Why is it Easier?

Matthew 9:5-7  NIV  5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . .” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”  7 And the man got up and went home.

Jesus asked the teachers of the law – who came not to learn, but to accuse – if forgiving or healing is easier for Him, knowing neither was the single right answer.  Instead, there was no difference to Him.  The question I ask myself, as a believer, is why I find it easier to believe in Jesus’ forgiveness than in His healing.

In the early days of being born again, it was easy to doubt salvation, because I based it on thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors – and they looked the same as before Jesus. The “symptoms” of my life were my guide.  Through renewing my mind with the Word Christ, I grew to understand that God forgave all sins (mine and everyone else’s) forever in Christ when He was on the cross.  That meant He had already covered any current “symptoms” to the contrary.  My confidence was transferred gradually to what Christ did, instead of what I was doing.  Today, some of those “symptoms” of unsaved remain, but they no longer throw me into a tailspin concerning whether or not I am forgiven.

Jesus’ healing is no different than His forgiving, according to the above passage.  Both are included in the work of salvation He finished on the cross.  Following this to its logical conclusion, then, once we are in Christ, physical “symptoms” do not determine whether we are healed any more than unsaved “symptoms” determine whether we’re forgiven.  That’s so simple and so clear.  So why do I still rely on my physical “symptoms” to determine my state of health?

camera lensOnly as I worked on this blog post did the answer begin to come into focus.  In fact, my focus has been the problem all along.  I have allowed “symptoms” to determine whether Jesus healed me.  I focused on “symptoms” and missed Jesus, the One Who already completed the work of healing.

Concerning forgiveness, only as the Lord adjusted my focus by His Word and His Spirit was I able to rest in His finished work.   Likewise, I believe He has begun His work of adjusting my focus once again, this time in the area of healing.  He wants me fully in His rest.  And He started it all with the simple question, “Why is it easier?”

2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Hebrews 12:2 NIV  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus . . .

So Loved?

Most of us are very familiar with John 3:16For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son . . .  We’ve always been taught (rightfully so) that this refers to God loving every human being, even the ones who will never believe and receive what He did for us all.  But another verse made me consider this love in an additional way.

Hebrews 12:2 NIV  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

As I read these words more carefully than normal, I pondered in a different way the joy that was set before Jesus.  Jesus had great joy in doing His Father’s will1, regardless of the personal cost to Him.  In the case of the Hebrews verse, was it because He so loved us?  Certainly He did.  In addition, however, I believe that Jesus so loved His Father – our Father – and wanted to complete His joy.  Knowing how much His Father loves us all, and His joy in our unbroken fellowship with Him, Jesus willingly endured the cross to complete His Father’s joy.

Yes, we were definitely an integral part of the joy set before Jesus.  But I believe the other component was the much greater.  The Father’s joy at our reconciliation and restoration to Him was the joy Jesus could see.  His Father’s joy.  Jesus so loved His Father!  His Father so loved us . . .

So loved!

 

1 Remember the story of the woman at the well.  When the disciples came back with much-needed food, Jesus was no longer hungry . . . because He was full from doing the Father’s will.