Matthew 9:1-8 1 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” 4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts 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, take your mat and go home.” 7 And the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.
This passage tells me several things that happen when Jesus speaks.
Jesus speaks in response to faith.
Verse 2 tells us that Jesus saw faith in action when this paralyzed man was brought to Jesus. Jesus wasn’t only impacted by the faith of the four friends who carried this man to him, but He was impacted by the faith of the man himself. The statement, “When Jesus saw their faith” is in response to the faith of all five men. These men believed Jesus had answers for the lame man. They believed He could impact his situation.
Listen, when we talk to Jesus, when we bring Him our needs during this pandemic, we need to come to Him believing He can and will do something about what we are facing. Some of you have messaged me this week to tell me you have been or will be laid off from work. Some of you have shared that your fear and anxieties are overtaking your mind and are robbing you of sleep. Some have reached out to say it is getting tough to be at home with so many people in the house. Some of you are having to work extra hours and are exhausted. Some need extra protection as you work in the healthcare field. If you will get to Jesus IN FAITH, He can and will deliver you.
What you believe and how you exercise that belief may determine what you will receive from God during this season. Jesus is responsive to our faith.
Jesus speaks and sin is forgiven.
Verse 2 of our text tells us that when Jesus saw their faith, He said, “Take heart, son, your sins are forgiven.” Isn’t it interesting that the man came to Jesus for healing, which he received, but he also received forgiveness, which he needed more.
It was a common maxim or belief of the Jews during that time that no one could be healed until their sins were blotted out. Most often, disease or physical malady was seen to be tied to a person’s sin or to their parents’ or even grandparents’ sin. It’s interesting that Jesus performed the series of events the way He did, sort of in line with the thinking of cultural norms by making sure it was known that the man’s sins were covered before he was healed. I’m not sure what to make of that except to say that I believe Jesus was dealing with the man’s greatest need first. Whether his sickness was tied to his sin, I couldn’t say, but the fact that his sin had not yet been dealt with was the greatest concern for Jesus.
Our greatest need isn’t to make sure our bank account rebounds or that our businesses will regain lost ground. The greatest need in our world today is for mass numbers of people to have their sins forgiven. We cannot be in right-standing with God apart from the forgiveness of our sins. What an unexpected blessing the lame man received when He received forgiveness for his sin! Has Jesus spoken forgiveness over your life yet?
Jesus speaks and the condition of our hearts is exposed.
We see in our Matthew 9 story that Jesus knew what was in the hearts of the religious leaders who heard him pronounce forgiveness on the lame man. He asked them why they were entertaining evil thoughts in their hearts. Well, they knew He had busted them because they knew they were thinking evil things.
Yes, physical healing was part of His mission, but His main focus was the hearts of people, and the religious leaders’ hearts were bad. We can’t have an honest conversation with Jesus and not deal with Him and ourselves on a heart to heart level.
The lame man’s heart wasn’t right, but he had come to Jesus in humility and faith and received forgiveness. The religious leaders’ hearts weren’t right either, but in their self-righteous state they had already determined themselves OK. They were hypocrites, and Jesus called them out. When Jesus pronounced forgiveness on the lame man, before he was even healed, he was in better shape than the religious leaders who were resistant to address their hearts. The moment Jesus speaks to us about the condition of our hearts is the moment we need to surrender them completely to Him.
Jesus speaks and people are healed.
The fact that he just took Jesus at His word and stood up without hesitation or conversation tells me he had transferred the full weight of his faith onto Jesus, and when we do that, when we take Jesus at His Word, we can experience healing in a multitude of ways.
God is still in the healing business. His very Word can bring healing to our lives if we will read it, practice it and claim it. He can speak to you through your circumstances, and you can be healed. He can speak to you through other believers, and you can be healed. Psalm 107:20 says God sends forth His word and heals us. Do you need to hear Jesus speak about your physical or emotional condition?
Lastly I will say that our Matthew 9 text tells us that when Jesus speaks and we get more than we came to receive. The lame man came for healing. He left with healing, with a cleansed heart, and with a ministry that would testify to others about the amazing power of Jesus. Verse 8 says the people were filled with awe and started to praise God. When Jesus speaks, you see, others are drawn to Him.
Perhaps that should be our greatest reason to want to hear God’s voice, that as He speaks to us, the things that flow out of our lives will cause others to be in awe of Him and to praise Him in response. Oh Jesus, speak, and give us ears to hear, bodies, minds, and hearts to respond and may many see You and glorify the Father who is in Heaven along with us.