Church of Christ
at
Locks Cross Roads
1) Matthew 9 - Cure of the Paralytic
Matthew 9:1 the cure of the paralytic

Jesus returned to Capernaum after His first general tour evangelizing Galilee.  Four friends of the paralytic show
real ingenuity in placing their friend before Jesus.  The Lord took the opportunity to demonstrate His divine right to
forgive sin, by showing Himself to possess power that only God could claim.  He did this by healing the paralytic.

The room in which Jesus sat teaching was packed with people, primarily the Pharisees and teachers of the law who
had come from many cities.  The rest were people jammed into all the available space, blocking the entrances to the
house.  This concentration of religious leaders around Jesus is probably no accident.  This was a congressional
investigation, carried out by Pharisees.  They had probably walked the 75-100 miles to be here in Capernaum at
this moment.  Why?  There is a revolution beginning, not just religious but possibly political.  They were here to hear
Jesus and arrive at some definite conclusion about Him:  what is the general trend of His doctrine?  What is His
authority or right to teach, where is His movement leading?  What does He say about himself?

Jesus saw their faith and was pleased.  Their vivid, detailing planning which they dared to carry out is more eloquent
than words.

Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven.  Jesus saw more than their faith:  He saw also the despair of a guilty
conscience.  He saw the discouragement of an enslaved heart that has learned, through long experience of failure,
to take sin for granted.  With a gesture of loving tenderness, Jesus dealt with the man's greater need for
forgiveness.

Look at 2nd Corinthians 12:5-10.  This man healed or not can even face death calmly, though horribly paralyzed,
because he knows that death in God's grace is his final freedom and highest joy.

Jesus deliberately brought up the question of forgiveness for clarification and teaching.  He must communicate the
message to men that He has authority on earth to forgive sins.

He had come to earth, not to work miracles, but to identify Himself as the Forgiver of sins.

The fact that Jesus mentioned forgiveness in place of a declaration of the healing of the paralytic must not be taken
to mean that Jesus sees a direct and necessary causal connection between one's individual sickness, disease or
death, and his personal sins.

1. The alleged blasphemy
2. Having common fellowship with people with whom no self respecting rabbi would ever be found (Matthew 9:11,
  Luke 7:36-50).
3. Neglect of traditional religion with its ascetic practices, such as the ablutions (Matthew 15:1-20); the fasts
  (Matthew 9:14-17).
4. Violation of the Sabbath: (John 5:15-18, Matthew 12:1-14).
5. Being in league with Satan: (Matthew 9:34, Matthew 12:22-45) although from a Jewish standpoint, all these
  charges were serious enough, it was this charge of blasphemy for which they crucified the Lord (See Matthew
  26:63-66).

Their horror in the presence of this apparently common human being, who lays claim to God's rights, is proper.  But
when they refuse the evidence that He IS the Son of God, then THEY become the blasphemers.  But their horror
was not as innocent as it may seem at first glance.  Their contempt is unwarranted, since all Jesus' other miracles
should have identified Him.  This man, on the lips of these accusers, is decidedly emphatic:  Who does this guy think
He is anyway?  (Luke 4:22, Luke 7:39 and 49, Luke 9:9, Luke 14:30, Luke 15:2, John 9:33).

They refused to admit the evidence which would have led them to a different conclusion.  Their reasoning was evil,
not merely faulty or incorrect, since it was produced by hearts bent upon rejecting evidence, bent upon destroying
Jesus.  Jesus' question challenges the motivations and purposes behind their rejection of His deity.

Jesus is not asking which is the easier to do, but which is easier to claim.

Jesus establishes His claim to the possession of personal authority to forgive sins on the reality of this miracle.

This mixed reaction is typical, since these people felt their own sinfulness in the almost touchable presence of God.  
They knew they were standing in that no-man's land between the natural world and the supernatural.  They knew
that this earth had just been blessed with a being from where God dwells.  They recognized the guest as God, and
they feared.  Yet the joyful surprise and marvel of the seemingly impossible healing drew out of them this glorifying
praise for the God they feared so near.

God who had given such authority unto men.  It was to the man, Jesus, that the power was given, and to men
only as He was contemplated as one of the race.  These people were to admit that God had actually granted such
authority to Jesus.
Back to Matthew 9 Study Index Page