The Kings Power Over Sin
“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 (KJV)
Does Jesus have power to forgive sin? This was the question the people were asking, especially the religious rulers. They hated Jesus in the first place, and they came at the situation not really looking for the truth, but for something to charge Jesus with. They could have charged Him with speaking the truth. They could have charged Him with love for the people. They could have charged Him with practicing successful medicine without a license. They could have charged Him with many positive things, and been happy that someone such as Jesus had come to their town.
We need to realize that sin not only cripples physically, but also emotionally, and spiritually, and these religious leaders were certainly crippled spiritually. They were so weak spiritually that they could only see other’s sins; and not their own. They were blind to the things of God.
Jesus and the disciples have entered the ship once again. This time they are leaving the land where the demons have been cast out of the people and into the swine, only to the chagrin of the owners of the pork. Upon their reaching the Capernaum side of the Sea they go to Peter’s home; at least it is believed to be. This has become our Lord’s base and place where He lays His head. You can see in this first verse that it is referred to as, “His own city”, and the home of the apostle Peter was in Capernaum.
The house was full and overflowing with people. Peter’s house was a place of much activity. Mark chapter two gives us more details, and the gospel according to Luke in chapter 5 tells us that it was so crowded that the four friends who brought the paralytic went to the roof top, tore away the tiles, and let this man down through the hole with a rope; putting him right in front of Jesus.
Without question. Without permission. Without any authority whatsoever. These men were believing that Jesus was their friends healer. It is also evident that the man on the pallet was also a man of faith. He was the one allowing them to let him down before Jesus.
Jesus recognizes faith when He sees faith, and He recognized it here. Faith always recognizes the higher authority. It is the act of believing without seeing; submitting to the One who is the power and in power. Faith, true faith, recognizes God. True faith has God as the Person in whom we believe, trust, live, and have our being. The only way to get to God is to come by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
The greatest need for mankind is forgiveness. We need the forgiveness of God. We need the forgiveness of one another. We need to receive the forgiveness God has given us. When this man was let down by the rope into the room with Jesus the first need Jesus met was the man’s greatest need. That greatest need was the need for forgiveness. He needed forgiveness of sin. We are not told what caused this man’s paralysis, and it does not matter; but one thing we can know is that all sickness, disease, paralysis, and emotional and mental sickness is the direct result of sin from the beginning. Had it not been for the fall of Adam and Eve, into sin there would have been no sickness or disease or crippling falls. All would be well.
Jesus pronounced the man, “Forgiven”. Jesus actually said, “Son, Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” (NKJV). Do we have to imagine the release and freedom this man must have experienced. All who have come to faith in Jesus have experienced this freedom from guilt, freedom from sin, from the devil, and from all unrighteousness which hindered us from doing the works of the Lord.
Some of the religious leaders did not appreciate Jesus speaking words of forgiveness of sin. “Only God can forgive sin”. Thes scribes were raging inside unwilling to believe that Jesus could forgive of sin. It was the belief of the religious leaders and probably others that there was a group of people who thought that healing would only take place after all sin was forgiven, and done away with. They also believed that only God could forgive sins. And this was what happens with their discharge of accusing Jesus of blasphemy.
They were, of course, right in believing that only God can heal. They needed to realize who it was who was standing before them. This was deity. This was God. “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made’, ‘without Him was not anything made that was made”. They had yet to realize this great truth.
These accusers knew Old Testament law. They are bound by their own binding, obtrusive traditionalism. They refused to believe tht these powers came from God, thus they certainly would not recognize Him as being God in flesh [incarnate]. On this thought John MacArthur writes, “Their (the scribes and Pharisees) hearts were so hardened against Christ that every miraculous evidence of His divinity and messiahship drove them to deeper unbelief rather than a repentance. Even His most gracious and loving words and acts drove them to greater fury against Him.” JOHN MACARTHUR COMMENTARY ON Matthew, Vol. 1, p. 53
God is the only one who can forgive sin, and make us whole. That is who Jesus is. The power to heal, and to forgive sin is an awesome power which belongs solely to God.
These religious leaders [the scribes] should have known better than to argue with the Creator of all things. He knew their thoughts. This alone should have been a clue to them that they could stand a chance of winning against Him, nor should they have even dared to try. The scribes had just accused Him of “Blasphemy”. For someone who was just human and not God-man to make the statements Jesus did would have been blasphemy. His power to forgive sin was His right, because He is the incarnate God. Even though this was simply in their thoughts and maybe whispered quietly among themselves Jesus knew.
In the thinking of the day, and sometimes in our own, the supposed thinking is that this man committed some vile act of sin and this is why he is paralyzed. It was the easiest thing to say, “Your sins are forgiven”, but that would not make it so, except in this case it came from the Forgiver Himself. The forgiveness of sin is unseen, but the results will be seen, and Jesus not only announces this man’s sins forgiven, but heals him as well that they might know that He had power of forgiveness of sin, and power to heal. To say “Arise and walk” would give evidence one way or the other. It would be the most difficult thing to do. It does become evident by the one who was crippled.
We must admit and confess that all sickness, disease, and sorrow is a direct result of sin. There are times we are judged specifically for some sin. Other times affliction comes upon us to prove our faith. Jesus does not correct their belief that this was caused by sin. The cripple believed it to be a result of specific sin. Jesus forgave his sin
The argument Jesus presents is this – “If I have power to heal an infirmity caused by sin, then, I also have power to forgive the sin.”
The power of Jesus was revealed in His words. Jesus told him to take up his bed and walk. “Go to your house”. The man got up and went just as Jesus had told him to do. When the people who were present saw this spectacular miracle of God. You can be fairly certain that there was a fear that crept through the crowd that was present that day. The scribes were still unbelieving. They saw nothing except someone and some thing to condemn. It matters not to mere traditionalists that people are hurting and suffering; they just want things to be right with their tradition. The multitudes were awed by this revelation of power – the Person of the power. They glorified God the Father. That is, of course, where Jesus intended the glory to go. Only God has power on earth to forgive sins, and to heal.
What was the greatest marvel of all? It was not the healing of an ill or maimed body; but the healing of an ill and maimed soul. It was ill and maimed by sin; eternally separated from God; an enemy of God. Made whole by the works of Jesus Christ. Let us, too, marvel that God has given such grace and power to men. It is given to all who receive God’s Son Jesus as their Lord and Savior.