Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically today’s passage is found in the ninth chapter of this New Testament book. “And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men” (Matthew 9:1-8).
“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 9:9-13).
“Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved” (Matthew 9:14-17).
“While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead; but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And, behold, a woman which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land” (Matthew 9:18-26).
“And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, see that no man know it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country” (Matthew 9:27-31).
“As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And then the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, it was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils” (Matthew 9:32-34)
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:35-38).
When you come to the ninth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find the continuation of the public ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you take the time to read through this gospel narrative you will find that the demonstration and manifestation of the kingdom of heaven would indeed begin in and with the fourth chapter. It would be in the fourth chapter of this New Testament gospel we find the Lord Jesus calling and inviting all those in the region of Galilee to repent for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. What we find before the fourth chapter is over is a wonderful and powerful demonstration of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth as the Lord Jesus would introduce a tremendous wave of authority, power and dominion. It is when you read the words found in the final verses of the fourth chapter you will be brought face to face with the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth as the Lord Jesus would teach and preach the gospel of the kingdom in their synagogues and would also heal all manner of sicknesses and diseases which were brought unto Him. As a direct result of this His fame would spread throughout the region of Syria and would cause the inhabitants of the land to bring unto Him all those who were sick and infirmed that He might heal them. All those who were lunatic, all those who had unclean spirits and countless others were brought unto the Lord Jesus and He healed them all without hesitation and reservation. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it helps to set the stage and background for that which we find in the eighth chapter of this gospel narrative and beyond.
As you continue reading with and from the eighth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative you can and will find the Lord Jesus providing and bringing healing to the lives of a number of different individuals. The eighth chapter would begin with Jesus coming down from the mountain after delivering the Sermon on the Mount and great multitudes following and coming unto Him. In the midst of the great multitudes there would be a man who had leprosy who would come and worship Him. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth and reality for it calls and draws our attention to one who was unclean according to the Law. What’s more is that not only was this man unclean according to the Law of Moses but this man had spent a considerable amount of time shut up, isolated and alone because of his condition. His condition of leprosy had not only made him a pariah in society but had also kept him from truly being able to engage and function within society the way he would like. Scripture isn’t clear how long this man had leprosy nor even how long he had been shut up within his house, however, we can be fairly certain that he was shut up at least seven days according to the Law of Moses. Pause for a moment and consider the tremendous truth surrounding this man who had the plague of leprosy for he was not only willing to potentially violate the Law of Moses by leaving his house but he was also willing to insert himself among the crowd and in the midst of society in an unclean status. How absolutely incredible it is to think about this man who was unclean according to the Law of Moses and had perhaps spent a certain period of time shut up, isolated and alone within his house until he heard about the Lord Jesus.
The narrative of the gospel of the Lord Jesus as written and recorded by the apostle Matthew calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding this man who had the condition of leprosy which would indeed make him unclean according to the law of Moses. It would be because of his leprosy that he was restricted and prevented from functioning in the midst of society the way he would have liked to. At some point, however, he would hear about the Lord Jesus and would make the conscious and deliberate decision to leave his house and make his way unto the Lord Jesus. Oh I would love to know what the expectation and thoughts of this man were when he made the decision to depart from his house and make his way unto the Lord Jesus. Even his very words once in the presence of the Lord Jesus suggests that he wasn’t even entirely sure Jesus would be willing to heal him. Once in the presence of the Lord Jesus this man would fall down and worship Him emphatically declaring unto Him that if He was willing He would and could make him clean. Jesus heard the words which this man had spoken unto Him and not only declared unto Him that He was willing to heal him but also stretched forth His hand to touch this man. This man who had previously been ostracized, marginalized and vilified by society during those days would find himself in the presence of Jesus with the plague of leprosy declaring unto Him that if He was willing He would/could make Him clean. How truly wonderful it is to consider that not only was Jesus willing to heal and cleanse him but He was also willing to stretch forth His hand and touch him. What might very well have been this man’s first introduction—or re-introduction—into society would not only be in the presence of Jesus but also experiencing the very touch of Jesus who was neither appalled, nor repulsed nor even scared of his leprosy.
