What Jesus Did! 'The Greatest Need' — Luke 5:21-26

Sunday, March 12, 2023

But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, "Who does he think he is? That's blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!" Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, "Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say 'Your sins are forgiven,' or 'Stand up and walk'? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins." Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, "Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!" And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, "We have seen amazing things today!"
— Luke 5:21-26 NLT

Key Thought

Having just received a call about a friend who is terminally ill, this passage is a powerful reminder. So often my perspective has me focused on the physical needs. That is not bad. It moves me to act with compassion. It brings me to my knees in prayer. However, Jesus reminds me in this passage that forgiveness of sin is the greatest need we all have as humans. Forgiveness is the greatest gift Jesus can give us. Spiritual healing, the healing that brings deliverance from sin and its guilt, is what we most need. As we look at the people around us, let's not forget what the greatest need in their lives truly is!

Today's Prayer

Eternal and gracious God, my Abba Father, forgive me when I get so distracted by lesser things. Stir me to act with compassion and genuine care toward those with physical needs. Help me also to act with compassion and genuine care toward those around me with the greatest need — the need for your grace and forgiveness. Please give me true spiritual vision to see what needs to be done in the lives of those around me. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Psalm 32:1-4
  • 1 Timothy 1:15-17
  • Romans 4:24-25


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Illustration of Luke 5:21-26 NLT — "We have seen amazing things today!"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.