The Weekend Word
Jesus Heals a Paralytic – What is a miracle? – God breaks in to our world and brings the kingdom of God through Jesus – and he brings something new, the forgiveness, and the release from sin.
1 And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city.
- He is crossing the lake again – from gentile country back to home.
2 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.”
- Their faith is evidenced by action
- “Good news to you – you are forgiven.”
- “That’s great, but I would like to walk again.”
- No doubt his sins were oppressing him.
- Who can forgive sin – only God – so this is a claim to be God
- Where do paralysis and all illness come from? Sin in this world.
- And here is Jesus to rid us of what? To either rid us of sin or the consequences of sin.
- This is what it will be like for all of us on the last day – healed of sin – healed of all of our infirmities.
3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”
- Take note that the enemies of Christ are always paying attention.
- Blaspheming = who can heal but God? So Jesus must be claiming to be God and this is blasphemy.
- Forgiving sin is blasphemy “who are you to say my sins are forgiven?
- Pastor, what are you doing?
- They must point out to the crowd – yes, he may be a miracle worker , but he is still a blasphemer
- But look at verse 8 – this must have put fear into the leaders.
4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?
- Why is thinking this evil? Jesus knows their thoughts – is he a mind reader or just a good judge of character?
- What is the evil he reads in them? “You are bucking the system.”
- “We have a good thing going here. To forgive sin you must have them bring goods / money to the temple.”
5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
- So Jesus is trying to work with these guys while showing them his power / authority.
- Showing people something they see is always easier.
- To Jesus, the healing, the reversing the curse is the same as forgiving sin.
- Rise & Walk
6 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.”
- Probably, “look, you can’t do that.”
- A promised attached to a miracle is a very powerful source
7 And he rose and went home.
- So the guy says “OK, Jesus – thanks.” – Picture it – up and gone.
8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
- The crowd was clueless – Jesus is not just a man
- Again, compare the fear in v.3
- You are happy for a friend being healed … but by whose power?
- Given authority – When Jesus sends out the 72 this is exactly the authority he gives.
Jesus Calls Matthew
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
- Notice that Jesus did not ask Matthew “Levi, do you want to follow me?”
- Jesus in telling Matthew to ‘follow me’ is telling him to rise – and he does – just like the paralytic. Jesus’ words do what they say / promise.
- Is this a preview of the last day – we will hear Jesus say rise?
- An interesting point – Matthew as a tax collector was a man with deep pockets among other men with deep pockets
- Why would he give this up to follow Jesus? He was called. Called by God.
- Just as we saw earlier in chapter 4:18-22 “18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
- When did Jesus come to you and say “follow me”? Was it your baptism?
10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.
- Matthew and his friends – he immediately let others know about this man Jesus … do you?
- Is there a waiting period to be in the Church?
- How would the modern Church Growth PR man have advised Jesus?
- “You know Jesus, I don’t think you should hang around these types – you will scare away the respectable people.”
- How many people believe the lie of Satan that Jesus hangs out with ‘good’ people?
- Here we see troubled sinners just hanging onto Jesus.
11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
- Did it make the other disciples wonder, perhaps want to approach Jesus and say “you know Jesus, the church is for wholesome people!”
- Who are these 2 types of sinners? Porn stars & prostitutes, drug addicts.
12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
- Have you ever noticed that Jesus has great hearing?
- Who are those who are “well”? – nonexistent people.
- Jesus is here to save sinners
- Does a doctor come to serve the healthy? When doctors went to West Africa they were looking for the sick with Ebola – not the healthy people.
13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
- Notice that he does not tell them – he says “go and learn.”
- What do the Pharisees need to lean? MERCY
- Imagine what the Pharisees must think – or their shock – “what good does it do to be righteous if the messiah does not recognize you or call you?”
- Are they righteous? Do they just think they are righteous?
- Do they affirm each other’s righteousness? Do we do that here?
- All of the OT laws about cleanliness were not there to show you that you were clean, but to show you were unclean and could not clean yourself up.
- If you ever think you have cleaned yourself up or that you have beat the sin issue – then ponder this – why do you need Jesus?
How ’bout you shorten it up, MLD?
Point #13 (and all the bullets after it) – absolute gold. Well said.
“I desire mercy, not sacrifice”….. which basically means “go and show others what I have shown you.”
Reminds me of a verse from an old song:
“Grace keeps on giving me things I don’t deserve.
Mercy keeps withholding things I do…”
Yes I probably should make it shorter. These are my notes from the class I teach and this is probably 1/3 of the chapter so I look for places that have natural breaks without destroying the flow of a pericope. If a pericope is short then I try to include the next one.
But let me summarize with the MLD version of Cliff Notes.
1.) Jesus’ healing people is really Jesus saving people. The Pharisees do not like this because it goes against their system – that they alone control the religious realm in Israel
2.) They accuse Jesus of blasphemy and want him destroyed.
3.) In order to save sinners Jesus must hang around sinners.
4.) This too bothers the the religious leaders.
Owen – good observation – thanks
“3.) In order to save sinners Jesus must hang around sinners.
4.) This too bothers the the religious leaders.”
The Field of Dreams paradigm, “If you build it, they will come”, doesn’t always work. Sometimes, they just don’t come.
But, one of the mistakes pious Christians sometimes make is distinguishing themselves from sinners. You may be able to wash the outside of the cup (maybe just for an hour or two in church on Sunday), but what about the inside?
But in Christ, we are reckoned clean inside and out.
MLD…thank you! Very enlightening,
Should we find an application to these “Cliff Notes”? Or do they simply speak for themselves?
Probably wasn’t your intent, but I had to chuckle when you said “distinguishing themselves from sinners”. It’s like they’ve blotted out “For all have sinned….”
Another quick thought – it would be interesting to read a study on the ways that forgiveness of sins brings healing today, in contrast to in Jesus’ day with the literal healings from diseases, etc….
Great study, MLD, and very thought provoking, especially:
” If you ever think you have cleaned yourself up or that you have beat the sin issue – then ponder this – why do you need Jesus?”
Much of the modern church doesn’t really think they need Jesus. They invoke His name to maintain membership in the fraternity.
You have summarized my 10 yr crusade here at the PP in your short statement. Thank you, great thought.
In verse 2, whose faith was counted worthy – they guys who brought the paralytic – or was the paralytic counted among them?
Is it possible that Jesus saved the paralytic because of the faith of his buddies?
Yee, it is an example of James 5:16.
So this would be similar to parents bringing their child to the pastor for a similar healing / salvation.
Mark’s Gospel tells a similar story of the healing of the paralytic. Either it is a different but similar story or it is the same story with a lot more details given. But identical to Matthew’s account is the fact that Jesus “saw” the faith of the friends and his healing appears to be in response to their faith.
“And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the paralytic— ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.’ And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!'”
Jean, with these 2 accounts it does seem that Jesus saves unilaterally. The faith of the friends was strong enough to get the other guy saved and even then we don’t see the guy even saying thanks.