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Jesus Heals a Paralysed Man


In this passage, set in the city of Capurnaum, (his own city) where Jesus’ ministry was centred at this time, so much so that Matthew associates it with him here – we see the beginning of the Jewish opposition to Christ’s ministry, as they begin a series of accusations against him, which eventually will give them the excuse that they need to have him arrested, falsely charged and executed at the cross.  This is a simple story, a healing miracle, yet with profound implications for the Jews, for the disciples and for us!

1. Jesus knows the spiritual condition of the heart .

There are clear references in the text to the fact that our hearts are open and known before the Lord and that we cannot fool God into thinking we are something that we are not. 

1.       What did he see in the heart of the stretcher bearers?  2And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith. These men who brought their friend to Jesus were men of faith.  They believed that by bringing their friend to meet the master, that some good would come of it. One of the greatest witnesses that we can be to our neighbours is just to befriend them.  We won’t be able to help them spiritually, we won’t be able to save them from an endless, Christless eternity, – but we can bring them to Jesus! But he also saw the hearts of another group of men that day.

2.       What did he see in the heart of the Scribes.  3And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?  He knew what was in their hearts, and it was pure evil. Don’t think there’s anything unusual about that.  The Bible tells us that all of us have hearts that are wicked. Genesis 6:5 When he looks into my heart, your heart, right now what is he seeing?  But there is one more thing, one more heart that Jesus sees, and he doesn’t need to ask what is going on in there…  He already knows.

3.       What did he see in the heart of the paralysed man?  I’m going to suggest to you that what he saw was the realisation of sin,.  The paralysed man knew that he was a sinner because the Jews of this man’s day had an acute understanding that sickness is the result of our fallen state.  That there was no sickness prior to Genesis 3, but that with the fall of man into sin, sickness and death were introduced into this world.  (In the new heaven and the new earth, there will be no sickness, suffering or death – Rev 21:4 The paralysed man would already have heard and would have been convinced that his condition was directly due to his rebellion against God and his sinfulness. 

The Jews knew that sickness and suffering and death were the result of the fall, not necessarily of our individual sins.  I do not know how this man came to be paralysed.  Was it because of some sinful action on his part?  Or was it just the result of a natural infection?  Whichever it was, this man would most certainly have known that HE WAS A SINNER.

So Jesus knew what was in the hearts and motives and thoughts of all the people in loved in this story.  He knows my heart and he knows yours.


2. Jesus forgives all who repent
Knowing that the man was aware of his sinful condition, Jesus dealt with his sins.  He had become aware of his sins, (conviction) and he had come in a simple childlike manner, carried to Jesus, and now he is lying, humble and helpless before The Lord of glory, who forgives him.  He… said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.  Notice his words carefully:

   He describes him as ‘son’.  

   He dispels his gloomy outlook.  

   He declares him forgiven. 

The heart of the Gospel is that Jesus knows that you are a sinner, and still he forgives you.  Sometimes that’s where the problems lie, for in order to have our sins forgiven, we must admit that we actually are sinners in the first place – and the minute that you tell someone that he or she is a sinner, they will bristle with indignation, and start to tell you how good they are.  But if we are NOT sinners, then we cannot be saved by a Saviour who came to seek for sinners!  And if we have not been saved, we cannot be in heaven.  Jesus came ONLY for sinners.  He tells us so here.  v12


3. Jesus demonstrates his divinity 

The Jews are aghast.  They are scandalised. ‘What did he just say?  He is forgiving that man his sins? Only God can forgive sins!  This man is a blasphemer.’ Jesus had said something that only God can do, he has forgiven the paralysed man’s sin.  4And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 5For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

He is able to forgive sins because he is God, and he demonstrated that yet again at Calvary, where he took upon himself the sin of the world, and where God, who MUST punish sins, because of his holy righteous nature, poured out all his judgement and wrath upon his son so that our sins, being forgiven are no longer accounted to us, and we too are brought into a relationship with God.  So to prove his divinity, to show his power, to the disciples, to the Jews and to us, he told the man to rise, lift his bed, and walk home.  And the man did.  7And he arose, and departed to his house.

But the real miracle was the one that they didn’t see.  The spiritual miracle, the forgiveness of sins.  Even today, that miracle is still happening, for Jesus blood, shed on the cross for sinners has never lost its cleansing power.  He still forgives all of those who truly repent, and confess their sins to Him.   And he never refuses us such pardon.

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