Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 37
Matthew:9:1-8 Jesus Heals a Paralytic
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:8:28-34 The Healing of Two Demon-possessed Men
"He entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city" - Capernaum
What is God doing?
"Jesus seeing their faith"
Let's first take note of whose faith has been identified. The idea of faith as it relates to healing is often focused on the person directly affected by the calamity. In this case it is not the faith of the paralytic observed by Jesus it is the faith of those bringing the paralytic to Jesus. Jesus is seeing this and at the same time hearing the Father saying to forgive the man his sins and thereby heal him. That is what Jesus does and the Father performs it thus confirming that "the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins".
"(Jesus) said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee"
Does one's personal sin cause paralysis? Well certainly it has in some cases (i.e. a man who revels in strong drink enough to wrap his car around a telephone pole) (a man who is caught by jealous husband cheating with his wife). We do not know in this case what the man did or even whether that something that he did caused his paralysis; that is not the only possible explanation. The sin (whatever it is/whenever it occurred) may be the very thing that is keeping the man from getting on with his life else excepting his neighbors hand up else his willingness to meet with Jesus or even his making the true extent of his injury much more than it truthfully is. It could be any number of things. The thing to focus on here though is that the Father/Jesus see the sin as the primary issue needing to be addressed.
"Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?"
Yesterday we spoke of there being the interaction between Jesus (or the saint) and the afflicted person, but there also being a reaction from a second source the audience or those indirectly effected by what Jesus is doing. Here this third party is being brought into the limelight by Jesus instead of by themselves; the religious legalistic scribes.
What is man doing?
"Behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth"
The scribes are the religious teachers of the day. Like the nation itself, the scribes have fallen from a position of being the official legal council and writing pens of great Kings and Generals back when the nation stood on its own to need them to what we would know as common catechism/school teachers in an occupied Roman frontier. Much is said about their utter hypocrisy and self exalting showmanship and corrupted interpretations of scripture; the accusations about them go unchallenged even by themselves and this perception of them is widespread and commonly held by the public. Their teachings are largely based upon oral traditions that have long drifted from any scriptural balance.
The scribes respond to the idea of the divine forgiveness of sins being conducted by Jesus. If Jesus was not the promised Messiah or the "Annointed One" they would be exactly right, but He is at every step taken in the past year and a half being confirmed by an immeasurable amount of miraculous confirmation. If Jesus then is the Messiah the table dramatically turn and it is the scribes that have blasphemed the Holy Lamb of God. If only people were more cautious when deliberating such accusations. Ah but they're not!
"When the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men"
Well we see then how the multitude looked upon it. They did not side with the scribes per se, nor with the messianic claims of Jesus, they saw God's hand in this, they also still thought of Jesus as nothing more than a man. There is no recorded response at the conclusion of this event by the scribes; they would wait for another day, let the incident become forgotten, it is almost as if they felt that their interruption slightly worked.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
You will notice that there is no scriptural/intellectual debate made by the scribes. Their effort is not to rebut His claims scripturally/logically, it is to poke holes in the public's perception of Him. Public perception is little effected by logic and scriptural insight, these are a foreign language to most. They are effected however by perceptions of character. The scribes do not have a reputable character of their own individually, but the institution itself carries a familiarity having raised and educated many a generation in their customs and beliefs. Their weight towards tipping the scales of persuasion publicly depends greatly upon them not over extending their hand (proving themselves to be what people already think of them). Saints today should know the type very well.
A mention also concerning sin: sin does not necessarily have to be the cause of a dire affliction, it can also be the reason one doesn't move on with/from it, it can be the thing keeping others at arms length from getting to it as well. This sin was something between our Lord and this man privately, they both knew exactly what was being talked about, but not us. As it should be!
Next: devotion:Matthew:9:9-13 The Calling of Matthew