I sit here today thinking about the words which are found in the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew and I am brought face to face with the incredibly awesome and powerful truth surrounding the willingness of Jesus to heal those who came to Him. The eighth chapter of this gospel opens and begins with a man with the plague of leprosy coming unto Jesus declaring unto Him that if He was willing He could make Him whole. Jesus would indeed be willing to heal and cleanse Him and would not only stretch forth His hand and touch him but would also speak the word commanding him to be clean. Oh how absolutely wonderful and powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the incredibly awesome and wonderful reality of Jesus willing to heal and cleanse a man who had the plague of leprosy within his physical flesh and was perhaps isolated, separated, marginalized and all alone because of his condition. What we find immediately after this is the Lord Jesus entering into the house of Simon called Peter and bringing healing to his mother-in-law. The apostle Matthew writes and records how upon entering into the house of Simon called Peter Jesus would behold his mother-in-law lying in bed sick with a fever and would stretch forth His hand and touch her. Oh how absolutely incredible the touch of Jesus truly was for as soon as He touched her the fever left her and she arose and began ministering unto them. What an absolutely incredible truth this is when you take the time to consider it for it calls and invites us into the place where we recognize the willingness of Jesus to stretch forth His hand that He might touch those who are in desperate need of healing within their physical bodies.
The more you read the eighth chapter the more you will find Jesus’ willingness to offer healing in the midst of the lives of those who desperately needed it. The eighth chapter would begin and open with Jesus healing and cleansing a man who had the plague of leprosy while it would continue with the Lord Jesus stretching forth His hand and healing Peter’s mother-in-law of the fever that was present within her physical body. Immediately after this we find how upon the evening arriving during that day many that were possessed with devils were brought unto Him and He cast out the spirits with His word and healed all that were sick. All of this was to fulfill the prophetic word which was spoken by the ancient Hebrew prophet Isaiah concerning the Messiah taking up our infirmities and baring our sicknesses. Oh we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely incredible truth surrounding Jesus’ willingness to stretch forth His hand and touch those who are in need. Jesus would stretch forth His hand and touch the man who had the condition of leprosy and He would also stretch forth His hand and heal Simon Peter’s mother-in-law of the fever that was present within her body. As if this weren’t enough we also find the Lord Jesus being approached by a Roman centurion who would come unto Him on behalf of his servant. When Jesus entered into Capernaum there came unto Him a Roman centurion who earnestly besought Him concerning his servant who lie at home sick of the palsy and grievously tormented. What makes this all the more astounding and remarkable when you take the time to think about how Jesus was willing to enter into the house of an uncircumcised Roman simply to heal his servant.
I am sitting here today thinking about the words and language that is found within this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but consider the fact that Jesus was able to stretch forth His hand and touch one who had the plague of leprosy upon his physical body as well as go with this Roman centurion unto his home to bring healing to his servant. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely incredible truth surrounding a Jesus who was not intimidated by that which has made you unclean—whether unclean according to the Law or even unclean according to the Law of Moses. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we pay attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to a Jesus who was willing to stretch forth His hand and touch a man who had the plague of leprosy upon his physical body as well as enter into the home of an uncircumcised Roman centurion. What makes this all the more intriguing when you think about it is when you consider how the scribes and the Pharisees continually accused and condemned Jesus for eating and drinking with publicans and sinners alike and yet here in this passage of Scripture we find the Lord Jesus being willing to enter into the home of an uncircumcised Roman who was not of the lineage and stock of the children of Israel. Lest you think that this wasn’t and wouldn’t have been a big deal I would like to call and invite you to consider the following words which are found in the tenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts concerning the apostle Peter and his being instructed by the Holy Spirit to enter into the house of Cornelius who was also a Roman centurion during those days:
“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth house of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: He shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devour soldier of them that waited on him continually; and when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa” (Acts 10:1-8).
“On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: and he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord: For I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven” (Acts 10:9-16).
“Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate, and called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, a nd get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? And they said, Corenlius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends” (Acts 10:17-24).
“And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me? And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, w hose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God” (Acts 10:25-33).
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all) that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:34-43).
“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days” (Acts 10:44-48).
