I think that it is very instructive that we often find Jesus pronouncing the forgiveness of a person’s sins before He heals them of their physical sickness or disability. Why does Jesus do things in this order? I believe that Jesus wants to teach us of the primacy of forgiveness in the spiritual life. He wants us to realize that the most basic foundation for a holy life is found in the willingness of God to forgive our sins. The corollary is also true in that the forgiveness of God will only take full effect in our lives if we are willing to repent of our sins as well!

When Jesus announces His readiness to begin His mission in Mark’s Gospel He tells us that we must repent and believe. Repentance in one sense is prior to belief as it is only when we are willing to let go of all the wrong thinking and wrong doing in our lives that constitutes our sin, will be able to take on the mind of Christ and begin to live a life of holiness and grace. The primacy of forgiveness and repentance is there for the purpose of clearing the way so that the truth of the Gospel can take proper root in our lives and wont be just sidelined straight away by more sin.

At the same time Jesus demonstrates his complete authority over sin and anything the devil might seek to do to us. If we remember, yesterdays Gospel told us of the healing of the Gadarene demoniac. Following this with the healing of a paralytic demonstrates to us, the reader, the complete authority that Jesus has over any situation. We can be sure that the promise of God’s forgiveness of our sins is not a hollow one. We can rely upon the promise of His love.

This leaves us in the position of having to choose to submit to the order that God has created or to try to go against it. We must ask ourselves whether or not we are willing to entrust our lives to the mercy of God and follow in His footsteps or are we going to try to make it on our own? I think that the dramatic nature of the miracles that Jesus works is designed to help us be convinced that we should submit our lives to God. The demonstration of Jesus’ authority is enough to convince me. What about you?

How seriously do I take the call to repent of my sins and clean things up within so that the holiness and love of God can take root in my life?

Jesus, you have forgiven all of my sins. Help me to be humble enough to accept the gift of your forgiveness. I pray for the grace to experience the presence of your love and forgiveness in my life so that I can better share it with others.