1. And getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over and came to his own city. 2. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.'” 3. And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4. But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5. For which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 6. But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – and he said to the paralytic – “Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 7. And he rose and went home. 8. When the crowd saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. Matthew 9:1-7 ESV
“This man is blaspheming!” thought angry people in the crowd. “Only God can forgive sins” they reasoned.
And of course, their reasoning was right, – only God can forgive sinners. But what they did not understand, what made their blood boil, what made the bile in their liver quiver was the fact that forgiving sinners was precisely what God was doing. What they failed to see is that Jesus was (and is) God incarnate who came for the forgiveness of our sin.
Some may have looked at the man and said, “He is unworthy! He has done nothing to merit forgiveness.” And they would have been right. Some may have said, “Jesus, that really isn’t why his friends brought him to you.” But that didn’t matter.
You see you are what matters to Jesus. You, the paralyzed man, the friends who brought him, and the angry objectors are what matters to Jesus.
God has chosen to graciously forgive your sins not because you have done so many great deeds but on account of his great mercy. If you are a believer in Christ it is because at some point someone brought you the Good News of what God has done for you through His Son Jesus. It is because someone has made it known to you that God has forgiven your sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it is because God worked inside of you to create the faith that says, “Yes, Lord I believe.”
And so that you might believe, God said, “Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home.
Jesus’ words entered through the man’s ears healing his body. He did this because he loved the man and met his need. And because he loves you as well God had these words recorded so that you may know that your sins are forgiven in Christ Jesus. Not because you are good. Not because you did something special. But simply because God loves you.
Some of course, will get angry. They will object. They will reject. Maybe this includes you. If so, it is for your sake in particular that Jesus also said, “Rise, pick up your bed and go home” so that you might see and believe the Good News of forgiveness in Christ.