Session Three - Follow Series
A Magic Carpet Ride
It’s impossible to go through life and come out unblemished. For my last birthday someone gave me a white shirt. It’s my favourite shirt, it goes with everything; jeans, trousers, shoes. But the trouble with a white shirt is I can only wear it once before it needs washing. I either spill a drink on it, lean against something, or it just gets grubby through the day before what started as a bright white is looking dull and dirty.
It’s the same with us; what starts out bright and clean can, over time, start to lose its shine. It might be a small lie we tell, gossiping about someone behind their back, or losing our temper and lashing out. It might be just a thought we think, a jealous or bitter mood we dwell on. Sin is a reality of life, and every time we slip up it’s like another bump against our ‘white shirt’.
Jesus knew this about us, which is why one of the most common things he would tell people was “Your sins have been forgiven.” So many people experienced Jesus’ forgiveness with miraculous results in their lives. The gospel of Luke tells an interesting story about one man in particular:
One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralysed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
Luke 5:17-20 (NIV)
What’s really interesting about this guy is that he has come to Jesus in the hope that he would heal him. It’s clear his mates believed that if anyone could help him Jesus could. They were so sure about this that they weren’t going to wait outside; they needed to get their friend to Jesus! They were so desperate that they climbed onto the roof, removed the tiles and lowered him down right in front of Jesus. That would’ve been a cool scene to see!
Now this guy obviously had a physical ailment, yet interestingly Jesus didn’t say to him, ‘your back is healed’ or ‘your legs are strengthened’. He didn’t diagnose the man with a condition or prescribe a cure. Instead Jesus said to the man, “Your sins have been forgiven.”
What the? Did this guy say anything about his sins? His friends brought him to Jesus to ask for healing.
And that is exactly what Jesus did for him.
The truth is, sin is more than a ‘stain or a dirty mark’ on a shirt, more than a messy room. It is something that eats away at us, weighs us down, and over time can cripple us. Sin cripples our relationships, it cripples how we think about others and it can cripple how we think about ourselves.
Write out your thoughts to the questions below, then move on to ‘Cleaning out The Closet’.
- Why do you think Jesus said to the man, 'Your sins are forgiven'?
- What ways do you think sin can 'cripple' people?
- Can you relate to feeling 'unworthy' when presented with something special? Do you have a sense of 'not feeling good enough' before the unconditional love of Jesus?
Tash Mierendorf & Pat Keady (c) 2014 Ignite Youth