Jesus decides to return to His hometown. When He got there, some men carried a paraplegic on a stretcher and set him down in front of Him and His disciples. Jesus was impressed by their bold belief. He couldn’t just ignore the man. So Jesus said to the paraplegic, “Cheer up, son. I forgive your sins.”
Now this got Him in some real trouble. Some elitists and religion leaders whispered, “Why, that’s blasphemy!” Of course, they didn’t say it out loud. Just a whisper among themselves. Or so they thought.
Am I whispering, thinking Jesus can’t hear me? Hmmm …
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why this gossipy whispering? Which do you think is simpler: to say, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or, ‘Get up and walk’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both. . . .” At this he turned to the paraplegic and said, “Get up. Take your bed and go home.” And the man did it. The crowd was awestruck, amazed and pleased that God had authorized Jesus to work among them this way. | Matthew 9:1-8 (The Message Bible)
There is a lot to unpack here. What is curious is that Jesus knew what the religious leaders were saying. Jesus knows. That isn’t the end of it though.
So Jesus has a question for me.
Why? Jesus wants to know why I am whispering about Him. Why? Jesus wants to know. The NASB translates it this way: “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?” Again, Jesus knows my heart. Jesus knows what I am thinking. Am I just being “religious” and don’t really believe? It is a serious question.
Do I really believe Jesus? Jesus is all about forgiving. I miss God’s goal for my life (aka sin). Jesus came to pay the price I owe for that. Jesus forgives. My job is to change my mind (aka repent).
Jesus also heals. It doesn’t matter what it is, Jesus heals. The good news is that Jesus heals the brokenhearted.
What is my reaction to all of this?
- Am I awestruck?
- Am I amazed?
- Am I pleased?
- Do I recognize Jesus for who He is?
What is the good news? The Apostle Paul makes it clear. I am a new creation in Jesus. I am forgiven. I am a child of God and have an inheritance. Now that is stunning. God is in a good mood.
“And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ Acts 26:15–18 (NASB)