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December 16 - A Kingdom of Forgiveness (Luke 5:17-26)

Prepare for Sunday worship by using the guide below

Adult Education

Miguel Echevarria will continue teaching "Living as Exiles" in the youth room. This study considers instruction from Paul and Peter on living between the times.

Jon Goforth will continue teaching on the doctrine of man in the Adult 1 classroom.

Worship Songs

Hallelujah for the Cross
O Come All Ye Faithful
Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery
Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy

Luke 5:17-26

17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, 19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. 26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

Summary

The issue of forgiveness is difficult for many. It is often made more difficult during the holidays where old hurts come back as families gather together. While we say, 'let bygones be bygones' it is never so easy. How well do you to forgive another who has hurt you? Do you hold grudges and nurse old wounds? A kind of 'I forgive but I do not forget'?  Perhaps the struggle is the other way. Do you struggle with receiving God’s forgiveness over past sins confessed? It is somewhat ironic that around this holiday where hurts are more present, we also celebrate Jesus coming to bring a kingdom marked by forgiveness.  In this miracle story, Jesus declares his authority to forgive sins. This is the reason he came. He proves his authority to forgive, an authority reserved for God alone, by healing a paralytic. The healing of the body proved the healing of the soul. In this we again see the physical struggles point to something greater, something that we can miss as we look at life only in the here and now. Jesus has come to bring about a greater healing, a greater reconciliation with God that will lead us to a joy now and forever.

Review and Apply

Describe the various people in this story.

What is so surprising about Jesus granting forgiveness as he sees the paralytic?

What role do his friends play? How can you see playing a role similar to them in the lives of your friends? 

How is faith 'seen'?

How do the religious leaders misunderstand Jesus?  

Why does Jesus refer to himself as the 'Son of Man'?

What are the various responses? What do you learn from the silence of the religious leaders?

How does your own forgiveness result in joy?  What will need to change for you to find greater amazement over you being forgiven? 

How does your forgiveness produce a desire to forgive others?  Who are you withholding forgiveness from right now?