Matthew 9:1-8

And after getting into a boat he crossed the sea and came to his own town. And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.” And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings. Matthew 9:1-8

 

Let’s not let this story get too complicated.  Jesus crosses the sea and runs into two groups of people. 

 

One is a group of people carrying a paralyzed friend on a bed.  The text says “when he saw their faith”, the faith of the friends, then Jesus told the paralyzed man that his sins are forgiven.  Think about that for a second. 

 

Faith looks like a group of people carrying a paralyzed man on a bed through town.  In response to such faith, Jesus forgives sins which means a relationship is restored.  Faith – active faith, helpful faith, the kind of faith that helps paralyzed people – leads to forgiveness and the re-establishment of a relationship.

 

Then he sees another group of people.  The scribes make themselves known when they overhear Jesus forgiving a paralyzed man.  Where Jesus sees faith, they see blasphemy.  Where Jesus reaches toward the paralyzed man, they distance themselves from Jesus.  Judgment breaks off a relationship.

 

In response to the judgment of the scribes, Jesus heals the paralyzed man.

 

The crowds saw the whole exchange and went away amazed.  The paralyzed man went away carrying his own bed.  The scribes went away shocked, disgusted and angry.

 

Who in this story are you?  Who do you want to be?  Are you the one who is hurting and dependant on your friends?  Take heart, Jesus sees that sort of thing with compassion.  Are you the one carrying your friend?  Good for you, that is faith in action. 

 

Are you the one carrying disgust, anger, judging others, judging self, judging God? You seem to have missed the point. The story doesn’t end well for you.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, thank you for the times when we have been carried along by the faith of others.  Thank you for opportunities to be helpful.  Forgive us for the times we have been blinded by our judgments of others.  Forgive us, that we might walk in the light of your love.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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3 Responses to “Matthew 9:1-8”

  1. Linda Geisler Says:

    It is so very good to be receiving the devotions again. You add insight that may otherwise be missed. Thank you for your time and this “devotion” of love. loving hugs, Linda Geisler

  2. Melanie Says:

    As usual, you’ve been able to break down a bible story and give us the insight to apply to our own lives. Thank you for making the Bible come alive as it is meant to be.

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