Jesus, Healing, and the Paralytic Man in Matthew 9

Matthew 9:1-8

“For which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?” v.5

If we are going to talk about healing we must clearly understand the emphasis (and lack of emphasis) placed on it in the NT. Here in Matthew, Jesus’ main concern is not to heal a man but to forgive his sins. Healing is secondary EVEN THOUGH it was primary for the paralytic and his friends. The paralytic came to Jesus for physical healing, but Jesus gave the paralytic inner healing, a true forgiveness of sins. Would Jesus give the paralytic what the paralytic wanted or what he needed? Think about it. If you came to Jesus with a request and he knew there was something far better and far more important than your request, wouldn’t you want him to do it? Wouldn’t you want that to be of utmost importance and priority? Wouldn’t you want that to outweigh all other concerns that you had initially brought? I hope so. But that’s not always the case.

Too often we come to Jesus with our list of things we need done, failing to realize that he has his own list of priorities for us. Jesus saw forgiveness as a priority for the paralytic not healing. What was the paralytic thinking when Jesus uttered the words, “Your sins are forgiven” and stopped there? Disappointment? Frustration? Confusion? How much are we like that? We come to Jesus, and he gives us a great gift. But it wasn’t what we wanted or expected. What’s our reaction? Perhaps it is similar to the way that the paralytic might have reacted.

Christianity isn’t about getting what we want from Jesus. It’s about Jesus giving to us what he knows is best for us. Our desires our secondary because we don’t easily understand what truly is best for us.

But what an element of grace we have here. Jesus addresses the paralytic’s primary need and then goes on to address his secondary need. He forgives the paralytic’s sins and then heals the paralytic. What a gracious God that here gives not only what the man needs but what the man wants.

Love in Hard Places by DA Carson

I saw a great post over at Andy Naselli’s blog which you should read.

He gives a list from DA Carson’s book, Love in Hard Places, of people who can be hard to love.  I’ve copied and pasted it here for you, but the original post is worth a read.

  1. an obstreperous deacon or warden or bishop;
  2. a truly revolting relative;
  3. an employee or employer who specializes in insensitivity, rudeness, and general arrogance;
  4. a business competitor more unscrupulous, not to say more profitable, than you are;
  5. the teenager whose boorishness is exceeded only by his or her unkemptness;
  6. the elderly duffers who persist in making the same querulous demands whenever you are in a hurry;
  7. the teachers who are so intoxicated by their own learning that they forget they are first of all called to teach students, not a subject;
  8. the students so impressed by their own ability or (if they come from certain cultures) so terrified by the shame of a low grade that they whine and wheedle for an “A” they have not earned;
  9. people with whom you have differed on some point of principle who take all differences in a deeply personal way and who nurture bitterness for decades, stroking their own self-righteousness and offended egos as they go;
  10. insecure little people who resent and try to tear down those who are even marginally more competent than they;
  11. the many who lust for power and call it principle;
  12. the arrogant who are convinced of their own brilliance and of the stupidity of everyone else.