Response of Grace
The following passages demonstrate:
The grace of God in forgiveness
Faith displayed by actions
The response of faith in Christ
While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When He saw them, He said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests."
And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan.
Then Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine - where are they? "Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?" And He said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has made you well."
Ten leprous men cried out to Jesus for mercy and Jesus commanded them to show themselves to the priests. This was a requirement of the Law of God to confirm people with leprosy have been cleansed and were free to rejoin the community (Leviticus 13-14).
On the way to the priests, all ten men were healed and one was so overwhelmed with gratitude, that he immediately returned to thank and worship Jesus. The other nine men demonstrated their ingratitude by not thanking Jesus. As so often is the case, people show ingratitude for the gifts of God without any consideration for His kindness and blessings. But the Samaritan leper truly experienced the grace of God and demonstrated his gratitude to Jesus for his healing.
The reality is that God is merciful and gracious to all people, yet many people want God’s blessings without wanting to be in a personal relationship with God. It is a great insult and offense to God which deeply grieves Him.
There is no other response to the love of God in Christ apart from sincere, heartfelt gratitude and to worship Him by offering ourselves to be used for His service and seeking to please Him in all aspects of our lives.
The alternative is to be excluded from His mercy and suffer His wrath in eternal separation from Him. “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:21)
When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them.
And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying.
And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?" Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, "Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts?
"Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, 'Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk'? "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"- He said to the paralytic, "I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home."
And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."
Only God can forgive sins and this passage clearly demonstrates Jesus is God.
Jesus healed the paralytic because He saw the faith of the four men who lower him through the roof. This is a great encouragement for us to pray for people and ask God to heal, guide, comfort and have mercy on them.
The action of the men getting their friend to Jesus was an act of faith. They believed in Jesus and they demonstrated this by their actions. We often have to struggle to get to Jesus in prayer but it is an indication of our faith by our persistence to call on Him in prayer daily.
Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.
Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner."
And Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he replied, "Say it, Teacher." "A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. "When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?" Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have judged correctly."
Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. "You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. "You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.
"For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." Then He said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven."
Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins?" And He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
The women was a prostitute. The fact she touched Jesus, yet alone kissed His feet, was socially unacceptable in Jewish culture. But her actions were from an overwhelming understanding that her sins were forgiven.
Sexual sin is horrible in the sight of God and causes the sinner terrible consequences in personal guilt and feelings of unworthiness, and destroys the intimacy of future relationships.
This passage shows the love of God for us in the magnitude of His forgiveness. Sin is a disease of the soul and it causes great pain and grief not only to the sinner, but to God. It is the pain experienced when a parent sees their children suffering.
The purpose of God’s forgiveness is that the power of sin will be broken in our lives. In Christ we are forgiven once and forever from the consequences of sin. As we daily follow Jesus by reading His word and spending time with Him in prayer, by regularly meeting together to fellowship with good and sincere Christians and seek to serve Him in acts of charity and kindness to those in need; we become more like Him and the power of sin in our lives is progressively reduced. Finally at the resurrection we will be glorified and made sinless by the grace and power of God.
The debt of our sin to God is great. The majority of people and Christians do not realise or understand just how sinful we are in the eyes of our Father in heaven. By the same token we do not know how much we are loved by God. As Timothy Keller says, “We are worse than we think and loved more than we can imagine”.
The response of the prostitute is the normal response to the forgiveness of God in Christ. If God’s forgiveness in Christ does not move you deeply within your heart to action, then I encourage you to read the Sermon on the Mount and see how you match up to what God requires of you (Matthew 5-7). After that, confess your sins and pray that God will open the eyes of your heart to know the love of Christ in a more personal and intimate way.
I encourage you to meet with fellow believers who you trust and are comfortable sharing the personal details of your life with so that you may confess your sins to each other and pray for each other, that you may overcome persistent sins in your life.
You can hold each other accountable without being judgemental and support each other in prayer and fellowship.
This can only be done if you are truly serious about following Jesus and living a life pleasing to God.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).