THE GREATEST GIFT…

MARK 2:5-12: “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘ Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” —He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” NKJV

OBSERVATION: Today it is Christmas morning. The decorations are up, the tree is lit, presents are opened, and family is gathered together. Christmas is a wonderful time as we celebrate God’s gift of His Son Jesus Christ on that hallowed night. Yet, as all the gifts are opened – what is the greatest gift each of us can receive?

Is the greatest gift Christ coming in the form of human flesh and dwelling among us? Is it His teaching, miraculous healings, or His willingness to go to the cross? What is God’s greatest gift of all?

The story of the paralytic is a wonderful illustration of God’s greatest gift. Four men, desperate to find help for their paralyzed friend, climbed a roof, removed the thatching, and lowered the paralytic down by ropes – right in front of Jesus. No doubt they brought the man there to be healed. Yet, this is not what Jesus initially did. The first thing He did was proclaim the forgiveness of sins to the paralyzed man.

This caused quite a stir in the room. I can imagine that the four friends were disappointed. They had brought their friend there for a miracle. And, the religious leaders were incensed that a mere man would proclaim the forgiveness of sins over another man. To them this was blasphemy. At the point of Jesus initial statement no one was satisfied.

I wonder if we approach God in much the same way. We come to Him in prayer, having predetermined how we want Him to answer. And, when He does not answer us in the way we might desire, when our situation is not immediately changed, we too stand disappointed and confused. We forget what the greatest gift of Christmas is.

Jesus could have come to the earth, taught, healed, fed the multitudes, and suffered and died on the cross. Yet, if He never offered us the forgiveness of our sins all of this would have meant nothing. As Paul states in his epistle to the Corinthians,

  • “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” I Corinthians 15:19 NKJV

Think about the paralytic man. What if Jesus healed him, he walked out the door of the house, and continued to live in his brokenness and sin? What good would his new legs do him if his eternal soul was lost forever in hell? Jesus knew the greatest need this man had was to have his sins forgiven. It is only the gift of the forgiveness of our sins that opens the door to heaven and gives us full access to the Father. It is the greatest gift of all!

The wonderful thing about Jesus is that He often does not stop there. The Scriptures are replete with the gracious and merciful hand of God going beyond what we need with acts of kindness, love, and blessings. And, this is exactly what He did for this paralytic man in the sight of all!

  • “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘ Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” —He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

This Christmas, when all the paper is thrown away, when the Christmas dinner is over and the dishes are cleaned up, when Dad takes a nap on the living room floor, and children play with their new toys, let’s not forget the greatest gift of Christmas.

The greatest gift that we will need is the forgiveness of our sins!

Lord, on this Christmas Day, I want to take time the thank you for forgiving my sin. This is the greatest gift of all and the one that makes everything else possible and worthwhile. And, thank you for Your promise to continue to forgive my sins whenever I call upon Your name!

  • “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9 NKJV

Merry Christmas!

In Jesus Name

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy to follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
This entry was posted in Mark. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s