This first part of Matthew 9 is likely the same account we find in Mark 2, except in Matthew Jesus doesn’t have to file a claim on his homeowners insurance for roof damage.
The rest of the account follows very much in parallel. A man who was paralyzed was brought to Jesus on his mat. Jesus told him to take heart, “your sins are forgiven.”
The Teachers of the Law were thinking: “Just who does this guy think he is? That’s blasphemy!”
Note that they religious leaders didn’t have the backbone to say what they were thinking aloud, but Jesus knew their thoughts.
“Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?”
Jesus knew what they were thinking. Instead of explaining what he said, he challenged these men to understand.
“Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”
Sometimes, we ponder the question. Consider the answer in terms of authority. Only God can forgive sins. Many religious leaders and prophets had been empowered to heal in the name of God. Surely to forgive sins was the greater task. Jesus did not tell these religious hypocrites this. Instead, he said.
“But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home.
I have talked before about two parallel factions, currents, streams of events at work that will bring Jesus to the cross at the appointed time. One is his confrontation with the religious hypocrites who eventually decide that their only course of action is to kill him. The keepers of the words Thou shalt not kill will decide that one murder for their own good is just the cost of doing business.
The second is that the people must be ready to make Jesus king. While those thoughts surely surfaced many times, especially when a crowd was gathered, the time for these thoughts to prompt action by the religious leaders had not yet come, but people were amazed at this man called Jesus and the authority with which he spoke.
When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.
In this short scripture, we see the faith of a few men and the authority of God on display.
Let us always be people of faith.
Let us know with certainty that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Christ Jesus.
Let us know that the greatest healing we have received has come in the blood of Jesus. Our sins are forgiven.
But let us live as people of faith, seeking healing from the One with authority to forgive our sins and heal our bodies.
Let us be people of faith.