Jesus Forgives a Paralytic For His Sins and Heals Him

The State of Missouri history archives has the following story of the origin of the “show me” state:

The most widely known legend attributes the phrase to Missouri’s U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver, who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1897 to 1903. While a member of the U.S. House Committee on Naval Affairs, Vandiver attended an 1899 naval banquet in Philadelphia. In a speech there, he declared, “I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.” Regardless of whether Vandiver coined the phrase, it is certain that his speech helped to popularize the saying.

Many people since and also before Congressman Vandiver’s time have had problems when it comes to believing – whatever you would say or report, you would have to prove it to some people.

Take baseball, for instance. Sometimes a high school or college player with a great record gets chosen by a professional team with the expectation that they will perform well. However, pro baseball is vastly different from college or high school. Many times the recruiters, believing that they had a good thing get blindsided when the “high school wonder” chokes and fails.

Other recruiters wait until a college or high school player spends a few years in the farm leagues to test their abilities.

Yahoo sports reported the following: Jesus Feliciano(notes), 30, got his chance with the Mets back in JuneErik Kratz(notes) was called up to the Pirates in July after nine years in the minors. Both have again been demoted, but at least they can say that their pages on Baseball-Reference are now official. They reached the major leagues.

Completing the tested triumvirate is new Detroit Tigers catcher Max St. Pierre(notes), who was called to Target Field on Wednesday after a trying 14 years of chasing his dream in the minor leagues. St. Pierre didn’t get into the 2-1 Tigers loss, but he’s been promised playing time by Jim Leyland. (The Tigers manager can relate as he spent 18 years in the minor leagues as a player and manager before ever seeing the big leagues himself.)

Jesus Feliciano and Erik Kratz didn’t prove themselves. Hopefully, Max St. Pierre will pass after 14 years proving himself in the farm team.

Jesus the Christ had to prove himself to the people of his time.

Matthew 9:1-8 (NIV)
1 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town.
2 Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?
5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?
6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”
7 And the man got up and went home.
8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.

If you remember from last week, in Gadara Jesus drove the demons from the two men into a heard of pigs and the pigs ran into a pond and drowned. The townspeople asked Jesus to leave and Jesus recrossed lake Gennesareth and return to Capernaum, which was His home base. Matthew 4:13 tells us He lived there.

The town was a hub in the trade routes and the town was pretty rich on a per-capita basis, just the place for Jesus and His disciples to have supporters.

All over the world people were traveling and bringing the sick for Jesus to heal. When some men brought the paralytic to Jesus, He saw their faith.

Jesus first told the man to be cheerful. He also saw that the man was also in trouble spiritually due to sin and forgave the man immediately on the spot. This shows that Jesus was compassionate.

This is important to remember: Jesus forgave the man of his sins first.

This aroused the ire of some scribes who were present. Among themselves, they accused Jesus of being a blasphemer. This charge of blasphemy, claiming you are God, was punishable by death, and their charges might have been true if Jesus was not the Son of God.

The scribes themselves were evil as they were denying the divinity of Jesus. Matthew reported in 12:24 that the scribes themselves attributed the driving out of demons to Satan, so they were the ones guilty of blasphemy.

Knowing the thoughts of man and also being able to search a man’s heart and see what was there is afforded only to God. Jesus tells them what evil thoughts were in their hearts, thus proving that He had the authority and power that God had, as He was the Son of God.

We should note that Jesus’ ability to read the scribes’ minds is by the Holy Spirit which He received when baptized by John the Baptist. The heavens opened up and the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus.

Mica said: Micah 7:18 (NIV)
18 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

Now, when Jesus forgave the man of his sins, the scribes did not see anything happen with their eyes, so they asked Jesus what was easier, to say someone was forgiven or to actually heal the paralyzed man? They just knew that Jesus would not be able to heal this man.

So Jesus proved them wrong and healed the man and told him to pick up his mat and walk.

Up to this point, Jesus had performed two miracles. The first was the forgiving of the paralytic man. The second was the reading of the scribes’ minds. They had no idea that Jesus could actually forgive sin until they saw Him heal the man, which was the third miracle that demonstrated that Jesus was in fact the Son of God, and did have the authority to forgive sin.

Imagine the neighborhood or the town where this man lived. He left town being carried on his mat and returned carrying his own mat. He was living, walking proof of the miracle Jesus performed.

Remember when I asked you to remember the fact that Jesus forgave the man of his sins first?

Jews during Jesus’ time had a belief that you could be healed of a physical ailment only after your heart was free of sin. That was based on Psalm 103:3 (NIV)
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

Now you can see why that Jesus forgiving the man first was so important. It enabled people to readily accept Jesus being the son of God.

This gave the unbelievers a solid sign that Jesus really had the power of God.

This convinced many that Jesus did have the power of God, and they showed their awe in what happened and praised God for this. They acknowledged God’s mercy and power.

If you remember last week’s sermon, the Gergesenes all came to meet Jesus and asked Him to leave town after he had removed the demons from the two men. They were blind to Jesus’ divinity – they only saw the destruction of their unclean pigs.

Jesus has proved time and time again that he is truly the Son of God and our Savior.

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