The words which we find in this passage of Scripture are absolutely and incredibly necessary when you take the time to think about them in light of Jesus in Capernaum and the Roman centurion. In the eighth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative we find Jesus entering into Capernaum and a Roman centurion coming unto Him beseeching Him on behalf of his servant who not only lie at home sick with the palsy but who was also grievously tormented. What so amazes me about this passage of Scripture is when you consider Jesus’ willingness to journey with this centurion knowing full well that He was not Jewish at all by heritage and lineage. This centurion was not of the seed of Abraham and he was not of the chosen race of the people of Israel and yet we find Jesus willing to go with him that he might heal his servant. What’s more is that not only was Jesus willing to go with him to heal his servant but he was also willing to come unto his house and enter therein to bring healing to this servant. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible this truly is for it draws and calls our attention to Jesus’ willingness to stretch forth His hand to touch that one who had the plague of leprosy upon their physical body as well as journey with one who was unclean and enter into their home. There is something truly captivating about a Jesus who was not only willing to stretch forth His hand and touch one who had the plague of leprosy upon their physical body but Jesus was also willing to make His way with a Roman centurion who for all intents and purposes would have been considered to be unclean in the sight of the Jews during those days. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for when we read the tenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we find the Holy Spirit leading Simon Peter into the house of another Roman centurion who was unclean according to the Law and in the sight of the Jews that they might not only hear the gospel of the Lord Jesus and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
I read the words which are found in the eighth chapter and I can’t help but find the Lord Jesus who was not only willing to touch the unclean that they might be healed and cleansed but is also willing to go with the unclean and even enter into their house to bring healing. It is truly astonishing to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and consider how the Lord Jesus was willing to stretch forth His hand to touch that one who was unclean and to go with that one who was unclean according to the Law of Moses that He might bring healing. The entire eighth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew describes a Jesus who is not only willing to touch and travel with the unclean but who is also willing to bring healing and cleansing to those who needed it. Jesus not only healed and cleansed the man with leprosy and not only healed Simon Peter’s mother in law but Jesus also healed the servant of the Roman centurion, cast out unclean spirits, healed countless sick and would even deliver two men who were possessed by a host of demons. How absolutely incredible are the words which are found in the eighth chapter of this gospel narrative for not only do we find the demonstration and manifestation of the kingdom of heaven but we also find the willingness of the Lord Jesus to bring healing and cleansing to those who were in need. If you were to summarize the words which are found in the eighth chapter of this New Testament gospel you must need summarize it in terms of Jesus’ willingness to bring healing and cleansing to those who were humble enough to admit their need of Him.
I am absolutely and completely convinced it’s necessary to consider the words which are found in the eighth chapter of this gospel narrative for what we find within it is a powerful picture of the willingness of the Lord Jesus to bring healing unto those who desperately and earnestly desired and needed it. From the man who had the plague of leprosy, to the centurion’s servant who was sick with the palsy and grievously tormented, to Peter’s mother in law, to all those possessed and oppressed by unclean spirits, to those who were sick with various illnesses and infirmities and ultimately to those two men who were possessed and oppressed with unclean spirits the Lord Jesus would indeed bring healing, deliverance and cleansing unto them. The eighth chapter is not only about healing but it is also about cleansing and deliverance as Jesus would heal Peter’s mother in law, would cleanse the leper and would heal the centurion’s servant. We must needs recognize and understand—particularly and especially when considering the words which are found in the ninth chapter. As you come to the ninth chapter of this gospel narrative you will find the continuation of the Lord Jesus and the ministry of the kingdom through the demonstration of the Holy Spirit and power. It is when you come to the ninth chapter of this gospel narrative you will be brought face to face with the continuation of the public ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and its manifestation within the earth as He would continue to bring healing, deliverance, restoration and cleansing wherever He went.
If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the ninth chapter of this passage of Scripture you will find Jesus entering into a ship and passing over and coming unto His own city. While there in His own city there would be those who would bring unto Him a man who was sick of the palsy lying on a bed. What makes this particular passage so insightful when you take the time to consider it is when you consider how Jesus saw the faith—not of the one who was sick with the palsy but the faith of those who brought the man unto Him. Pause for a moment and consider that it was not the faith of this man who was sick with the palsy who moved the Lord Jesus but it was the faith of those men who had brought him to Jesus. Jesus saw their faith and immediately said unto the man who was sick of the palsy, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” What an incredibly strong and powerful word is found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the truly wonderful and powerful truth surrounding faith to not only heal but also faith to forgive. Jesus saw the faith of those men who had brought this one unto Him and did not immediately speak to his physical condition but rather spoke to his spiritual condition. Although this man was indeed sick with the palsy the Lord Jesus would emphatically declare and proclaim unto him that his sins were forgiven him. Oh how absolutely wonderful and incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention—not only to faith that is necessary to bring healing but also faith that is necessary to bring forgiveness.
