Scripture:  Matthew 9:2-3  And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.”  And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.”


Observation-What does it say?  After the Sermon on the Mount, we see Jesus perform a series of miraculous healings.  And He heals people who were marginalized in the Jewish society: a leper, the son of a Roman soldier, and others who would have been quickly forgotten.  Word of these healings spread, making it harder and harder to get to Jesus. Where people once would have seen Jesus pass by in the street, there are now multitudes gathered around him.  


The story of Jesus healing the paralytic is paralleled in Mark 2:3-12 and Luke 5:18-26.  While seeking a physical healing, Jesus addresses a completely different issue, our sin. Juxtaposing this, the scribes and Pharisees present question his authority to forgive sins.  In looking at the two sides, those seeking Jesus and His healing, in comparison to those looking to keep to tradition and keep Jesus quiet, we see a difference in what needs to happen in our lives in order to find the forgiveness of our sins.  Simply, we need to accept God’s forgiveness, which can only be found through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.


Understanding-What does it mean?  A few years back, I went over the handlebars while riding my dirtbike, breaking my ankle in the process.  Luckily, my friend was right behind me. I was in the practice of going out alone and rarely had anyone with me.  In finding me down on the ground, my buddy asked me what I wanted to do and the only thing I wanted was to get to the hospital.  He rode his dirtbike about four miles to his truck, loaded his bike, and then drove up the trail to pick me up. In the process, the ramp used to load the motorcycles into the truck fell out of the truck.  When he got to where I was, he didn’t waste time going back to get the ramp, but used every ounce of muscle he had to load my dirtbike in the truck without any help. He then drove me to the hospital without any questions.


In versions of this story offered in Mark and Luke, we see some pretty dedicated friends.  Jesus was in a house, and the crowd was deep around him. Seeing that they couldn’t walk in the front door, this group of buddies goes extreme.  They hoist a paralyzed man (read dead-weight) on to the roof of the house (and there were no elevators back then). Once there, they bust through the roof to lower the bed down to Jesus.  You have to imagine that they busted a whole in the roof that was probably four feet wide and four feet long, and it wasn’t their house. Talk about some explaining to do.


Two things we can learn from this.  First, we need to actively be seeking Jesus.  Earlier in Matthew, Jesus tells us we will find Him when we seek Him (7:7-12).  Secondly, faith takes community. In Proverbs 27:17, we are told to sharpen each other like iron sharpens iron.  In Hebrews 10:24 and 1 Thesalonians 5:11, we are told to encourage each other into faith. Galatians 6:2, we are told to bear each others burdens.  Essentially, we can’t do this alone.


Life Application  Jesus, in a world that is increasingly private and afraid of intervening, help me to have the courage to intervene when I see a friend who needs help.  Help me to encourage those without faith. And when I need the strength of others, give me the courage and trust to reach out. Even though the vulnerability can bring me fear, I know your love casts out fear.  


-Tyler Galloway