Who was this Jesus? Just a great religious teacher? A good, moral man? A miracle worker? Or something more?
From this passage, we can see that Jesus was something much more. Jesus was back in Capernaum where he had made his home for the time being. I’m not sure if he was staying in his own house, or was at another’s, but the people so crammed the place he was at that they were literally bulging out the doors. People were probably jammed around the windows peering in as well as Jesus taught.
And to this house came four men who brought a friend who was paralyzed, hoping that Jesus would heal him. But because of all the people there, they had no conventional way to get him to Jesus. So they took an unconventional route. They made a hole in the roof, and lowered him down in front of Jesus.
Can you imagine the scene? Jesus is teaching in this crowded room, when suddenly the people notice a strange sound coming from the roof. Then pieces of the roof start falling down into the room and people are trying to get out of the way, only it’s very difficult because there’s nowhere to move. Eventually, people start pushing out and opening up a space under which the roof is falling to the ground. By this time, of course, there’s no way Jesus is teaching anymore. Everyone is just waiting to see what will happen next.
Then the man is lowered in front of Jesus and everyone is waiting expectantly to see what Jesus will do. Of course, everyone expects him to heal the man. But Jesus instead says something totally unexpected.
Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven. (Matthew 9:2)
Those words probably dropped with a greater thud than the chunks of roof that fell to the ground. Everyone is dead silent. And the Pharisees and teachers of the law probably voiced what everyone was thinking.
Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone? (Luke 5:21).
In other words, “What right does Jesus have to forgive sins? Only God can do that.”
They were half right. Only God can forgive sins. Only the person wronged can absolve another of a wrongdoing.
But what the Pharisees and teachers of the law didn’t know was that God was standing among them. Jesus was himself God, and because of that, he had the right to forgive.
He then proved the man’s spiritual healing by healing him physically.
Jesus is much more than just a great religious leader. Much more than a good moral man. Much more than just a miracle worker. He is God come in human form.
He came and lived among us for a while, and then he died to take the punishment for our sin. And because he did so, our sins can be forgiven.
Just as he delivered this man from his sin, he can deliver you from yours. All you need to do is ask.
Lord Jesus, like that paralyzed man, I am a sinner. I have wronged you by living my own way. I have hurt you, others, and even myself. Forgive me. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. I believe that you rose up from the dead, and from now on I want to follow you. Be my Lord. In Jesus name, amen.