Matthew 9: 1-8
Step 1: I am powerless to fight this problem that I face on my own. I admit my need for help and Jesus Christ is the only one who can fully heal and restore me.
Sin is the ultimate cause of spiritual paralysis. No worse infection or illness or addiction or dependency can confine us. It will control all aspects of our life and eternity to come, unless we are redeemed from it. Sin causes us to get into the issues we face in recovery and healing. We have to acknowledge our sin and give it to Jesus for healing. We are powerless in our sin and issues and we are powerful when we confess that sin or addiction to our Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot overcome any addiction or dependency unless we realize it, confess our sin and hand over our lives to Him who will enable us to recover!
This passage continues the theme in Matthew of how Jesus repeatedly goes out of His way to minister to us who are sinners! He seeks us out who are unworthy to receive Him, and then He forgives and heals us. Why does Jesus do this for us? Perhaps because we are sick and paralyzed, needing forgiveness and recovery. We have no way to get off our "mat" without His help! We may not be confined to a bed or have our only mobility be a wheelchair or we may think we can effectively deal with our drinking or substance of addiction; we may not think it is a problem. Nevertheless, we are still paralyzed by sin and in need of His forgiveness.
Came to his own town. Jesus went home. Capernaum is at the northern end of the Sea of Galilee. Recent archeological evidence indicates it was not a small town, as many believed. Rather, it was a considerably large town, perhaps even a city in Jesus' time.
Saw their faith. Jesus also singled out the faith of the ones who brought the paralyzed man. These four men modeled faith, not only in what Jesus could do, but also the determination to get their friend to Him. This sick man must have done something to earn him the favor of having such passionate friends. Remember, these were friends, not relatives!
Take heart, son/be of good cheer. These are words of incredible comfort. Jesus sought to redirect the focus from the suffering to what is really important, eternity.
Lying on a mat. This refers to his regular bed, not a cot or some kind of gurney. They literally grabbed his bed, with him on it, and went to seek Jesus (Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:18-26). This house was centrally located to the roads and had easy access to the entire Galilean region. Perhaps it was Jesus' own family home or even Peter's house (Mark 1:29). This house was Jesus' base of operations during his ministry in Galilee (Mark 2:1; 9:33).
Teachers of the Law. This refers to the Scribes and Pharisees whose job centered on interpreting the Law. Josephus, a first century historian, recorded that there were more than 6,000 Pharisees. Also, according to him as a Jew, many were good and godly but they overemphasized outward appearances. Jesus did not play their game of pretentiousness (looking good with their decorative garments and long public prayers, then going out, lying and cheating widows and orphans) and they hated Him for it. Hypocrites hate honest men with fervor!
They were filled with awe. The effect on the people was amazement and wonder. They praised God, the ultimate reaction and response we are to make (Matt. 17:6; 28:5,10). They may have praised Him because they thought people were given such authority. For us, as Christians, our primary purpose, outside of receiving Christ, is to glorify God in all that we do! It was Christ's inherent authority that amazed people, as regular teachers just quoted one another with no authority attached. Jesus did not quote human authorities, as did the teachers of the Law, because His authority was directly from God. Because of this, the religious authorities were there to investigate Jesus. Who is this guy? Why is He doing this? and is He a threat? They wondered. However, their quest was not to seek truth, but to feed their critical and hostile mindsets with more judgmental attitudes. The result was their quick accusations that He was a fake.
Christ seeks you and your hurt; He wants you well and recovered! But you have to take His hand just as a drowning person needs to take the hand of the lifeguard to rescue him or her. Look to Christ. Allow His intervention and rescue in your life!
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