9:1 And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. 2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And 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”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
Some men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus. Jesus had compassion and forgave his sins. The scribes considered this blaspheme because only God can forgive sin. Jesus knowing their judgment healed the man physically to demonstrate his authority. Jesus met his greatest need first by forgiving his sin. He healed him physically only afterward in order to demonstrate his authority to do anything.
“Which is easier”, Jesus asked, “to say your sins are forgiven” or “rise and walk”? The truth is both are easy to say. However neither are possible to do without the supernatural authority of Jesus. Talk is cheap. Saying words is easy. It is the result of those words that demonstrate authority. The scribes didn’t like what Jesus said, however, their focus on His words caused them to miss out on the actions as result. A few things…
-Talk is easy. But what I say, or what anyone else says is truly judged by the result of the words. Do things change? Is the supernatural movement of God clearly present? (Don’t stop short on just words)
-Jesus is ok simply forgiving the man’s sins. When the man is placed before Jesus, his initial response is to forgive him. This in fact is his greatest need. As a follower of Christ and a leader in the church I must categorize needs the same way. Everyone I meet today has a greatest need. If they are lost, that need is forgiveness. If they are saved and in sin, that need is repentance. These trump the physical, emotional and physiological needs. Many times God uses the lesser need to open up an opportunity to meet the greatest need. But in this story He does the opposite. I can’t afford leading only a social movement. I must remember I am part of a spiritual movement. (I must be willing to get to the main point)
-Some of the most religious people were the most blind spiritually. A scribe was a deeply disciplined religious leader. They were incredibly committed to God’s word and the exercise of strict adherence to it. However, they were blind to the supernatural power and authority of Jesus because they were hung up on every detail of the law. They knew what the law said but were blind to how Jesus was fulfilling it right in front of them. This is possible for everyone. It is easy to get zeroed in on the wrong thing and miss the main thing right in front of us. Jesus, His grace, forgiveness and authority is the main thing. I can’t miss that. (Don’t miss the main thing)
Father thank you for this passage of scripture that reminds me what is most important to you. The power of forgiveness. You have forgiven me. This is the greatest miracle of my life. Everything else is secondary. May I follow you today and lead others to the recognition of their greatest need and the redemption found only in Christ.