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."Matthew 9:2(NASB)
As Christ's ministry progressed, we see Him authenticating His messianic claims through a series of supernatural demonstrations of God's power. Having taught kingdom principles and practices in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus set out to prove His power over sickness, diseases, demons, and death, with many mighty healings.
He showed his influence over men... for many were willing to forsake all to follow Him, and He displayed His power over nature... through a range of mighty miracles. It is in this chapter that the Lord Jesus demonstrated His power to heal the sick and forgive sin, and in so doing, authenticated His deity.
Having been rejected in Nazareth, Jesus had made Capernaum his home base. It was when he returned there from teaching on the other side of the Galilee, that a group of men quickly brought their paralysed friend to Him, for healing. Whether this was a long-term paralysis or something that happened during Christ's recent absence we are not told, but we are informed that these men had faith in Jesus because they brought their paralysed friend to Christ for healing.
It was when they brought the paralysed man to Jesus that He saw their trust in Him and their faith in God... and responded to their call. God knows the heart of man and can read our private thoughts, and Jesus was able to see that these men believed He had power from on high to heal their sick friend.
These caring men carried their immobile friend to Jesus on a bed as soon as he arrived back in Capernaum. I imagine they must have been watching with excited anticipation for Him to return. I wonder if they had planned this together and were eagerly awaiting the time when they could bring their disabled friend to the Lord.
The healing of their friend's twisted, disabled body was what they expected - and their expectation was rewarded, for we read that when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, "Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven."
Jesus saw the faith of his friends, but it was to the paralysed man that He offered a word of encouragement, when He said, "take courage." The sick man may have hoped to have his body healed - but he would never have expected to hear Christ's staggering pardon, "your sins are forgiven!"
Both the paralysed man and his friends came to Jesus for healing - but received something more - much, much more. They witnessed the incarnate Son of God exercise His power and authority to forgive sins, and no doubt came to a much deeper spiritual understanding of the significance of WHO the Lord Jesus was.
As Christ's ministry progressed, He gave greater understanding of Who He was to as many as would believe on Him - but for those whose ears were deaf to His voice and whose hearts were closed to His call, He began to teach in parables so that those with a heart of unbelief would hear with their ears but not understand in their soul.
Throughout His ministry, Jesus increasingly demonstrated His power over sickness and diseases, demons and death - until that pivotal day in history when the sting of death was swallowed up in victory. Those with a tender heart towards Him grew in their understanding and faith, while those who followed Him out of selfish ambition missed their greatest opportunity to be healed of their sickness and sin.
Heavenly Father, how much there is to learn from the heart-warming story of the paralytic, whose friends brought him to Jesus and whose faith was rewarded with the healing of their friend’s paralysed body. Thank You, also, for this amazing demonstration of Christ’s power over sin, sickness, disease, and death. Thank You that in Him is health, wholeness, and forgiveness of sins. Thank You that my sins are forgiven, simply by grace through faith in the Person and Work of Christ Jesus, my Lord. I pray that I would demonstrate a similar trust in You that was shown by these men when they brought their friend to Jesus. Increase my courage when faith wears thin, and may I never doubt Your ability to bring life and liberty to all who trust in You. This I ask in Jesus’ name, AMEN.