“No, it’s okay though, I dried it.”
“Um, I don’t think so,” I said, grabbing it from her. “Just because it’s dry doesn’t mean it’s clean. Now it has dry chlorine, dirt, and dead skin on it.”
She wrinkled her nose, “Ew, that’s gross!”
“Sorry, but I only want clean towels in the cupboard,” I said, tossing it in the hamper.
Jesus got a worse reaction from the leaders of His day when He pointed out the need for true cleansing:
“Some men came carrying a paralyzed 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.’
"The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, ‘Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’
"Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, ‘Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’ So he said to the paralyzed man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’
"Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God” (Luke 5:18-25).
There must have been quite a stir when they cut a hole in the roof and lowered their friend from the ceiling like a spider on an unseen thread. The Pharisees and teachers hated Jesus’ response. They wanted to see a show, but Jesus was more concerned about the deepest need of the paralytic. I think it’s fascinating that when Jesus saw the faith of this man’s friends, He forgave the man. They had faith that He could heal their friend physically as well as spiritually.
The Pharisees and teachers fumed at Jesus’ audacity. How could a mere man claim to speak for God? Jesus read their minds, another miracle, and answered them in front of the crowd by asking them, “What’s harder, to forgive sin or heal a man physically?”
Seems like a toss up to me. Only God can do either one. Of course healing is more of a show stopper. You can’t see the effects of a clean heart right away. We’re more drawn to the spectacular. So, to prove He can do both, Jesus healed his body as well. He fixed the source as well as the symptoms of his paralyzed state.
The man picked up his mat and left praising God. I wonder which miracle meant the most to him – that his heart was clean, or that the consequences of his sin were revoked. In the years to come, when he was tempted to go back to his old way of life, did his friends remind him of this life-changing encounter with Jesus?
God has blessed me with friends who carry me to Jesus when I’m too paralyzed to get there myself. Sometimes I think I need relief from the consequences of my sin, when what I really need is a clean heart. They place me before Jesus in prayer and let Him do the work. As a true friend, I want to do the same for them. Repentance may not look fancy from the outside, but that’s where healing begins, front and center with Jesus.
Lint Removed: Paralyzing Sin
Cleaning Process: The Healing of Forgiveness