Our scripture this morning is Matthew 9:1-8.
Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to his own town. Some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven.” But some of the teachers of religious law said to themselves, “That’s blasphemy! Does he think he’s God?” Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts? Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” And the man jumped up and went home! Fear swept through the crowd as they saw this happen. And they praised God for giving humans such authority.
Jesus was always ready to heal those who came to Him because of His love for us, but He also had a lesson to teach in each instance. In this passage some of the religious leaders are present and disapprove of what Jesus is doing. While they may not have voiced their opposition, Jesus knows their minds and responds to their objections.
Their disagreement hinges on His statement “Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven” (v. 2). They have never encountered anyone who does what Jesus can do and teaches as only He can, and they are threatened by His manner and His power. Rather than joining the crowd in their praise to God, their hearts are bitter.
Jesus shows us that healing and forgiveness come from God, in this case through Him, but that God deserves the credit for all good things. Later, the disciples will also heal as Jesus did. In Acts 3 we hear of Peter healing a lame man in the name of Jesus. Our faith that God can forgive and heal us is essential to our salvation. By repenting and following Jesus, we can be part of that blessing to all the world.
Loving Lord, we are amazed at Your power and love for us, even when we fail. Help us to have such faith that we may go in Your name to help heal the world. Amen.