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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Matthew 9:1-8 reads:

And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city.  And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”  But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?  For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.”  And he rose and went home.  When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

When we read this story, it is easy to fall into contentment with the end result. The paralytic was forgiven of his sins (verse 2), the scribes’ thoughts were challenged and corrected by Jesus (verses 3-5), Jesus proclaims that he is the Son of Man (verse 6a), and the paralytic is physically healed by Jesus (verses 6b-7). Yet, would we be satisfied with Jesus if this story had a different ending? What if Jesus only forgave the paralytic of his sins but did not heal him physically? Would that be enough? Interestingly, this story provides believers with a question that should be asked on a daily basis: Is the fact that Christ has forgiven me of my sins enough?

In February 2013, I was diagnosed with a kidney disease that, more times than not, ends in death. When I was in my hospital bed, I began to wrestle through issues of faith that I had never had to deal with before. Is what Christ has done for me truly enough? Would I still be devoted to Him if I had a life of kidney transplant after kidney transplant? I wanted to be like the paralytic in the story: forgiven and physically healed. It was in this season that He brought me to Psalm 63:3, which reads, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” In Christ’s steadfast love, He decided to forgive me of my sins and grant me the promise of spending eternity with Him in a place where “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

As believers we are constantly being challenged to decide if what Christ has done in our lives, mainly the forgiveness of sins, is truly enough. Would you still be faithful to Christ if you lost your job? Would you still be in adoration of Him if your health diminished? Would you still be able to call Jesus Lord and Savior if you had to live on the streets? If in this time of fasting you are finding that you do not find the forgiveness of your sins to be enough, be encouraged and know that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9), and “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). In comparison to this world, what Christ has for you is truly enough.

Vivianne Castillo
Ministry Fellow at Princeton