TEXT: Matthew 9:1-8
1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
7 And he arose, and departed to his house.
8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
D.A. Carson said, “Jesus’ question probed beyond the scribes’ talk of blasphemy to what they were thinking in their hearts. And what they were thinking was untrue, unbelieving, and blind to what was being revealed before their eyes.”
This particular message could be subtitled, “The Haters,” because, as we all know, Jesus had plenty of haters during His ministry on this earth. We know that Jesus is teaching in a house in Capernaum. Four men have just ripped a hole in the roof to lower their paralyzed friend to Jesus. And Jesus tells the man (1) to be of good cheer, (2) that his sins are forgiven. Now, if Jesus had simply healed the man and told him to go in peace, the haters, identified here as “certain of the scribes,” would have found something wrong with that. Instead, they take issue with the good news of forgiveness that Jesus has just delivered to this paralyzed man.
The Bible reads, “Behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.” Of course, they were right to assume that any man who declared forgiveness of sins would be blaspheming God because it is not in man’s power to forgive sins on God’s behalf. But, they were wrong to assume that Jesus was a mere man. With all they had observed of Jesus, not to mention all they had studied in the Old Testament prophecies, they should have known that Jesus was not just another prophet, but something more. In fact, the very next thing that happened should have convinced them that they were not just dealing with flesh and blood. Jesus read their minds and told them what they were thinking. “Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?”
John MacArthur sheds some light on the mentality of the scribes and Pharisees who were present: “Unlike the paralytic, those men saw no need for forgiveness, because they considered themselves already to be righteous. They resented Jesus’ offering of forgiveness, not only because they did not believe He was God but also because they considered it unjust for a person to be forgiven simply by asking for it—instead of by earning it, as they thought they had done. The two great barriers to salvation have always been refusal to recognize the need for it and the belief that it can be earned or deserved. These scribes had probably seen many miracles of Jesus and heard the testimony of others who had been healed of disease and cleansed of demons. But they refused to recognize His power as coming from God, much less that He Himself was God. Their hearts were so hardened against Christ that every miraculous evidence of His divinity and messiahship drove them to deeper unbelief rather than to repentance. Even His most gracious and loving words and actions drove them to greater fury against Him.”
We ought to strive not to be like the scribes and Pharisees in this passage — rejecting a good gift ourselves, resenting when that gift is offered to others, and rejecting the One who offers that gift to all. If Jesus had not healed him, the paralytic could have chosen to reject the gift of forgiveness and wallow in the misery of his illness. Very often, that is what people do — the ones who need forgiveness the most reject it, either because they are blind to their own sin (like the scribes and Pharisees), or because their sin has grown too large in their own sight that they think they cannot be forgiven. But Jesus can soften the hardest hearts, and His boundless love can cover sin of any size. To all, He says, “Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
Isaac Watts wrote:
Happy the man to whom his God
No more imputes his sin,
But, washed in the Redeemer’s blood,
Hath made his garments clean!
Happy beyond expression he
Whose debts are thus discharged;
And from the guilty bondage free,
He feels his soul enlarged.
This shall invite Thy saints to pray;
When like a raging flood
Temptations rise, our strength and stay
Is a forgiving God.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.