1And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
2And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
3And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
4And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
5For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
6But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
7And he arose, and departed to his house.
8But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
(Matthew 9:1-8, King James Version)
As we continue with Matthew 9 in our, "Words of Christ" series, Jesus gives us some interesting insight into the purpose of the healing of a man who was sick of the palsy. Was it a lesson failed by those who were present, or did they pass the lesson Jesus was trying to teach to them?
By and large, they all failed! First of all, Jesus began this "healing" by saying to the sick man, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." Does this mean that the man was sick because he had sinned? No! Later, in verse 6, Jesus explained, "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins." In other words, Jesus used this occasion of the healing of the man sick with palsy to demonstrate to those present that He was not just a man, like them, but He was the God Man who, indeed, had the power to forgive sins! In other words, Jesus was not just healing the physical infirmities of this man, but, rather, He was also healing the far greater spiritual infirmities of this man as well!
Did the scribes who witnessed this event understand what Jesus was saying? Yes! Did it change their attitudes toward Him? No! How do we know this? In verse 4, Jesus said, "Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?" Jesus was demonstrating His power, as the Son of God, to understand their thoughts. Though they said nothing, he knew the evil that existed in their hearts.
Did the multitudes understand what Jesus was saying and doing? No! Verse 8 says, "But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men." What is wrong with that statement? They were amazed that God had given such power to a mere man, but Jesus was not just a mere man. Many of these hopefully came to a greater understanding of Jesus later, realizing that He was not just a man, but was their true Messiah, the Son of God.
What of us today in this the 21st century? As we read verses such as these from the book of Matthew, how do we respond? Who is this Christ to us? Do we view Him as a great prophet who did great things and then died as do all men, or do we view Him as Jesus, the Son of God, and the Son of Man who died, was buried, and later resurrected, and now sits at the right hand of God, interceding for His children? Do we understand that the Bible has recorded these events so that we, too, might come to know Jesus as our own personal Lord and Savior?
Do we also catch the nuances from this passage and understand that, even today, Jesus, the Son of God sees and knows us: our thoughts, our words, and our deeds? Just as He knew the thoughts of the scribes, so He knows what is in our heart of hearts. As professing Christians, Jesus knows us as no mere man can!
May we seek to live our lives in a manner that is pleasing to God, and pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ. It matters little what others think of us, but what God thinks of us is critical! He makes no mistakes, for He knows our hearts even better than we ourselves do! We can even convince ourselves that we are a good and just person, but God sees the bare truth!
What are we to do? Salvation is through none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing our own inability to save ourselves, or to live a life truly pleasing to God, we must cast ourselves upon the Lord Jesus. He, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will not only lift us up, and save us, but He will give us the ability to live a life that is pleasing to Him. It is good if we understand that, like this man who was sick with palsy, we cannot heal ourselves. But, also, like this man who was sick, Jesus can forgive our sins, so that we can come before God through the righteous blood of Christ.
So, my question today is this: how do we stand before the Lord in this passage from Matthew 9? Is it a lesson failed, or is it a lesson passed--passed through faith in Christ.
Go to Christ today. Seek His power and grace to give you the strength to live this day in a manner which is pleasing to Him!
God Bless You,