TRINITY – WEEK 19 – SUNDAY
LESSON: MATTHEW 9:1‒8
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Take heart, My son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2
These words in a brief summary tell us what the kingdom of Christ really is. It is the kingdom in which our hearts are touched by a sweet voice bringing us maternal and paternal words, “Your sins are forgiven.” For a correct understanding, we must not regard the kingdom of Christ otherwise than the way in which we should live in relation to God. In this connection, you in your love will know that the most important thing is to be able to quieten the troubled conscience so that we know how we stand with God and our neighbor.
The kingdom of Christ, then, is a kingdom in which there is consolation pure and simple, and the forgiveness of sins. It is not just a matter of words proclaimed to us setting forth future blessings, but of realized facts, as we see from the example set before us in this Gospel. Jesus did not merely speak these words into the paralytic’s ears. He actually forgave this man his sins and conferred real consolation upon him.
I have often stated, and I say it here again, that you should make a serious effort to understand the nature and the peculiar character of Christ’s kingdom correctly. We know only too well how reason in all respects is inclined to fall away from faith and the correct knowledge of Christ’s kingdom to reliance on works. But in this Gospel you see no works at all, no merit. There is no question here of any commandment or law. There is nothing else here than the offer of Christ’s help, His consolation and grace. The paralytic experiences nothing but Christ’s sheer friendship.
PRAYER: Gracious and merciful Father, You have given us many comforting and assuring consolations in Your Gospel, and none more comforting than the assurance of the forgiveness of our sins. May we never reject these assurances or belittle them in any way, but ever cling to them, in and through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil–Gospels, 5:196-210.