Feb 16, 2020
Yesterday in Exodus, we heard about the plans for the incense altar, and about the making of incense and anointing oil. We heard also of God's choosing and giving the ability to Bezalel and Oholiab for making everything required in the worship of God. And God emphasized the importance of keeping the Sabbath as a covenant responsibility.
Psalm 5 is a song for early morning (when arising from a night of sleep). Erling Olsen comments that this Psalm says that God hates or detests evildoers. Olsen observes correctly that this stands in stark contrast to pictures of God that make him only capable of the sentiment of love. We as God's created beings have no right to criticize Him or remake him in an image we find more acceptable. God who created us has all emotions. And thankfully, He is completely just. He possesses the right to judge his created beings.
Yesterday in Luke 4, we read of Jesus being rejected in his hometown, of healings, and casting out demons. He refused to have his identity proclaimed by demons and silenced them. And He refused to stay in one town but went around preaching in the whole area.
The verses we will hear today in Luke 5:22-23 were very difficult for us to translate into both languages in which I have worked as a Bible translator. The NLT translated this way: “Why do you question this in your hearts? 23 Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’?
For one thing, it is not physically ‘difficult’ to pronounce either statement. As to the answer to the rhetorical question ‘which is easier to say’, I do NOT buy the interpretation found in some translations that it was easier for Jesus to forgive the man’s sins because it was something that could not be physically seen. It was hard for Jesus to say both statements— hard in the sense that both statements require the power of God. Remember, Jesus knows that He will go to the cross in order to purchase forgiveness for this man— and for us. Jesus chose the order of his statements— not based on apparent difficulty, but to prove an important point to everyone, and especially his critics. As you listen today, be sure to catch the point!