Jesus taught a masterful lesson at his home in Capernaum. He had just crossed the Sea of Galilee where he stilled a storm and then healed two demon possessed men from a graveyard (Matthew 8:23 ff). Now people have flocked to his home and he begins to teach. The crowds are so large that no one else can press into the house. Some men bring a paralyzed man for healing but cannot get close enough to speak to Jesus. Determined not to fail in their mission they cut a hole in the roof and lower the man down before Jesus.
Now it gets interesting. Jesus doesn’t heal the man! Instead, he looks at him and says, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20). I suspect Jesus then returned to teaching. But almighty scribes and Pharisees were offended. “Blasphemy!” they cried. No one can forgive sin but God? They were actually right. God alone forgives sin. But they missed the fact that Jesus was God (John 1:1-4).
Jesus knew their thoughts before they spoke them. He then turned again to the man and healed his broken, twisted body. Immediately the paralyzed man arose, took his bed and went home. The people were stunned but rejoiced.
Consider two key thoughts with me.
Jesus Heals the Most Important Things
For many people, maybe for you, the man’s crippled body was the most important thing. But not for Jesus. Before he healed his body Jesus healed his soul. He gave the man the one thing he could get nowhere else – forgiveness of sin (Acts 13:38)!
We become so focused on your physical needs and wants that we overlook the most important things. Jesus doesn’t. While he certainly desires us to be content it is far more important for us to be in a right relationship with him. Sin blocks that relationship and raises an insurmountable barrier that we cannot penetrate on our own (Isaiah 59:2). We seem to know that our spirit needs Jesus. We have a void that cannot be filled. Jesus and Jesus only fills that need.
Perhaps the lesson is that we should adopt Jesus’ view, see his priorities and follow his example. For him, the paralysis was not nearly as important as the sin. My sin is surely the greatest problem I have. It deserves the most attention.
Jesus Used a Miracle to Prove His Divinity
The scribes and Pharisees did not like Jesus. He was a threat to their way of life. But they were correct when they asserted that only God could forgive sin. Sin offends God. That is way it is so bad. Since God is the offended party it is reasonable that only he can forgive sin. By leveling a charge of blasphemy against Jesus they were claiming that he had made himself divine. They could not imagine how that was possible.
Notice what Jesus did. To prove his divinity, that is, his divine right to forgive sin, he performed an undeniable miracle. That miracle proved his bona fides. It proved that Jesus was divine, else he could not have done the miracle.
Nicodemus understood that only a man from God could do the things Jesus did (John 3:2). The Jews in Capernaum also understood. Once the paralyzed man stood up, took his bed and went home they glorified God (Matthew 9:7).
Each miracle performed by Jesus or by his apostles, served to confirm the credentials of the hearers. New doctrine was only delivered in the presence of confirmable, undeniable miracles. While many claim to work miracles today, none stand up to the magnificence of Biblical miracles. Jesus was who he said he was and confirmed it beyond any question.
Aren’t you glad to serve a Lord who is so powerful? Aren’t you glad to serve a Lord that cares about the most important things in your life? I don’t know about you, but I need a Lord just like Jesus!