March 16, 2020

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Devotions written by Julie Hammer

Jesus challenged the religious leaders of his day. While his detractors sought to entrap him, Jesus exposed their hypocrisy.

Mark 2:1-13

It was inevitable. There was no way the meeting of the Messiah and the Pharisees’ preconceived notion of God would be without conflict. In the three years leading to Jesus’ ultimate revelation—his death, burial, and resurrection—he was increasingly clear about his identity and increasingly angered with the Pharisee’s weaponization of the law. Conflict ensued.

As he healed the paralytic, Jesus told the man his sins were forgiven. According to Jewish theology, the Messiah couldn’t forgive sins, only God himself. Jesus knew what the Pharisees were thinking, but, instead of explaining himself, he put an exclamation point on the end of his statement. Jesus said the reason he’d stated this was so they would “know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

In what ways do you, like the Pharisees, experience a conflict of belief about God? As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection, ask God to show you who he is. Beyond whom you want God to be, beyond what others have told you about God, ask God to show himself to you.

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