And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”
It is very difficult to read this account and dismiss Jesus as some sort of prophet or great teacher. The scribes and the Pharisees understood it when they charged Christ with blasphemy because he forgave the paralytic's sins - only God himself has the authority to forgive sins. And in this face-off of authorities Jesus backs up his claim by speaking a word that not only heals the man's soul but his body as well. And amazement seized them.
The issue is why we today are not seized by amazement when we read of these "extraordinary things" in the gospels. Could it be that we too question the gospel stories in out hearts? Have we become too familiar with Jesus? Perhaps if we read the stories with fresh eyes and believing hearts we would find a renewed sense of joy and awe in our hearts. For it is true: only God appearing in the flesh can forgive sins. Amazing!
Give me fresh eyes Lord. I need to see anew today. You are amazement incarnate!