Summary: This section proves that our Great Physician is ruler over the moral realm also. While ridding a man of physical illness, He also wields the power to deliver him from sin, the root of all the world’s evils.
MATTHEW 9: 1-8 [THE MESSIAH REVEALED SERIES]
THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS
[Psalm 103:1-14 / Mk. 2:3-12, Lk. 5:18-26]
The third miracle in the 2nd triplet of miracles is the healing of the paralytic. This triad demonstrates that Jesus is the peace-bringer in three different spheres. 1st, He gives a word of power over the physical order - the sea; 2nd- a word over the supernatural order - demons; & 3rd, a word of power over the fallen order - sin. Jesus’ word has power over the invisible powers of nature, demons & sin.
Unforgiven sin is Satan’s best friend & man’s chief enemy. It is a problem all have. This section proves that our Great Physician is ruler over the moral realm also. While ridding a man of physical illness, He also wields the power to deliver him from sin, the root of all the world’s evils.
I. THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN, 1-2.
II. A SIDE EFFECT OF FORGIVENESS, 3-7.
III. THE GREATER MIRACLE, 8.
After being rejected by the folk on the other side (Gadara), Jesus travels back across the lake to His own town in verse 1. “Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the sea and came to His own city.”
The men of Gad-a-renes had plainly indicated that they did not want Jesus to minister health and healing among them, Jesus does not linger long where He is not wanted. A legion of demons were powerless to keep Him out but humans that do not desire His holiness, authority, and power keep Him out of their lives, homes, churches, and communities.
So Jesus returned to His own city, Capernaum (Mk. 2:1, Mt .4:13). Capernaum was a good choice for Jesus' base of operations. It was a wealthy city due to fishing and trade. Situated on the Sea of Galilee in a densely populated area, Capernaum housed the Roman garrison that kept peace in the region The city was a cultural melting pot, greatly influenced by Greek and Roman manners, dress, architecture, and politics.
When the people discovered Jesus was there they came to take advantage of His compassion. Upon seeing a broken paralytic in verse 2 Jesus intentionally stressed His authority to forgive sins. “And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.”
Mark and Luke explain that they actually climbed to the roof, removed the tiles, and dug through the structure to create a hole large enough to lower their friend on his pallet right in front of Jesus. This reveals that these people in general were unconcerned with the paralytic for they would not make a way for him to be carried in and that his friends were determined to get him to Jesus. Each of us need friends like these men. Friends determined to get us to Jesus no matter how the unconcerned try to keep us away. Are you such a friend? Do you have such friends?
Jesus saw their faith in their determination to overcome obstacles to get to Him. The first words Jesus says are, “Take courage, child.” Jesus ministers to the paralytic's deep mental depression, encouraging him to cheer up [tharses], something good is about to happen. Our low times are often the result of a negative attitude toward life. Jesus would encourage us if we would but listen.
The boy's body was paralyzed, but so was his soul, because he did not know Jesus. The man’s spiritual state was Jesus’ first and greatest concern. Thus Jesus spoke the incredible words, in the present not future tense, "your sins are forgiven.” Jesus' bold statement declared that He has power to forgive sin. The forgiveness of sin is possible only by God. Everyone was shocked.
Far too often we concentrate on the powerful giving, healing hand of Jesus, but first and foremost He is a Savior. He has power to forgive spiritual sickness in the form of sin, Jesus saw in this paralyzed man a need greater than physical health; this man needed spiritual health.
So, too, I suggest to you that there are people today who are not walking in the Spirit because they are paralyzed by guilt over a sin or a series of sins that were previously committed. And although they can walk physically, they cannot walk with the Lord in good cheer or courage because they think, I’ve gone too far. I’ve sinned too greatly. [Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 64]
[If God does not heal us or someone we love, remember that physical healing is not Jesus' only concern. He offers emotional healing and spiritual healing for those who listen to Him and come to know Him personally. For all those who are saved by His grace, complete healing of body, mind, soul and spirit is only a matter of time. [See Surgeon, Charles. Repentance. Baker Book. Grand Rapids, MI. p 79. For additional source.]