Jesus wants me to have courage. Jesus wants me to be bold in my faith. Jesus doesn’t want me hanging back and hoping something might happen.
Why? My continually missing God’s goal for my life (aka sins) are forgiven by Jesus. That is it. God has given Jesus the authority to forgive me. I don’t deserve it but Jesus has paid the price for me.
I need friends who will help me get to Jesus. Imagine the conversation. “Hey, Jesus is coming to town. We hear he is healing people. Let’s go!” “But I can’t walk.” We’ll carry you. We just need to get you to Jesus. That is it”. And so off they go, carrying their friend to Jesus. Jesus sees their faith and rewards it.
So he got into a boat, crossed over, and came to his own town. Just then some men brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven.”
At this, some of the scribes said to themselves, “He’s blaspheming!”
Perceiving their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why are you thinking evil things in your hearts? For which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then he told the paralytic, “Get up, take your stretcher, and go home.” So he got up and went home. When the crowds saw this, they were awestruck and gave glory to God, who had given such authority to men. | Matthew 9:1-8 (Christian Standard Bible)
The Master Jesus had shown Himself powerful over sickness and storms, but what could He do about our perpetually missing God’s goal for our lives? Palsy was a gradual paralysis. This man was unable to help himself, but fortunately he had four friends with love, faith, and hope. They brought him to Jesus and permitted nothing to stand in their way.
Was the man’s physical condition the result of his sin? We do not know. But we do know that Jesus dealt with the sin problem first, for this is always the greatest need.
We must not conclude from this miracle that all sickness is caused by sin, or that forgiveness automatically means physical healing. God can heal every sickness except the last one. More important than the healing of this man’s body was the cleansing of his heart. He went home with both a sound body and a heart at peace with God. ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘to the wicked’ (Isa. 57:21).
And on seeing their faith [that is, the faith of those who were bringing the paralytic], Jesus said, “Take courage, child! Your sins are being forgiven.”
“Take courage, child [son]!” carries a note of endearment and creates the expectation of a healing. But Jesus springs a surprise. Instead of healing the paralytic he tells him his sins are being forgiven right then and there. (It isn’t stated that the paralysis was directly caused by these sins.)
The Jews of that day expected forgiveness of their sins in the messianic age, but they didn’t expect the Messiah to do the forgiving. Jesus’ pronouncing forgiveness of the paralytic’s sins amounts to a fulfillment of the angel of the Master’sprediction that Jesus would “save his people from their sins” in accord with the meaning of “Jesus,” namely, “The Master [is] salvation”.
- Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Mt 9:1–38). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
- Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (p. 34). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
- Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 34–35). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.