Jesus Forgives Sins and Heals a Man

Matthew 9: 1-8

Jesus had performed several miracles now, mostly healing people of sickness or physical problems. One day people brought a man who was sick of the palsy.  

If you remember the Centurion’s servant that was healed, you may remember that palsy is a condition that means they cannot move in some way, sometimes with shaking.  Apparently this man couldn’t walk because he was brought there by others.

Since Jesus had healed people before, and even healed someone with this kind of condition, some probably expected Jesus to heal this man.  It seems that Jesus knew what people expected and he decided to teach what we all need even more than this man needed to be healed from the palsy.

Christ Heals the Palsied Man by David Lindsley

Jesus understood the faith of the man and those that brought the man to him. Jesus told the man, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”

This must have surprised many people!  The people who believed in Jesus probably were surprised that at first he didn’t heal the man, but talked of forgiving his sins.  There were some of the scribes there who were thinking that Jesus was committing a terrible sin by saying he could forgive sins – something only God can do.  It was the scribes’ job to know the law and write copies of the law.  They knew a lot about the law, but they didn’t understand that Jesus was the Son of God; they didn’t know that Jesus could really forgive sins.

Jesus understood the thoughts of the scribes.  Jesus asked them why they thought this was so bad.  He asked them which was easier, to forgive a man’s sins or to heal him and tell him to arise and walk?  Wouldn’t both of those things require a miracle?

Then, Jesus told them why he did this, to teach that he did have authority to forgive sins.  Then Jesus told the man with the palsy, “Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.”  

The man got up and went to his house, healed!

The bible states that the people “marvelled, and glorified God” because they thought it was so wonderful that God had given such power to Jesus.

What do you think?

  • How did Jesus know people’s expectations and the scribes’ thoughts?
  • Why did Jesus, at first, forgive the man’s sins, when it was obvious he had come for another reason?
  • What do we all need, even more than being healed of sickness?
  • If it was wrong for Jesus to tell someone their sins are forgiven, could he do that and then have power from God to heal the man?
  • What do we learn about Jesus’ authority and power from this story?

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