The Jesus I never Knew tells the story of a friend who works with the down and out in Chicago. He met a Prostitute who had a two-year-old girl. She made more renting out the girl than by herself.
The worker asked her if she had ever considered going to church. He said that he will never forget the look of pure naïve shock on her face as she said Achurch, why would I want to go there? I am feeling terrible about myself already. They would just make me feel worse.
Contrast that with the story of Martin Luther
There is a story that one night Martin Luther went to sleep troubled about his sin. In a dream he saw an angel standing by a blackboard, and at the top of the board was Luther's name. The angel, chalk in hand, was listing all of Luther's sins, and the list filled the blackboard. Luther shuddered in despair, feeling that his sins were so many that he could never be forgiven. But suddenly in his dream he saw a pierced hand writing above the list these words: "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." As Luther gazed in amazement, the blood flowed from the wounded hand and washed the record clean.
Charles Wesley in his wonderful hymn reminded us of that:
He breaks the power of canceled sin And sets the captive free. His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.