Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer: (1906 – 1945) was a German theologian and anti-Nazi dissident,
Gospel Text: (MT 9:1-8)
After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town.
And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
"Courage, child, your sins are forgiven."
At that, some of the scribes said to themselves,
"This man is blaspheming."
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,
"Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
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 stretcher, and go home."
He rose and went home.
When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe
and glorified God who had given such authority to men.
Like most everything in life, it is our choice. We may choose to "save face," or to go with the more popular opinion or position or to honestly speak the truth, based on what we know and believe.
The paralyzed man was brought to Jesus to be cured, as he had cured so many others. Though Jesus knew this as his petition, Jesus wanted to give importance to a more important cure, a more important healing, of his relationships with God. So he began with this more important cure and lesson, "Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven."
Only after that, at the unexpressed query of the biased teachers of the Law, does he physically cure him, "Stand up! Take up your stretcher and go home."
Both healings are miracles of God's loving mercy: may we value the healing of the spirit more.