Summary: Christ provides an exit from sin through his forgiveness and offers free entrance to worship.
Two tragedies happened in less than a week. The first took place in Chicago, the second in Rhode Island. Awful accounts depicted how people became trapped in chaos and many eventually perished.
That could have happened to anyone of us, couldn’t it? The truth is, that in many ways, we are trapped in chaos, too. We are victims of sin in this wicked world. Yet, there is hope. No matter what may happen to us in this sinful world, our Savior-God has provided an exit. God’s Word reveals it to us: JESUS PROVIDES THE WAY. Our Savior is the only one who gives us an exit from sin 1) through forgiveness. Since our Savior loves us, we have been given an entrance 2) to worship.
1) Through Forgiveness
The scene is the town of Capernaum. The house in which Jesus taught is Peter’s home. No sooner had Jesus arrived in town than the news spread. Most of the crowd gathered to hear what Jesus had to say, and perhaps to see a miracle or two. Luke tells us that there were also Pharisees and teachers of the law, present from Galilee, Judea and Jerusalem; most likely a delegation sent to checkout this new rabbi and report back to the Sanhedrin.
"Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. What were these guys thinking? Did they actually think they could squeeze this paralyzed man through the door? The house was so packed that people were pressed against one another. The doorway had become a huge bottleneck. No one could get in and no one could get out.
Are you looking for a way out or for a way in? Often, we seek a way out of things. We look for a way out of trouble. We want out of broken relationships, “This marriage isn’t working, so I quit!” We want out of financial problems, “I can’t handle all of this credit card debt.” We want out of sickness and disease, “If I have to see another doctor, I’ll scream!”
Why do we want out? It’s because we’re afraid. We realize that our lives have become broken, and our bodies ruined. So we search desperately for an exit. I cannot even imagine the horror experienced by those trapped in that Rhode Island nightclub last Thursday evening. Packs of people were trapped, trampled, and burned as they searched frantically for a way out of that blazing inferno.
And yet, that is similar to the horror sin brings into our lives. We find that we are quick to enter into what seems to be a wonderful place, but when harsh realities of sin manifest itself, we run desperately to the nearest exit only to find ourselves trapped. And we are trapped. We are trapped in these sinful bodies. Illnesses, disease, even death, overwhelm us because of sin in this world. We find sin traps us in other ways – hurt feelings, guilt, resentment, or lack of trust – close in around us.
“Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.” Here’s an example of people who were looking for a way out. They wanted their paralyzed friend to have a way out of his suffering. He was trapped in a sin-racked body. Yet, they believed Jesus could heal their friend and provide a way out. Now, when they got near the house, and saw they couldn’t get through the door, they could’ve quit at that point; they had a good excuse to go home. But they were not looking for a way through of the crowd. They were looking for a way in to Jesus because they believed he provided the way out of sin.
The only exit from sin is through the forgiveness Jesus provides. Our deepest need is forgiveness. Forgiveness provides the power to liberate us from past sin. Forgiveness is the power to deal with guilt, not by ignoring it, but by eliminating it. Only Jesus can escort us out of sin by leading us through the forgiveness he provides. Forgiveness heals us at the deepest level of our being. We all need forgiveness.
Thankfully, our Lord has met our most desperate need. He has provided a way out for us. His word proves it: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’” Jesus met the real need. He read this man’s heart and knew that something infinitely worse than paralysis was troubling him – it was his sin and guilt. Sin is what has separated all humankind from God. And one of the results of sin is sickness and disease, even paralysis. Yet, Jesus provided a way out through forgiveness because that is what this man needed.