Summary: 4th in the series "Miracles in Matthew." Jesus heals our whole self--heart, mind, body--to reverse the effects of sin’s curse. Concludes with communion meditation.
In 1990 a 32 year old psychiatric patient rushed through the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam until he reached Rembrandt’s famous painting "Nightwatch." Then he took out a Squirt Gun filled with acid and sprayed it all over the masterpiece before he could be stopped.
But what did officials do? Throw it out and forget about it? Absolutely not! Using the best experts, who worked with the utmost care and precision, they made every effort to restore the treasure.
God’s masterpiece was His creation—his crowning achievement was us. By our own misguided actions we have damaged his masterpiece, marred the beautiful image of Himself. But He was not content to throw us out, nor even to leave us damaged, but instead has chosen to reverse the effects of the curse that our sin has brought upon us.
Transition: In the miracle story today, Jesus points directly to the curse of sin and makes it clear that He has the power and the desire to reverse the curse in our lives and to reverse it thoroughly. This morning I’d like to look at this story as an illustration of how Jesus reverses the effects of the curse in every part of our beings
First, notice with me that Jesus reverses the effects of the curse in our…
v. 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."
The curse that we speak of is all of the consequences of sin. And more than anything else sin is heart disease. Jesus came as the ultimate cardiologist. If the curse is going to be reversed it has first of all to be dealt with at the heart.
Take heart Jesus says to the man, your sins are forgiven. Take heart or be encouraged because having a heart that is ailing of the disease of sin is nothing if not discouraging.
People may try to hide the pain of their sexual perversion by calling themselves “gay,” they may refer to their battles with substance addiction as “parties,” they may smile as they wander their way through lives of quiet desperation, but when the lights go out as they lie in bed there is nothing but emptiness of heart, worse then just emptiness, there is the haunting pain of unfulfilled longing. Their heart knows that they were meant for something else.
Jesus, looks at the man whose obvious affliction was a crippled body, but He sees that the deeper pain is a crippled heart. Take heart, Jesus says, your sins are forgiven.
Perhaps your heart is crippled this morning. You don’t know what it means to be free of shame. Jesus, says to you also, Take heart, your sins are forgiven, they are paid for.
You see Jesus backed up his promise of forgiveness with His life. He died on the cross to pay for your sins, so that if you reach out to Him, trusting that he has paid your way, you can be free from sin and it’s bondage and it’s penalty. And you are invited to an eternal celebration of that freedom with Him in Heaven. Jesus reverses the curse first in our hearts.
Next jesus reverses the damage the curse has done to our…
vv 3-6 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, "This fellow is blaspheming!" Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ’Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ’Get up and walk’? 6But 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."
Jesus, sees the thoughts of the Pharisees, evil thought he calls it. But you know if it weren’t for our 20/20 hindsight, we probably wouldn’t think of that thought as evil. Seems kind of normal. Why, because our minds too are affected by the fall, and without His healing our minds we fail to notice the danger of failing to recognize His sovereignty.
The curse has broken our relationship with God and the mind affected by the fall fails to relate all things to Him. It is just as evil for us to try to figure out this world and fail to recognize His divine fingerprints. It is just as evil for us to make our plans based on our own desires and fail to recognize His sovereignty.
We need the same reality check that the Pharisees did, we need to Let Jesus be Lord of all and to correctly relate all of our lives to Him.
I’ve mentioned to you before, that often I think even we Christians live as practical atheists, trying to compartmentalize our lives and give God room only on Sundays or when tragedy strikes or we find ourselves out of other options. We fail to recognize Jesus and His plan as the very fabric our lives are woven out of and the spiritual seems somehow out of place in the ordinary of our lives. Like the teachers of the law saying—“who is he to make this a sin thing? Who is he to forgive sins?