Why this is important: 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 …
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.
English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 9:1–8). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
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 us.
Why? Jesus wants to know why I am whispering about Him. Why? Jesus wants to know. “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 we really believe Jesus? Jesus is all about forgiving. We miss God’s goal for our lives (aka sin). Jesus came to pay the price we owe for that. Jesus forgives. Our job is to change our minds (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, Master [Lord]?’ And the Master [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)