Jesus power over sin Mathew 9:1 to 8 Parallel passages: Mark 2:1 to 11, Luke 5:17 to 23
INTRODUCTION to the topic andcontextual backgroundThe Mathew recording of Jesus’ miracles inchapters 8 & 9 presents a progressivedevelopment in revealing Jesus’ credentials asthe divine Messiah. This correlates withMathew’s purpose of emphasizing the authorityof Christ all throughout the book. First heshowed power diseases, then he showed powerover the natural, then the supernatural and inthe first of the last third set of miracles Mathewrecords Jesus power over sin.The most powerful message of Christianity isthe reality that sin can be forgiven. That is thehear and soul of the gospel, that men can befreed from sin & its consequences. This is themessage of Matthew 9:1-8.
I – The faith of the paralytic’s friends“And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own cityAnd,behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesusseeing their faith . . . ”– Mathew 9:2a– No mention here as to how much time elapsed from the previous miracle.“His own city here refers to” to Capernaum as indicated in the parallel passageof Mark chapter 2.- Two-story houses were common in Palestine and it is likely that the room withthe overflow crowd (see v. 2) was on the second floor, where most visiting andsocializing were done.- Because the afflicted man’s friends could not get into the crowded roomwhere Jesus was, they carried the litter up to the top of the house andproceeded to dismantle the roof until they made enough room to lower the maninto Jesus’ presence (Mark 2:3-4; Luke 5:19).
– Because the paralytic had to be brought to Jesus lying on a bed, his paralysisobviously was severe, and he had to rely on others to carry them around.Cripples have always suffered neglect, but in the Jewish culture of Jesus’ daythe neglect was worsen by the wrong belief that all disease was the directresult of someone’s sin. (Job 4:7, 8:4, John 9:1,2)- The paralytic no doubt believed his sickness was direct punishment for hisown sin or that of his parents. But this man was determined to see Jesus at anycost. His first concern was for forgiveness, which to his thinking would haveautomatically brought healing. And although this thinking is erroneous, he wasright in believing that his first and greatest need was spiritual.- Jesus saw the faith and persistence of the man’s 4 friends as seen by the factthat when seeing the could not get into the house they tore open the roof andlowered the man down- The paralytic said nothing to Jesus probably because the disease hasaffected his vocal chords or his tongue, or he was too sick or he may be havebeen overcome with awe as he came face-to-face with the power of Jesus
II – Forgivness given to the paralytic“ . . . said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiventhee.”– Mathew 9:2b– Jesus’ first words to the paralytic were, Take courage, My son. Knowing theman’s fearful heart from being overwrought with sin and now being in Hispresence, He spoke tender words of comfort and encouragement.- Tharse (take courage) refers to deep and genuine. (In contrast to tolma, whichrefers to outward boldness, Tolma would be characterized by gritting the teethto help endure pain) It is the kind of courage that tries to master fear by sheerwill power and determination. But tharse represents the courage that eliminatesfear. Jesus was saying, “Don’t be afraid, because you no longer have anythingto be afraid of.”- Addressing the man as My son gave further comfort. Teknon (son) refers to achild of any age or sex. It is here translated son because Jesus was speakingto a man. Son was used in that day as it often is in our own, as a term offriendship
– But Jesus’ supreme words to him were, yoursins are forgiven. Aphimi, the verb behind areforgiven, has the basic idea of sending ordriving away, of doing away with. (Psalm103:12, Micah 7:19,1 Timothy 1:13,15)Forgiveness of sin is God’s greatest giftbecause it meets man’s greatest need. Itsubjects man to trouble (Job 5:7), emptiness(Rom. 8:20), lack of peace (Isa. 57:21), and toeternal hell if he does not repent (2 Thess. 1:9).-Missionaries in northern Alaska whentranslating the Bible into the language of theEskimos, discovered there was no word forforgiveness. After much searching, theydiscovered the word “Issumagijoujunnainermik”which means “not being able to think about itanymore.” (The same essence of what God saidin Jeremiah 31:34)
III – The reaction of the religious leaders“And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This manblasphemeth.” Mathew 9:3– They were right that only God can forgivesins (Isa. 43:25; Mic. 7:18-19), but becausethey refused to recognize Jesus’ divinity, theycould only conclude that Jesus blasphemes.Unlike the paralytic, those men saw no needfor forgiveness, because they consideredthemselves already to be righteous. Theyhave probably seen many miracles of Jesusand heard the testimony of others who hadbeen healed of disease and cleansed ofdemons. But they refused still refuse torecognize him as the Messiah or as God.
IV– Jesus response to the religious leaders“And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, andwalk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgivesins . . . ” Mathew 9:4 – 6a– Being God, Jesus knew their evil hearts asked them a question “do you thinkit impossible for Me to forgive sins? Is one easier than the other?” They saidnothing, but the answer was obvious: both things are equally impossible formen and both are equally possible for God. The point was that no one but Godcould either heal disease with a word or could forgive sins, and He can do bothwith the same divine ease.Even their own wrong thnking should have led the scribes and Pharisees tobelieve in Jesus’ divinity. If, as they believed, sickness and disease were theconsequences of sin, then removing. Jesus continued, “I will demonstrate againMy power to heal disease. You cannot see the results of My forgiveness,” Heimplied, “but you can easily see the results of My healing.”
V– Jesus response to the religious leaders“. . . (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go untothine house. And he arose, and departed to his house.Mathew 9:6b – 7 As soon as Jesus said to the paralytic “Rise, take up your bed, and go home, that is exactly what the man did.” The command to rise suggests that when Jesus spoke the healing had already taken place. At Jesus’ word, the man rose, and went home. Mark adds that he “immediately took up the pallet and went out in the sight of all” (Mark 2:12), a living testimony to Jesus’ power both to heal and to forgive sins.
VI – The fear of the multitudes“But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which hadgiven such power unto men.” – Mathew 9:8When the multitudes saw this, they realized that such a miracle could only bedone by God’s power, and they were filled with awe. Phobe (filled with awe) isthe term from which we get phobia and is often translated “fear.” But the mostcommon use of it in the New Testament represents reverential awe, notcringing fright. It expresses the feeling of a person who is in the presence ofsomeone infinitely superior. Awe of God is a part of the truly repentant life (2Cor. 7:10-11), the clean life (1 Pet. 3:2), the holy life (2 Cor. 7:1), and the godlylife (Phil. 2:12).The multitudes’ response to the great miracle of healing and forgiveness wascommendable. We do not know how much the crowd knew about Jesus, but ifthey did not realize that He was the God-Man, they at least realized He was anextraordinarily godly man.