February 11, 2020 – Tuesday
Matthew 9:2 NIV
2 Some men brought to Him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
On Sunday I taught on this (verses 1-8), but from an unexpected perspective. You see I had taught on this event before as it also occurs in Mark 2:1-12 and Luke 5:17-26 with additional details. What amazed me in the past and still does is that Jesus was moved by the faith of the men who brought the paralyzed man to Him, When Jesus saw their faith. And of course in Mark and Luke we find out just how crowded it was around Jesus. So crowded the men who brought the paralyzed man to Him, they had to carry him to the roof of the house Jesus was at, a feat in and of itself. Then they dug a hole in the roof so they could lower their friend right in front of Jesus to hopefully be healed. Clearly these men had faith!
However, Jesus did not heal him, at least not right away. Instead He forgave him his sins, Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven. Can you picture or imagine this? Large crowd with many wanting to get in Jesus presence, but a small space around Him is open for those He is taking care of and this paralyzed man is lowered before Him. I imagine Jesus looked up to the roof and saw the faces of this man’s friends full of hope that he would be healed. What faith they had to make this trip and this great effort to get their friend in front of Jesus. Then Jesus bends over their friend and says Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven. Clearly not what his friends had expected.
There was a reason though, Jesus was going to use this as a teachable moment to use our modern day vernacular for them and for us. For in the very next verse some of the teachers of the law or scribes, said to themselves, This fellow is blaspheming! And it would not have only been the teachers of the law or scribes, as any Jew in His presence would also naturally believe Jesus had committed blasphemy for only God can forgive sin. Only God. So what do we read next, but that 4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?
What a nonsensical question they must have thought. Only God can forgive sins and only God can truly heal a paralyzed man and have him walk. Only God. What of all those standing around? They would have thought the same and thought as well that with this question Jesus had just defined Himself as a blasphemer.
Then Jesus made it worse or apparently so when He said 6a But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. I imagine there were gasps of astonishment at such a statement, hands went over mouths or ears and they likely stepped back from Jesus upon hearing such blasphemy. They knew only God had authority to forgive sins. Only God.
What thoughts they must have had. Perhaps they even thought to stone Jesus, but such thoughts would have only been half formed as Jesus followed up His statement about having authority to forgive sins when 6b He said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home” whereupon 7 Then the man got up and went home. This made a great impression upon those present for as we read in the next verse 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.
Now there was no longer a question or thought of blasphemy. But what of the scribes and teachers of the law? Did they learn what Jesus had meant for them to learn? No, they remained deaf and blind to what they had heard and seen. They refused to believe what their lying eyes and ears told them that Jesus was the Messiah and/or God and/or the Son of God. They knew only God could forgive sins and they knew only God could heal a paralyzed man, yet they could not, would not believe.
Then there was the other lesson for them as well as for us. When we pray for the health of others, do we first pray they will know Jesus as their Lord and Savior if they have not already accepted His free gift of Grace. Eternal salvation is more important than the temporary healing of one’s health. Infinitely more important.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton