Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 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 said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” And the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men. (Matthew 9:1–8)
The power and compassion of the Lord Jesus is demonstrated in this passage as He again proves Himself to be the skillful and faithful physician of both body and soul. Jesus has sufficient remedies for all maladies affecting and afflicting mankind. Remember what the prophet Isaiah said?
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:3–4)
Mark tells us in his gospel that four men with humble faith brought a paralytic to the Master for healing. Lying on a mat, carried by caring companions, this paralyzed man was both helpless and hopeless. Fortunately for him, his friends carried him to the God of the helpless and hopeless. The crowds had become so great that the paralytic’s buddies ingeniously made a plan of digging through the roof above Jesus and lowering their paralyzed friend–while still on this mat–straight down through the opening before the feet of the Healer. I think it interesting that these friends did not ask Jesus to come to them–which would have been far easier. Rather, they humbly and boldly brought their friend to the Master. A strong faith does not regard obstacles in pressing after Jesus. We discover again, the Lord ever honors true faith:
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:1–5)
–Charles H. Spurgeon
Instead of being in awe over having been eyewitnesses to the miraculous fingermarks of God, some of the teachers of the law mused to themselves that Jesus was a blasphemer because no one could forgive sins but God. It is here that we see the grace of God met with hell’s enmity. Never mind the miracle they just experienced. Jesus just did not fit into their neat mold of religiosity. He made them uncomfortable … and He made them angry. I am reminded of King David’s prayer for his son Solomon regarding God’s full knowledge of our thoughts and the motives of our hearts:
“Acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”
(1 Chronicles 28:9)
There are no obstacles to the work of Jesus! He cares not about circumstances or reactions to His work. Jesus loves each one of us and will accomplish all that He has planned.
Take It to Heart
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)