The Gospel lectionary reading for today is from Matthew 9:1-8....
And after getting into a boat he crossed the sea and came to his own town.Forgiveness follows from faith. The Scripture says that when Jesus saw their faith, that is, the faith of the men who carried the paralytic and the faith of the paralytic himself, then Jesus forgave the man of his sin.
And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.” And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.
Jesus spoke to the paralytic in endearing terms. He called him "son". This story shows us, once again, the great love and compassion of the Savior. Jesus said to the paralytic, "Take heart." In the King James Version it reads: "Be of good cheer."
Wendell P. Loveless once wrote about the "Three Cheers!" of the Gospel. In Matthew 9:2 Jesus said to the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven." This is the good cheer of pardon and it is the starting point of all Christian life and experience. Then in Matthew 14:22-27 we hear Jesus saying to the disciples as he walks on the water in the midst of the storm, "Be of good cheer; it is me; don't be afraid!" That is the good cheer of comfort. Many people today are out on a stormy sea of disappointment, sorrow, and temptation. But while we are being tossed about by fear, Jesus comes toward us on the water; in his perfect love and grace Jesus calms and quiets our hearts. Then in John 16:33 Jesus says, "In the world you will have trouble: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." That is the cheer of victory!
Have you experienced the cheer of forgiveness? You can as you come to Jesus in faith.
The forgiveness which follows from faith is total forgiveness. The tense of the word "forgiven" in Matthew 9 is an aoristic present. The meaning is that this man's sins have been, are, and will remain forgiven. When we come to Jesus in faith, he forgives our sins: past, present and future. That's a reason for good cheer!