Summary: God is constantly revealing His grace to us, but we don't always see it. Here is a story of God's grace, and man's resistance to it.
Passage: Matthew 9:1-8
Intro: We live in a world of constants.
1. a constant is something that is unchanging and invariable.
2. these are laws of the universe that do not change.
3. probably the most well-known and commonly experienced is the law of gravity.
PP Gravity formula. Could seem a little confusing.
4. but we experience a little differently.
PP picture of gravity defying dancers
5. but there is a constant that is greater, is eternal, will exist long after the universe implodes.
6. and that is the unchanging gracious nature of God.
7. we are going to look at an example of that grace in this story, and recognize that God’s grace is not hindered by our response, though it may be rejected.
8. and just like the rejection of any law, there are consequences.
9. let’s look at the grace of God as He constantly reveals His nature under varying circumstances.
I. Faith Reveals Grace
1. Jesus comes back from the gentile territory where he had been rejected by the region.
2. it sounds like people were waiting and watching for him in v2.
3. verb tense indicates they were bringing this man at the same time Jesus was arriving.
4. through the roof? Matthew leaves it out, but clearly that happened.
5. situation grim, this man at least was unable to walk, a paraplegic or quadriplegic.
PP guy in motorized wheelchair
6. in our day he would be in a wheelchair, but in this day he was dependent on friends to get anywhere.
7. interchange is simple, quiet.
8. Jesus “saw their faith”, the faith of the four and their handicapped friend.
9. but surprisingly, Jesus did not heal him.
10. rather, he says with great tenderness, “Be encouraged, son, your sins are forgiven.”
11. now we could argue whether he was making a statement of fact or actually forgiving the man’s sins.
12. but as we will see, both Jesus and His opponents believed He was forgiving his sins then and there.
13. this forgiveness was an act of pure grace.
14. the man did not deserve it, but he recognized Jesus as the source of that grace.
15. all thru the Bible, God seeks people who respond to His revelation with the parents favorite word…”OK”
Il) when I was a kid, when we couldn’t find something and asked mom where it was, she would say, “If I have to come and find it, you’re going to get a licking!” We believed her, and our eyes were miraculously opened!!
16. faith opens eyes, and what was hidden from us suddenly is clear.
PP) sunrise over the earth.
16. and when our eyes are opened by God, we recognize not our wonderful faith, but His character of grace.
17. this man believed, and got more grace than he expected.
18. but there was another response that day.
II. Disbelief Conceals Grace
1. v.3, this is the first sign of official Jewish opposition to Jesus.
2. it’s not blatant loud opposition yet, but mumbling and grumbling among themselves.
3. they recognized, appropriately, that only God is able to forgive sins.
PP Isaiah 43:25
PP Psalm 51:1-2
4. Jesus was making a statement by taking this divine prerogative…that He was God!
5. notice how Jesus characterizes their question in v4. Calls their thoughts “evil”
6. this is very important, because we might say that they were only engaging in a theological discussion.
7. Jesus referred to their thought as evil because He perceived that they came from an unbelieving rejection of the testimony of the Holy Spirit about Jesus.
8. Just as Jesus responded favorably to the expression of faith by the 5 men in v2, he now identifies this question as evil; an expression of disbelief.
9. thru the miraculous works and authoritative words of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was testifying that He was the Son of God, the promised Messiah, God in the flesh.
10. the grace of God being poured out!
11. and the only way to stay in the darkness is to reject that testimony.
12. and from here on thru the rest of Matthew, we will see the curtain of darkness grow thicker and thicker around these religious leaders, until they demand Jesus’ death for blasphemy
13. they rejected not only the Spirit’s testimony, but the OT testimony that God would be born as a baby and live among men.
PP Isaiah 9:6-7
14. and along with that, they would reject yet another clear prophecy as to what that God-man would accomplish that took place right before their eyes.
PP Isaiah 53:6, 10
15. they chose to remain in the cave of unbelief, and remain blind to grace
16. unbelief is simply refusing to believe in something that the evidence convinces you must be true.