Theme of the Week: The Gospel of Matthew – King Jesus
Bible Verse: Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2
Scripture Reading: Matthew 9:1-8
The Gospels are filled with accounts of people coming to Jesus for healing, and He obliged. Several times in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we read that Jesus healed all that were brought to Him. But with few (possible) exceptions, people didn’t come to Jesus looking for forgiveness—the woman who washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair is a possible exception. Still, just because Jesus said her sins were forgiven doesn’t mean that was what she was looking for.
In fact, there is one story where Jesus forgives sins when that is more than likely not what the person was wanting.
Four friends brought their paralytic companion to see Jesus. They were hoping Jesus could restore his crippled legs. But instead of giving Him the command to get up and walk, Jesus told this man lying on the mat before Him that his sins were forgiven. (A quick aside, this could be a deliberate prelude to healing as many in that day thought that infirmities like this were often the result of sin. I have to thank Dr. Lynn Cohick for this recent line of insight).
However, this pronouncement raised the ire of the religious leaders present. So Jesus took the moment to prove His authority to forgive sins. This is authority in the spiritual realm. That’s how Jesus even sets up the healing He finally does offer this man, “But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Matt. 9:6). He wants people to understand His authority explicitly. He’s not just uttering words here. He’s about to show that the proclamation of forgiveness wasn’t just empty. It was real and effective. He proves this by telling the man to get up and walk. And he does.
This authority is further demonstrated through the multiple demonic exorcisms that Jesus performed. Perhaps none so notable as the demoniac(s) of the Gadarenes (Matt. 8:28-34). There, not only does Jesus order the demons to leave, but the demons request His permission to inhabit a herd of pigs! Demons asking permission! Talk about recognizing authority.
Jesus’s authority does not stop in the earthly realms. He has power in the heavenly realms too. He casts out demons and forgives sins.
Prayer: Jesus, I am so grateful that the miracle of forgiving sins is the one you still and consistently perform. Thank you for my forgiveness. Help me to continue to see my sin, confess it, and embrace the miracle of my forgiveness. Amen.
Reflection: Go to Jesus in prayer now and thank Him for your forgiveness and ask Him to forgive any sin you still need to confess.
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