I absolutely love the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for what we find here calls and draws our attention—not only to a Jesus who is willing to heal sickness but also a Jesus who is willing to forgive sins. This man was sick with the palsy and the men who carried him brought him unto the presence of Jesus to be healed of the palsy and yet Jesus would not immediately address the palsy but rather his sins. We read the words found in this passage of Scripture and we encounter and come face to face with the wonderful truth surrounding Jesus needing and wanting to first address this man’s spiritual condition before addressing and speaking to his physical condition. In all reality this reminds me of the words which the living and eternal God had spoken unto Solomon by dream after he had prayed unto the living God at the dedication of the Temple. Solomon asked for the attention of the LORD to be placed upon the Temple and the people of Israel and would receive quite a strong and powerful declaration and word from the living and eternal God. I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and understand this for it calls and draws our attention to what is sometimes more often than not forgotten—namely, that our spiritual condition is of greater importance, worth and value in the sight of the living God than our physical condition. The Lord Jesus would see the faith of those who brought this man unto Him and would not immediately and first and foremost speak to the palsy plaguing his body but rather the sins which were present within his heart and soul. Oh it is with this in mind I invite you to consider if you will the following words which are found in the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles:
“Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD, and the king’s house: and all that came into Solomon’s heart to make in the house of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected. And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually” (2 Chronicles 7:11-16).
It is absolutely necessary we recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for when you consider the words which the living God spoke unto Solomon you will find Him declaring unto him that if His people which were called by His name would humble themselves, and pray, and seek his face and turn from their wicked ways then He would hear from heaven, would forgive their sin, and heal their land. Please don’t miss the incredible truth that is found in this passage of Scripture for the LORD would respond to those who were called by His name—those who prayed, those who sought His face and those who turned from their wicked ways—by forgiving their sins and healing their land. That which was of greater importance to the living God was not necessarily the healing of the land as it was the forgiving of their sins. The healing of the land would indeed be secondary compared to the forgiving of their sins and we must needs recognize and pay close attention to this when thinking about the words found in the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. The words which we find within this gospel narrative presents us with the incredibly strong and powerful picture of the Lord Jesus who saw the faith of those who brought this man unto Him and didn’t immediately heal him of the palsy but forgave his sins. What an incredibly strong and powerful truth this is and something we must needs recognize when considering how the Lord Jesus moves and operates within the hearts and lives of His people.
What makes the words which are found in this passage all the more captivating when you think about and consider it is that Jesus’ words spoken unto this man sick with the palsy would outrage and enrage the scribes which were present. The apostle Matthew writes and records how after Jesus declared unto this man that his sins were forgiven him the scribes which were present there spoke within themselves how Jesus blasphemed. Jesus, however, knowing their thoughts and would ask them why they thought evil within their hearts. Jesus would then go on to ask them which was easier to say unto this man—“Thy sins by forgiven thee” or “Arise and walk.” With these words the Lord Jesus acknowledges the tremendous reality of being able to both forgive sins as well as heal the physical body of one who was in desperate need of it. Jesus would ask the scribes whether it was easier to forgive sins or to offer healing unto the life of one who was in needed of it and would go on to declare unto them that they might know how the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins. In an effort and attempt to declare and demonstrate unto those who were present on this particular occasion the truth that the Son of man had authority and power to forgive sins Jesus would speak unto the man and command him to “Arise, take up his bed, and go unto his house.” How absolutely incredible it is to read and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and how the Lord not only offered this man forgiveness of his sins but also brought healing into his physical body.
I sit here today thinking about and reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding Jesus’ willingness to bring healing unto this man who was sick with the palsy—and not only bring healing to him but also offer forgiveness of his sins. Pause and consider what it must have been like for this man to leave the presence of Jesus—and not only leave the presence of Jesus healed of his infirmity but also forgiven of his sins. Stop and consider what a tremendous testimony this man would have had as he returned to his home knowing that he was healed within his physical body and that he had found forgiveness as well. This man might very well have entered into the presence of the Lord Jesus seeking only healing for his physical condition and yet Jesus offered him something that was far greater and much better than simply healing his physical body. The Lord Jesus would indeed heal this man and command him to rise up and take up his bed that he might go unto his house but Jesus would also forgive this man’s sins. Oh imagine what it would and must have been like for this man to hear the Lord Jesus declare with all compassion, all tenderness and all mercy that his sins were forgiven him. Imagine what this man’s journey to his home would and could have been like knowing that he had not only been healed of the palsy but how Jesus Himself had offered him forgiveness for his sins. What a truly special and wonderful journey this must have been for this man to depart from the presence of the Lord Jesus knowing that he was not only healed within his physical body but also that his sins were forgiven him. HEALED AND FORGIVEN! What a truly powerful testimony this man had as he would enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus sick with the palsy and would not only leave healed of the palsy but would also leave with his sins forgiven. Oh how absolutely incredible it must have been for this man to leave the presence of the Lord Jesus completely and utterly healed within his physical body and forgiven of his sins.
