In the previous chapter of Matthew we saw that Jesus showed he had the power over all physical ailments, demon possession and the elements of this world. Now we begin to see the spiritual power he has to enable us to conquer and overcome the passions and weaknesses in our lives.
In this first section of chapter nine we see that a paralytic is brought to Jesus for healing. Previously we saw Jesus heal the sick and lame and so there is no question that he would have the power from God to do this healing as well. But we see now that Jesus takes a different approach to this healing than he had previously.
Instead of just saying to the man, “Rise and walk,” Jesus says to him, “Your sins are forgiven.” This is an unusual statement given that the man has come to be healed. But the lesson here is quite profound. The scribes who were there at the time said that Jesus was blaspheming by saying that the mans sins are forgiven. Their position was that only God can forgive sins, and to a degree they were correct. But they still did not understand that Jesus is both the Son of God and he IS God. So when Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven” he was within his rights to do so and was not blaspheming at all.
He then upbraided the scribes for thinking such evil of him. It is clear that no man on earth, and certainly not a sinner or blasphemer can say to a paralytic to rise and walk. Man does not have the spiritual authority let alone the healing power to do such a thing and the scribes as well as the people at the time knew this too. So Jesus used the power of healing in this case to prove that he had the authority to forgive sin. He said to them, “Which is easier, to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk?'” (vs.5) He knew that they knew no man could say to a paralytic “Rise and walk” and see the man healed. So using this knowledge he then said to them, “But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he then said to the paralytic — “Rise, take up your bed and go home.” And the man rose and went home, fully healed of the paralysis that had kept him bedridden.
The healing was done in this case to prove to the people that Jesus could forgive sins. The healing was not for the sake of the healing alone, but to prove Jesus had AUTHORITY to forgive sins. The testimony of John the Baptist when he bore witness to Jesus was, “”Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) And in this section of Matthew we see Jesus proving he had the authority to do exactly that. In this healing he showed he could and would be able to take away the sins of mankind. This is an important point for without the removal of sin we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. No sinner will enter God’s Kingdom, but in Jesus our sins can be taken away for he has both the power and authority to do so. This matter will be discussed in greater detail in future posts or can be studied further on the website www.freegiftfromgod.com.