Monday, March 03, 2008

Matthew 9:1-8


1 Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the sea and came to His own city. NOTE that much of the ministry of Jesus consists of moving back and forth from one side of the Sea of Galilee to another. Here Jesus is returning from the land of Gadara back to Capernaum.

2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ``Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.'' 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, ``This fellow blasphemes.''

NOTE the claim of Jesus to possess supernatural authority. He claims to forgive sins, which authority belongs to God only! The scribes quickly picked up on it and accused Jesus of blasphemy. Blasphemy in this case is claiming to be equal with God.

ALSO, note that Jesus "sees their faith", those who brought the paralytic to Jesus on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus pronounced the paralytic forgiven! We desperately need this sort of relational community today, men and women who bring those in need straight to Jesus, knowing and believing that Jesus is the only one who could possibly bring wholeness to their friend.

4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, ``Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 ``Which is easier to say, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Get up, and walk'? 6 ``But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins''-then He said to the paralytic, ``Get up, pick up your bed and go home.''

NOTE the test Jesus sets up. So, which is it easier to say? "Your sins are forgiven." OR "Get up and walk!" Naturally, it is much easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven." You can say such a thing or make such a claim, but it is impossible to measure whether or not a person's sins are forgiven. Which is the most difficult to do? Well, the most difficult to do is to forgive a person's sins. It's the easiest to say and the most difficult to do.

So, Jesus demonstrates His authority and ability to forgive sins by healing the paralytic instantaneously! "So that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." So Jesus does the impossible-healed the paralytic-in order to prove to the people that He also has the authority to forgive sins.

NOTE that Jesus declared the paralytic forgiven, then this man was given the power to get up and walk.

7 And he got up and went home. 8 But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

NOTE the results: The paralytic got up and went home, right in front of these skeptics, Jesus healed this man. The crowds who watched were absolutely amazed! The crowds also were moved to worship and glorify God.

Throughout the Gospels Jesus makes claims about Himself and then proves that He has the authority to make those claims. Today, our responsibility is to be people of faith and trust in the person and power of Jesus for ourselves and for our friends. Then, when Jesus shows up among us, those who are watching will truly be amazed by Jesus and will be moved to worship Him.

Who are you walking with in faith so that Jesus might demonstrate Himself?