And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city.
Jesus is returning to Israel.
Specifically, Jesus is going to Capernaum. We may think that “his city” is Nazareth, but a few chapters ago, Jesus moved to Capernaum and was living there for some time.
And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”
Paralytic: A person who is paralyzed.
Didn’t Jesus already heal a paralyzed person? Yes.
So why would Matthew put another one in His gospel account?
Because of the way Jesus heals the man. The words He uses open up a new way for us to understand what Jesus is doing. And the key in this story is Jesus healing the an by forgiving his sin.
Some people bring in this man, carrying him on a cot. They have heard about Jesus, maybe they have even heard Him preach or seen His miracles. And it might be another one of those times where if anyone can help, It’s Jesus.
and Jesus tells the man, “your sins are forgiven, therefore take heart, have courage!”
This sounds like an odd thing to say to a paralyzed person, doesn’t it? I know you can’t move your body, but I forgive your sins.
Why not just heal him? why not say, “be well!” or do it without words like the other times?
And this is where we want o remember what sin is. Sin isn’t just a list of deeds that displease God. it’s not just a set of actions or a breaking of the rules. Sin goes much deeper than that.
Ever since Adam and Eve fell into Sin, it broke their relationship with God and cursed the whole world. So because of Sin, now there is death, there is decay, there is sickness and disability, all of it has sin as the root cause.
from being paralyzed, to depression, or wrinkles in our skin, hair loss, cancer, none of them would exist without sin.
Now I am not saying that all of these are punishments for people actions. But that because all of creation is cursed, and every person is born into this condition of sin, we all feel the decay in some way or even multiple ways.
for this man that was brought in, it was being paralyzed.
And this turns out to be a very controversial thing to say. Let’s take a look at His audience:
And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?
here we are introduced to the scribes a second time. The first scribe we met was a few weeks ago. He wanted to follow Jesus cross the sea, but didn’t when he found out that following Jesus is a life-long commitment.
And Here there seem to be a group of scries present. But let’s review what a scribe is:
Scribe: a learned person who was able to read and write; Any man serving as an expert in Jewish law.
These are the men who made copies of the scriptures. word for word, dot for dot, they knew the words by heart. it’s all they did.
So when they encounter Jesus, you would think they would be right on board. But No. Knowing the words of the scripture doesn’t mean understanding the scripture. So when these men see Jesus in action, they are left confused and offended by His actions.
When Jesus pronounces forgiveness the the paralytic, some of them are thinking, “He is blaspheming”
Blasphemy: An act or expression that slanders or disrespects God, whether verbally or through some profane action.
The biggest blasphemy we see is when someone doesn’t recognize God or recognizes something else as God.
But why do they think Jesus is blaspheming?
Because only God can forgive sins.
Only He can erase it.
Now, people, we can forgive each other. You can forgive is someone insults you or steal from you.
But who can forgive sin against God? Only God. It’s what the old testament says. It’s what the scribes know by heart.
And here comes Jesus and says “you are forgiven”.
Some of the scribes are offended. Jesus, a man, is calling Himself God. That sounds a lot like blasphemy!
But Jesus knows their thoughts. They don’t even say the word blasphemy. They are only thinking it.
And Jesus calls these thoughts out as evil. Why?
Well, when it comes to the scribes and the Pharisees, the religious leaders of Israel, we see a fair amount of irony in the way they treat Jesus. This is one of those times.
They claim that Jesus is blaspheming God, but actually it’s them who are blaspheming.
If Jesus were not God, yes, it would be blasphemy. But Jesus is actually God. He can forgive sins.
So now, the scribes, in thinking Jesus is not God, are committing blasphemy. and that is evil! to say that God isn’t God!
Jesus goes on to correct the scribes and prove His point to them:
For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
This is a tricky sentence, but here’s what it means.
It is easier to tell someone “your sins are forgiven” because a bystander would have o idea whether it actually happened or not. It’s tough to confirm. When you leave church, you don’t look different because of your forgiveness. Anyone can JUST SAY “your sins are forgiven”.
But If you tell someone who is paralyzed, “get up and walk”. That’s more difficult, because if they don’t get up, you’ve been made and it is clear you can’t do that.
So Jesus is saying this:
I am going to say the harder one, “get up and walk”. And you will see that I can do that without a problem and it works. And that’s how you will know that when I say “your sins are forgiven” it happens.
it’s a if someone told Jesus, I bet you can hit the bullseye with a bow and arrow does one better and he then blindfolds himself and then hits the bullseye.
Here Jesus says it himself, revealing the main point of our scripture. We already knew that Jesus has authority over sickness, over the weather, over even demons and the supernatural, but not we see one more.
But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home.
Jesus Has power over sin. He has the authority to forgive sin. Not just empty words, but actual forgiveness. And Jesus can do this because He is God.
So the man actually gets up! He picks up the cot that he was carried in on, and he went home!
When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
In the last town, people saw Jesus casting out demons and they were afraid of him. They asked him to leave.
But here, the people are afraid in the good sense. It means they respected Jesus. They recognized Jesus power and authority. They realized that this is God’s work and worshipped Him for it, because the power of God was on display for men to see and receive.
Jesus delivers us from sin, He can do that because He is God, He can do that because of the cross.
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
Jesus has the power to reverse the curse! through Adam we inherit sin and death, but through Jesus we inherit forgiveness and life! Every sin you have committed, every sin you will commit, ever hurt, every ache, every anxiety, it has all been taken on by Jesus and it has been paid for.
So that when you come to God and repent. When you confess. When you seek him to forgive you. You are not just asking for a clean slate. You are asking Him to restore you in every way. To forgive is to heal, to forgive is to comfort, to forgive is to strengthen.
And as we see in this story, Jesus has the real power to do just that!
So what I want from you is to stop underestimating the forgiveness of Jesus.
Stop underestimating baptism, stop underestimating communion, stop underestimating confession and forgiveness. they are not just rituals or symbols or motions to go through, but they are the real, healing, restoring forgiveness of God for you.
We have all of this forgiveness and restoration, but we still think it’s too good to be true. We think our problems are too big, too messy for Jesus. We let thoughts of shame convince us that it’s not that easy.
So many of us have this forgiveness, but we don’t actually end up enjoying it. we doubt it, we dismiss it, we forget about it.
But Today you have heard that this forgiveness is real. it’s for you, and it is declared to you by Jesus, who has won our forgiveness on the cross and has power and authority to forgive your sin and restore you in every way.
And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.