So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city. Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” (Matthew 9:1-2, NKJV)
When Jesus saw this young man, crippled and going to die, He did two things: the first thing was, He said, “Stop being so miserable because I have forgiven your sins!” Hallelujah! Jesus has forgiven every sin. When God sent His Son Jesus to forgive sin, He forgives all your past sin - everything you have done wrong since the day you were born. He forgives every sin of today. And He forgives every sin of the future. That is the miracle. No wonder Jesus said, “Young man, you should be so rejoicing, you should be dancing”; but he can’t because he is paralysed.
The moment that Jesus said your sin is forgiven, the religious people began to argue. “Who can forgive sin? Only God can forgive.” There is no priest or religious leader who has the power to forgive sin. Only God can forgive sin. Sin is not just behaving or thinking badly towards the people around you. Sin is against God. Sin means you have offended God. Sin means you cannot look God in the face because you have got sin in your heart and in your life. Only God can forgive you! And that is what happened in this story from the Bible.
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psalm 24:3-5, NKJV)
This paralytic man is lying on the ground. His friends had brought him. Thank God for his friends. Jesus saw the faith his friends had. They believed that a miracle could happen. They had brought him with great difficulty. The room that Jesus was in was so tightly packed that they had to let the man in through the roof.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. (Ecclesiastes 4:10)
When Jesus said, “Stop being miserable, rejoice, your sin is forgiven,” the religious leaders responded, “Who can forgive sin?” I want to challenge religious leaders, and I want to challenge you, to believe the Bible; to believe the God of the Bible. I believe it is the Word of God. I believe that it is true. I believe the God of the Bible is alive. Jesus knew how difficult it was for those people in that room to really believe. You can’t deceive God. He knows your uncertainty. God knows your doubt.
Jesus, knowing their thoughts… (Matthew 9:4, NKJV)
I remember one time in Ukraine when a woman came onto the platform to be prayed for. She was expecting to be healed. I asked her, “Do you believe?” The woman was shocked. I said to her again, “Do you believe?” She was so shocked that I would ask that question of her. She responded, “I believe, I believe!” Again I said to her because I knew she didn’t believe, “Do you really believe?” She crossed herself, started to bow, kissed my hand and said, “I believe”. So I asked her, “What do you believe?” She was more shocked than ever; nobody had ever questioned her like this. She responded, “Young man, I said I believe.” - I thought to myself that she must have sight problems too, since she called me young.
So I said, “What do you believe?” She thought for a moment. She gave the same answer that many people give, “I believe everything”. - But I knew she didn’t believe anything. She did not know God. And that is the problem. Jesus recognised the same thing in that group of people in that room, for all the arguing and talking, they did not know the reality or the truth of God, they didn’t understand who Jesus was.
Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV)
‘Happy Song’ & ‘Holy is the Lamb’ used by kind permission of www.vinesong.com