Wednesday, May 8, 2013
“But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house” (Matthew 9:6,7 KJV).
Many today emphasize Jesus’ miracle-working power, but few ever grasp why He performed those healings….
In the context of today’s Scripture (Matthew 9:2-8), and its parallel passages of Mark 2:3-12 and Luke 5:18-26, four people carry a man who is “sick of the palsy” (paralyzed, although plagued with involuntary tremors) and bring him to Jesus Christ in order to be healed. The Lord Jesus declared, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20).
Some of Israel’s religious leaders are now irritated: “And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth” (Matthew 9:3; Mark 2:6-7a; Luke 5:21). “Who can forgive sins but God only?” (Mark 2:7b; Luke 5:21). Jesus, God manifested in human flesh, read their minds (Matthew 9:4; Mark 2:8; Luke 5:22)! Today’s Scripture (cf. Mark 2:10,11; Luke 5:24) is Jesus’ response to their disbelief. His reply affords us an opportunity to see why He healed sick people during His earthly ministry.
Jesus commanded the paralytic to arise from his bed and go to his house: the Bible says the man “immediately” jumped up and walked home (today’s Scripture; cf. Mark 2:12; Luke 5:25)!
Just as illness hinders the physical body from functioning properly, so sin disrupts the soul and spirit from doing what God designed them to do. Those crippled people the Lord Jesus Christ healed depicted Israel’s spiritual condition (impotent due to sin and laden with pagan idolatry), unable to be His vessels to the equally sinful Gentiles.
Why did Jesus heal sick physical bodies? The Jews needed a sign (1 Corinthians 1:22): “That ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.” To prove to Israel that He could heal their souls (forgiveness). The paralytic’s healing demonstrated that Jesus Christ indeed could deliver Israel from the greatness sickness of all—sin!