1 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” 4 Knowing their thought, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 And the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe, and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.
9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. 10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew is the book of the King. Is Jesus your king? If so, do you acknowledge his authority and power in all areas of your life? Maybe. Sometimes…
Matthew is the book of the King of Kings. Matthew closes the last chapter and verse with “his authority.” “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
- Chp 5-7 = his authority in his Word
- Chp 8 = his authority over Nature and the Spiritual Realms
- Chp 9 = his authority over Man (healing) and to call Man
Both stories are written in Mark and Luke as well.
Jesus came to his own town. Once, Jesus said, “I have no place to put my head.” So, where is his town? Capernaum. (Born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, during his ministry, he became so identified with Capernaum it became his “hometown” i.e. his “base of operations”).
This was a good choice for his base of operations because it was a RICH city and a CULTURAL capital/melting-pot. At that time, the Roman garrison was there and it kept peace there. Then, in his town, he went into a house – maybe Peter’s house, and he was teaching. Some people at that time (4) brought a paralyzed man.
In Mark and Luke – so many people gathered around Jesus that there was no room left – even outside the gate. There was no way to take the man to Jesus, so they went up on the roof of the building and took off the tiles to make a hole to lower the man on his mat (tied with ropes on the four corners). He was teaching with a huge crowd and SUDDENLY – a mat came down in front of him.
This is a beautiful picture of faith. It is important. Traditionally, these men are “friends” but we don’t actually know – family, relatives, neighbors, friends, mixed? Anyway, this man couldn’t help himself but he had some helpers – with love, faith and enthusiastic action.
The very interesting thing = Jesus saw THEIR faith and said to HIM “Son, take heart, your sins are forgiven.” So, was this physical sickness the result of sin? We don’t know, but we cannot conclude that all sickness is from sin, nor that forgiveness results in healing.
But, fundamentally (Genesis 3), all sickness and death ARE the result of sin. This man was paralyzed because of sin – fundamentally. Sin is the root, the cause of all problems. Even though he was paralyzed in body, he needed spiritual healing. To Jesus, the heart (sin) is more important that the body (temporary).
Spiritual healing/sickness is Jesus’ primary concern – even NOW. He wants us to have a right relationship with him even now.
Jesus saw THEIR faith and forgave the paralyzed person. This man was healed and forgiven by the faith of the other men. If it hadn’t been for them, he’d have never reached the healing presence of Jesus. Do you have this kind of true faith in Christ? If so, you can help others to come to Christ. You can help others to be healed spiritually and physically.
Do you have any friends or family members who don’t know Jesus or aren’t concerned with Jesus or who are hostile to Jesus? Our duty/privilege is not to let that man go until we’ve brought him into the presence of Jesus Christ. Obviously, we cannot force someone to be a Christian, but we can do everything we can do to bring others into the presence of Jesus Christ. If Jesus is your Savior and King and YOU enjoy forgiveness and freedom? WHY don’t you also bring others so that they may experience God’s blessings on their lives?
Now, there is somebody against Jesus.
v.3 “This fellow” (Jesus) “is blaspheming.” They were SUPER Bible scholars (probably memorized whole books). They KNEW only God could forgive sins. But they didn’t know that Jesus was God. Do you believe Jesus is God?
“Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” God is all-knowing, all-understanding, ever-present – he had the access to every person’s thoughts. Interesting how he called them out on what they were THINKING and not even what they said…
Even on this Earth, Jesus never ceased to be God. He became man (completely) and remained God (completely).
Jesus continued to say (v 5-8) “Which is easier?”
Forgive sins or heal? “The Son of Man has authority.”
At this, the man went home with a sound (healed) body and soul. At that time, the scribes (Pharisees) believed that nobody could just up and walk without his sins being forgiven. So, for them, this should have been unconditional proof that Jesus had the authority to forgive sins.
- It is easy to say “Your sins are forgiven.”
- It is much more difficult to UN-paralyze someone.
Jesus backed up his Word by healing the man. He proved his Words were true by healing.
Here is one very important lesson:
Our language can be meaningless if our actions cannot back up our words.
“Of course I love you.” And do nothing. Empty words.
How will, how DO your actions back up your words? In Jesus’ story/life, his actions and Words ALWAYS went together.
The calling of Matthew
v. 9-13 “Follow me” while he was on the clock at his day job. And Matthew just GOT UP. – He left everything – including his boss and desk and money.
At Matthew’s house, many “sinners” joined for dinner. Why? Jesus “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Jesus quotes also Hosea 6:6 “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”
At that time, many people had two names – Matthew (Roman) and Labai (Jewish)? Jewish name and Roman name.
At that time (possibly still today) tax collectors were universally hated – but not for just collecting taxes (as today). At that time, the tax collectors joined with the conquerors of a nation and leached off of their own people. They cheated their own people and cheated the Romans – they accepted bribes.
The Jews REALLY hated them. The Jews were fanatical nationalists. They even banned the tax collectors from all religious fellowship – they were forbidden to enter the temple. The were lower than dirt – PURE sinners.
- Jesus called a man who ALL men hated.
- He loved a man who ALL men hated.
This is one of the greatest examples of Jesus’ power to see into his heart to see what he really was and what he had the capability to become. No one else can see into your heart like he can.
The fact that we are all here today shows that Jesus wants to receive us all AS WE ARE, but also that Jesus has hope for WHO WE WILL BECOME in his kingdom.
So, Matthew dropped everything and followed.
Let’s think together.
- What did Matthew LOSE for following?
- What did Matthew GAIN for following?
chair, table, tax records, computer, comfortable job, big income, full benefits and retirement package,
forgiveness, peace of heart, salvation, eating together with Jesus at the same table, becoming one of 12 disciples, privilege of writing THIS book Matthew
Since this event in Matthew, 2000 years has passed. Now, from OUR perspective…
It still remains up to now and will remain forever. He is alive in heaven forever. His book lives on and many people study and receive blessing from this book.
It was all gone within the week. IF he hadn’t followed Christ, it would all be gone at his death – if not sooner.
- What about OUR story? Are you disciples? Are you true Christians?
- What have YOU lost? What have you GAINED?
Sometime take your quiet time and write down a list in your notebook.
What I have Lost: What I have Gained:
Have you lost your money? Your job? A relationship?
What have you gained? This is between you and God. You know.
- What you HAVE in this life will be lost sooner or later whether or not you follow Jesus.
- What you will/have gained will be eternal if you follow Jesus.
“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”
Knowing this very well, the apostle Paul confesses “Yes, I know what I’ve lost, I know what I’ve gained.”
“Whatever I had gained, I now consider loss. And whatever I’ve lost, I now consider great gain for my Savior. I consider all that past to be rubbish, so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.”
By nature are you righteous or sinners?
Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
May God bless us all so that we may lose more and more for Him and that we may gain more and more in Him.