THE WEEK OF TRINITY XIX – SATURDAY
LESSON: PSALM 32:1‒5
“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, take 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. Matthew 9:4‒8
If there were no human being on earth who could forgive us our sins, and there were only laws and works, what a feeble, wretched thing our poor, afflicted conscience would be! But now that God has filled every mouth so that it can say to its neighbor, “Your sins are forgiven you, no matter where you may be,” a real jubilee year has dawned for all men.
As a result of this, we should adopt a bold stance over against sin. When we encounter a brother who is in fear and trembling because of his sins, we should tell the poor man quite confidently: “Be joyful and assured, my brother, your sins are forgiven you! Although I cannot give you the Holy Spirit and faith, I can nevertheless proclaim them to you. If you believe, you will receive.” And those to whom Christ gives the Holy Spirit and faith, thank and praise God as the people did in the Gospel (Matthew 9:1‒8).
This also means that God has given man the power and authority to forgive sins. This is extending the kingdom of Christ, healing and establishing a troubled conscience. We do this through the Word. God grant that we may grasp it in this way.
PRAYER: Blessed indeed are we, heavenly Father, in the knowledge and assurance of the forgiveness of sins. Let us never underrate this glorious message, even when it is proclaimed to us by one of our brethren, in and through Christ our Savior. 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.