Scripture: Matthew 9:2-8 [NLT]
2 Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
3 And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”
4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 7 And he arose and departed to his house.
8 Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men. (Matthew 9:2-8, New King James Version)
Observation: (What do you see when you think on this scene with your mind’s eye?)
I see Jesus in his home town. Everyone has now heard of what he is capable of and some are starting to wonder if he is the Messiah; some even to believe. I see the friends of a paralytic, full of hopeful faith; sweating from the exertion of carrying this paralytic man, running toward Jesus with their cargo in hand. I see the paralytic man, jostling about while they run toward Jesus. His life is completely at the mercy of his bearers. He is at a point of total helplessness. He has heard of Jesus and there is hope springing up in his mind. He sees Jesus and when Jesus first looks at him and speaks to him (“Son, be of good cheer…”) the hope flares up in his heart like a fire splashed with gasoline. He sees in Jesus’ stature and countenance, power, love and caring at a level that he has never ever seen in another man. For so long he has been led to believe that his malady is the product of a sin in his life or possibly the sin of his parents. He has been told by the very pharisees and scribes that are around that he has no hope because of his sin. And then Jesus says “Your sins are forgiven you.” What wonderful words to hear from the lips of the one you have come to for healing. No one had ever told him it was okay; no one had ever told him he could be forgiven; but Jesus did.
Now I see the Pharisees and scribes, all dressed in their pompous “suits and ties”, portraying the perfect outward appearance. Now I see shock on their faces while they are thinking to themselves “Blaspheme!”
Note that they do not say it out-loud, careful not to make a misstep in front of others, but Jesus reads their hearts and knows exactly what they are thinking. Next I see Jesus, in contrast to the sharply dressed pharisees, wearing his simple robe, pause and look directly at them saying, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? (they look around, confused, wondering how he could tell what they are thinking) For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say,”Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.” Now he gently turns to the paralytic and with healing love and care radiating from His face he says to him, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” The paralytic is suddenly overwhelmed with the healing power of the Holy Spirit. He feels new vitality come into his weakened limbs. The constant pain is suddenly washed away with a wave of healing relief. Joy blossoms on his face and the feeling of freedom from his “sin” rushes power to his legs, and he stands up under his own power for the first time in years. After sending Jesus a look of deepest gratitude he takes up his bed and heads home to share (bubble over, radiate with) his joy with his family and friends.
Now I see the crowds that had gathered whispering (whispering because when the power of Jesus is displayed it is a moment of humbling awe) to each other “This man has great power”, or, “Could this be the Messiah we have been waiting for.” A sense of excitement starts to run through them. It must be to them like that feeling you get when you have been waiting for a good thing to come…something you know/hope is coming soon, and that moment when it finally arrives. What a feeling! But, of course it is tempered with observing how the Pharisees have reacted to Jesus…”How did the great religious leaders respond to him”?, they ask themselves. “Who else would know if he was the Messiah but the great Pharisees who know the scriptures so well.”
(Share with us in comments what you observed in this scripture.)
Application: (How can I apply what I see in this scripture to my life?)
By looking at this from many perspectives it struck me that the crowd of people around were all observers, watching, wanting to know if this was the one promised to relieve them of the burdensome Romans. They are watching two sources of knowledge. Jesus, and the Pharisees (religious leaders of their time).
This made me think about who I put my faith/trust/belief in. Is it the religious leaders in my life, or is it the relationship I have with Jesus? To be honest with myself, I have to say that I have for so long put my faith/trust/belief in what the religious leaders have told me. I have not really spent enough time developing my friendship and trust in Jesus. I am not saying that the leaders in my life have led me astray, but by putting my trust in what they tell me I have done nothing to develop my own walk with Jesus. The application is this to me; I need to stop neglecting time with Jesus and never let listening to my pastor or religious television or other people I admire be my source of knowing Jesus. I must open His Word and listen to Him.
This does not mean that I am going to stop listening to these people, fellowshipping with them, or studying with them. Jesus is a friend meant to be shared with others and others can also have insights that will draw me closer to Jesus. But, I must not neglect personal time devoted to HIM. He has something to say to me personally. I need to stop and listen…
(Share with us in comments how you would apply what you learned to your life)
Prayer: (Let your loving Father in heaven know how you feel)
Truly You are dear to me. Thank You for bringing understanding to me of how much I need to be drawing closer to You and of how much I have neglected time with You. Help me by keeping the distractions at bay and opening my mind to see You as You deserve to be seen. I am asking for Your power to protect me from the devil.
Please watch over and protect my family and friends. Help our church to draw closer to You in this time of trouble that is soon to come. Please come close to my daughter Carissa and help her to see Your love for her in some way. I ask that you protect her from satan and send your angels to provide her a path of safety to You.
Help me to be a better father and husband. I love You and I want to know You better. In Jesus name. Amen.