As you continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the apostle Matthew writing and describing his own encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus far within this gospel narrative we have witnessed the calling of Simon and his brother Andrew as well as the calling of James and his brother John. When, however, you come to the ninth verse of this chapter you will find the calling of Levi who was also known and referred to as Matthew. When writing and describing his own encounter with the Lord Jesus the apostle Matthew described how Jesus would pass by and see him sitting at the receipt of custom and would declare unto him, “Follow me.” This is something we must needs recognize and understand when considering the words which are found within this gospel for we find Matthew being a tax collector who was sitting at the receipt of custom—perhaps even collecting taxes when the Lord Jesus passed by. Oh I can’t help but think about and picture the Lord Jesus passing by and seeing this man sitting at the receipt of custom collecting taxes when the Lord Jesus passed by. Here was this tax collector who was undoubtedly ostracized and vilified by those who were present during those days and yet we find Jesus calling him to follow him. What’s more is that as you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus calling this man called Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom collecting taxes and calling him to follow Him. Matthew would go on to write and record how upon hearing the call and invitation by the Lord Jesus he would arise and follow Jesus.
If you continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the apostle Matthew describing how after Jesus had called Matthew to follow Him He would sit at meat within the house of Matthew. What Matthew writes and records next is absolutely incredible when you take the time to think about it as Matthew wrote how it came to pass that as Jesus sat at meat in the house there were many publicans and sinners which came and sat down with Him and His disciples. What we find within this passage is a clear and powerful distinction and difference between the publicans and the Pharisees as the publicans and sinners would come and sit down with Jesus and His disicples. When, however, the Pharisees would see and witness to Jesus eating with publicans and sinners they would not speak to Him directly but would speak unto His disciples asking them why their master ate with publicans and sinners. The Pharisees took great offense to the Lord Jesus eating and sitting down to meat with publicans and sinners and would not speak directly unto Jesus but would speak unto His disciples. What I so love about this passage of Scripture is when you consider the fact that when Jesus heard the words which they had spoken unto His disciples He would speak unto them declaring how those who were whole did not need a physician but rather those who were sick. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would also go on to instruct them to learn what it means when the ancient Hebrew author declared “I will have mercy and not sacrifice.” Moreover Jesus would go on to declare how He did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance thus indicating that He did not come to call those who were righteous in their own eyes, nor those who did not realize they had a need for a Savior and Redeemer but rather those who recognized their plight and their condition. The Lord Jesus did not and would not come to call the righteous and/or those who were righteous in their own sight but those who were sick and those who realized they had a tremendous need for Him.
As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in this chapter for it would open with Jesus offering forgiveness of sins unto a man who was sick of the palsy and brought into his presence. Not only would Jesus offer forgiveness unto this man who was sick with the palsy but Jesus would also call a tax collector to walk with and follow Him. What’s more is the Lord Jesus would not only call a publican and tax collector to walk with and follow Him but he would also sit down to meat with many publicans and sinners. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for within this passage of Scripture we find Jesus emphatically declaring that he came to call sinners unto repentance and those who realized and recognized their need of Him to healing and wholeness. Not only this but at the end of the chapter we find Jesus seeing the multitudes and was moved with compassion on them because they fainted and were scattered abroad. Jesus would go on to speak unto His disciples and declare how the harvest truly was plenteous but the laborers were few. He would then go on to invite them to pray therefore unto the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth laborers into His harvest. In a chapter that would begin with Jesus offering healing and forgiveness for a man who was sick with palsy and would eat and drink with publicans we find it concluding with the Lord Jesus speaking of the harvest that was before His disciples in the world and that they needed to pray the LORD of the harvest that He would send forth laborers into his harvest. Oh that we would read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and come face to face with a Jesus who is not only willing to offer healing and forgiveness to those who need it, and is not only willing to eat and drink with publicans and sinners but is also willing to send forth His laborers into the harvest that the harvest might indeed be gathered together unto Him and his father.