Jesus is teaching a bunch of folks, seems like it might take place in His own house, as I look at the various tellings between Matthew, Mark and Luke.
Four men have a friend who is paralyzed, and they bring him to Jesus to be healed. They can’t get into the house, so the climb up on the room, and using some ropes, lower their friend down in front of Jesus.
So – What are you going to do now Jesus? You have the home field advantage, and this guy everyone knows has been crippled for ages. You could show them once and for all that you are in fact moving with the finger of God here on earth. You could stop all the naysayers, and get your own hometown behind you. You might even get some of the Pharisee’s to believe.
But Jesus jumps the rails. He gets tossed this easy pitch, and what does He do? He changes the game.
Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you. ~ Matthew 9:2
Sins? Who said anything about sins?
You may say that Jesus talked about his sin because that was his deeper need, and that is true, but I believe we can get at least one more lesson here.
Forgiveness and healing are never far parted in the Bible.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities;
Who heals all your diseases ~ Psalm 103:1-2
But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! ~ Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)
Why the link? Why does Jesus stop the show and show us both healing and forgiveness?
Perhaps He is demonstrating to the people in the room, that He was not just an amazing healer, but that He was here to bring deliverance to the whole man.
Perhaps He was bringing attention to this permanent link between forgiveness and healing.
"But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”--then He said to the paralytic--“Rise, take up your bed, and go home." ~ Matthew 9:6
One piece of this that is of interest to me, is that forgiveness is not immediately visible from the outside, whereas healing is. When Jesus forgives the sins of this man, there is no visible change.
This may lead us to believe it takes more faith to be healed then to be forgiven, but this is not so.
The problem is the good news about forgiveness has been preached for hundreds of years, and the good news about the fact that Jesus heals has been much less prevalent. As we meditate more and more on the total salvation offered by Jesus, we see more and more men and women saved, healed and delivered.
I am so glad Jesus took the time to give us this lesson in His wonderful salvation.
See you again soon.
By the way, if you missed the first hand account of this day in Jesus life, you should check out "Arise, Take up your bed and walk"