The Word — Celebrating as we enter a new year!

Published 8:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2022

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I hope you begin the new year jumping with excitement and rejoicing at the prospect of the year to come. That’s the person we find in Mark 2:12.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’” As I picture this man and his friends heading down the road they’re congratulating each other with “high fives.” They’re excited about where the road is leading them.

They should be! Mark records that four friends brought a man who was crippled and could not walk. As the account unfolds it becomes apparent that not only is the man physically crippled but he is crippled by the sins of his past which weigh heavily upon him. So his friends bring him on his bed to meet Jesus. Unfortunately they can’t get to Jesus because of the large crowd that had gathered. But they don’t let that stop them. They tear the roof off to lower their friend to Jesus. Jesus doesn’t disappoint. He forgives the man’s sins and heals his legs!

Now the man stands upon his own 2 feet free from the guilt and anguish of the sins of the past. Psalm 103:12 has become a reality. It says, “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” This man who had to be carried down the road now walks down that same road free from the sins and guilt that had tormented him. Of course he rejoices with his friends!

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What about you? What are you carrying with you as you head down the road and into a new year? Guilt because of something you said or did? Anger over what someone else said or did? Disappointment with what you accomplished this past year? Guilt or sadness because you haven’t taken care of yourself or because the years are catching up to you? Jesus invites you to do exactly what this man did. Give it all to Jesus. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus invites us with these words. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus invites you to give him your sins. He died for them so that you no longer need to carry them. Jesus invites you to give him all the things you’re struggling with. As Paul says in Romans 8:32 “he who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”

Jesus invites you to join the young man from Mark 2 and give to him your sins and struggles so you can head into the new year unencumbered by the past and rejoicing in your future in Christ.

REV. MATTHEW SORENSON is the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church. He can be reached at