Matthew 9:1-8, February 09, 2020
Hearing and Seeing
Review: 8:28-34 Demons and Pigs. When the boat arrived on the Eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee something truly odd happened, two demon possessed men came out to meet Jesus and only Jesus. They had no interaction with the others, only Jesus. A number of things stand out about their meeting with Jesus. 1) They knew who He was, 2) they feared Him, 3) they knew a time would come for their punishment, 4) they knew He had power over them, 5) they knew they could not remain in the men they possessed, and 6) they begged for mercy asking to possess the pigs, asking permission in the hope of avoiding an early start to their eternal punishment. And 7) with one word “Go” they went out of the two men and possessed the pigs who panicked and ran into the lake and drowned.
When this was reported the only concern was for the loss of the pigs and no concern of what had been done for the two men who had been possessed. What are we to make of this? Then or today? So many turn their backs on Christ when His good works can be seen all around them. Jesus provides an answer in John 3:19-21 where He teaches Nicodemus some people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. Some want to live in the darkness of their sin. It is the same today as FOX NFL refused this ad.
Today we will find such darkness exists on both sides of the Sea of Galilee
9:1-8 This story is also found in Mark 2:1-12 and Luke 5:17-26 with additional details. Jesus and His disciples are back in Capernaum. Let me tell you how I have taught on this in the past, how it was about the faith paralyzed man’s friends that resulted in Jesus healing him.
Physical healing is wonderful BUT spiritual healing, accepting Christ and His sacrifice at the cross will have much greater impact. Eternal impact! Physical healing is temporary, band aid of sorts and does not address a person’s eternal status, a person’s eternal health. The number one issue in everyone’s life is not their health, but their relationship with Jesus or their lack of a relationship with Jesus.
9:2 The very first thing Jesus takes care of for the paralyzed man is not his health condition, but his sin condition. He forgives him his sin. Physical healing is important, really important, especially if you are the one seeking to be healed. BUT it was never meant to be an end in itself, it was meant to be a means to an end. It was meant to bring you into a relationship with God, with His Son, with the Holy Spirit. It was not meant to enable you to go out and begin living a life of drinking and partying.
Praying for healing for believers is always good and we can read that in James 5:13-15. But we pray for the healing of unbelievers so they might be healed and transformed by what a loving God has done for them and they might give their life to Jesus.
If we are praying for someone’s health we should know or find out about their status with Jesus and if they don’t know Jesus as their Lord and Savior we should add that to our prayer each and every time. Jesus in our verses today deals with the root problems first – sin and forgiveness.
9:3 Looking at this verse the teachers of the law were correct for only God could forgive sin. Only God. Now we as Christians can forgive sins, in fact we are instructed to do so – sins against us. But when Jesus bent down and said to the paralyzed man and said your sins are forgiven that was obvious blasphemy – He cannot do this!
9:4 Jesus knowing what they are thinking asks them a question? Which is easier? We know ours are forgiven because per 1 John 1:9
and we know the key is confession and that Jesus is faithful and just. But in our verses today the man does not bring up the issue of sin – not a word. Jesus with no prompting simply says your sins are forgiven.
9:5 Those there understood correctly this was something only God could do. That’s why Jesus asked the question in verse five. Of course only God can forgive and only God can heal. Both are possible only for God.
9:6 So Jesus answers the question He had asked by healing the man so that they would know who He is. When they man got up, walked and left He showed He had the authority to forgive and heal. He proved it. Why all of this? Jesus wants them to know who He is. He is answering the question of who He is. His actions provide the answer. So they are teachers of the word and they saw Jesus do what only God could do, yet they did not believe. Why? Psalm 81:10-13 provides the answer:
. Like the teachers they see but are blind to what they see, they hear but are deaf to understanding what they hear. It is a condition that continues to this very day. Jesus was making His claim to be God. People will tell you Jesus never claimed to be God but He did here. To not see this is to exhibit the same blindness and deafness of those present there that day. Jesus confronted this blindness over and over, time and time again throughout His ministry.
They saw miracle after miracle, heard teaching after teaching, and yet they still refused to believe what they saw and heard with their own eyes and ears.
9:7-8 The crowd understood. But even as believers we are often deaf to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Primarily due to two reasons. 1-Stubbornness as in Psalm 81. We don’t like the leading or the answers we are given by God to our prayers.
… we are often like the horse or mule when instead we should be praying for God to give us a listening ear and heart. We need to – have to – pray to hear Him without stubbornness getting in the way.