read | Matthew 9:2–8
“And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This Man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He then said to the paralytic—“Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.” And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.”
This story always impresses me. Well of course, healing miracles are impressive to be sure! But it also challenges me. Jesus was barely out of the boat when another request is placed before Him. This request came through the “carrying” of some unnamed men who brought a paralytic and placed him at Jesus feet. Jesus is neither annoyed nor inconvenienced. He does what Jesus does, without fanfare. Jesus honors the faith of those who brought their friend—the boldness of their belief and practical steps to give their buddy a chance to be healed. If after all, Jesus was who people were saying He was, there was a real chance for their friend on that stretcher to be healed. Would I have such faith? Would I be so bold? Do I bring the needs of my friends in such tangible and direct ways to Jesus?
I suspect we all are “paralyzed” about something. It may not be a physical paralysis we know, but paralyzed in other ways, unable to move in some area or direction in life. Now may not be a time when you feel paralysis, but I suspect if you are anything like me, there are times when issues or hurts, feelings or fears consume you and you get “stuck”—can’t move—paralyzed!
Jesus offers a remedy for healing the man in this Scripture—and it is available for us as well. Simply, He tells the man, “Take heart, your sins are forgiven!” If I was one of the friends who lugged my pal on some mat all the way to Jesus so he could be healed and heard Jesus’ response, I might question or wonder—“we must be here on the wrong day! We need the miracle of healing…not forgiveness!”
I wonder have you have considered the miraculous nature of Jesus’ forgiveness.
Jesus demonstrates power in many different ways. We see it here in these verses…an inward healing and a physical healing. No surprise the people were awed.
I don’t think we awe enough at the matters of God, at the power of God, at the compassion of God, at the forgiveness of God!
Where are you paralyzed? Where are you stuck? From what do you need healing? Who is helping you take it directly to the feet of Jesus…are you on your own, or is there a friend or small group who is with you on that journey? There is something powerful about the role of community in this story. Thanks to the men who carried their friend, thanks to the men whose faith was bold…a healing happened and a heart was freed from sin!
What needs freeing in your heart this day? Can you bring it to the feet of Jesus? As He was in this story, Jesus is available now! He will listen. Can you trust Him with what is paralyzing for you?
– Rev. Care Crawford