TEXT: Matthew 9:1-8
1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
6 But 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.
7 And he arose, and departed to his house.
8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
Nick Bibile said, “The New Testament church started with family worship. Jesus very often taught in homes — remember how he taught in Mary and Martha’s home and the home he was teaching in when a leper’s friends tore off the roof. He ate and fellowshipped in homes. After the resurrection, believers met at homes to worship God. The true church is the home church. Later on, as the home churches grew they constructed buildings where believers could gather in the name of the Lord. But family worship was not neglected.”
Albert Barnes said, “Healing involves divine power, forgiveness involves divine authority, and neither can be done but by God. One is as easy as the other; and to be able to do the one, involves the right and the power to do the other.”
As we return to this passage, let’s put our feet in the shoes of the paralyzed man for a moment. Let’s lay on his sick bed and look at these events through his eyes. He has, no doubt, been through an uncomfortable ordeal, having been carried through the streets on his bed, taken up to the roof of a house, watched as his friends (probably with tools of some kind) tore a hole in the roof of the house, and then been lowered through the roof into a room full of people and presented to the man teaching them, named Jesus. This sick man, laid out on a stretcher, unable to move a muscle, does not like suddenly being made the center of attention. Sure, he is glad his friends went through the trouble to bring him to Jesus. But, at this point, he is hoping for a quick healing miracle, so he can get up and get out from under the gazes of so many.
Instead, as he lays there, Jesus tells him to “be of good cheer.” A wonderful encouragement, no doubt. Then, Jesus tells him that his sins are forgiven. Certainly, that’s good to hear. But, suddenly, Jesus — this Man who is supposed to heal him — turns his attention to others in the crowd and asks, “Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?” The man, who has no indication that anyone else has caught Jesus’ attention looks around wondering who Jesus is talking to.
You see, in this passage, the sick man and the people gathered to hear Jesus are only seeing things through their physical senses. However, Jesus is dealing with things on a spiritual level. First, we are informed that Jesus “sees” the invisible faith of the man’s friends. Second, we notice that Jesus sees the invisible sins of the paralyzed man and his need for forgiveness. Finally, we see the invisible thoughts of the religious leaders who were accusing him of blasphemy for declaring the man forgiven. Now, Jesus puts the religious leaders to a test. He asks them, “For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?”
The religious leaders had all seen the evidence that Jesus could heal. That was undeniable. But simply because the evidence for one thing can be seen, does that really make it any easier to accomplish than the thing that is not seen? Dr. John MacArthur tells us that Jesus asked “in effect, ‘Do you think it impossible for Me to forgive sins? Is one easier than the other?’ Sin and disease are inseparable, just as are sin and demons, sin and death, sin and disaster, and sin and the devil. The One who brought the kingdom would have to deal with sin or else He could not deal with the rest; and the One who could deal with the rest could also deal with sin. If Jesus could not deal with sin by putting it away, He could not deal with anything else related to sin. But He could deal with both sin and its symptoms.”
The religious leaders did not answer Jesus either way because the answer was obvious. Just as no man could forgive sins, no man could heal disease with a word. And, just as only God could heal disease with a word, only God could forgive sins. If Jesus could do one, He could do the other. And if Jesus did both, then He was God. That is who we are dealing with when we come to God with our prayers, our diseases, our sins, our broken hearts and wounded spirits. He sees beyond the apparent physical lack to the real spiritual need. He digs deeper — sometimes, much deeper than we want Him to; He touches us in the secret places, and heals us as only He can.
Thomas Sullivan wrote:
To the feet of my Savior in trembling and fear,
A penitent sinner I came;
He saw, and in mercy, He bade me draw near;
All glory and praise to His name.
I knew not the tender compassion and love
That Jesus, my Savior, had shown;
Tho’ burdened with grief, His hand brought relief,
He healed me and called me His own.
He touched me and thus made me whole;
Bringing comfort and rest to my soul;
O glad happy day, all my sins rolled away!
For He touched me and thus made me whole.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.