And as always, church was wonderful, never disappointing.
We have been walking through Matthew in the midst of a series called "Saving the Saved." The focus being on the religious attitude we have here in the Bible belt and missing everything the Gospel calls us to and to be. For me, this series has been one that has caused me to look introspectively more so than any other sermon series before.
The past few weeks we have looked at the authority of Jesus. He has exercised His authority in healing the diseased/disabled when He cleanses a leper, the environment when He calms the storm, over demons when He casts them out of two men onto a herd of pigs who then go overboard and drown in the sea (Matthew 8). Today we looked at how Jesus exercises his authority over our eternal life/souls.
"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 forgiven 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."
So picture this. Jesus in a crowded house, teaching, preaching. Friends of this man who was paralyzed wanting so badly to get their friend to Jesus. We know that Mark accounts this same story by telling us that the friends climb on top of the house and dug a hole through the roof to get their friend to Jesus! When it is written, "Jesus saw their faith," it is referring to the friends. This is what authentic Gospel community living looks like. When was the last time I/we acted like the friends of the paralytic? What lengths have I/we gone to get our friends to meet Jesus??? Or have I/we been so consumed in my own relationship with Him that I disregard the needs of others???
Let's look from the paralytic's point of view now. Imagine being paralyzed and trying to get to Jesus after hearing of all the miracles and healings He has performed. So you get to Him, and rather than Him saying to you "Get up and go, you're healed, no more paralysis," He instead says "Your sins are forgiven." If I'm the paralytic in this story, I'm going to see Jesus so I can walk. And this Man is going to tell me my sins are forgiven instead??? :) But that's exactly what He does. Often times we come to God asking for one thing. And in the process of waiting, He gives us something greater! The paralytic comes for healing, yet Jesus gives him salvation while he waits to be healed!!!
Now the scribes (the religious people) say Jesus is committing blasphemy, meaning He is doing something that only God can do. Jesus basically says, "Bingo! I am 100% man, 100% God, I have that authority!"
The crowds were afraid and they GAVE GLORY TO GOD. We often forget that the healings and miracles that occur in our own lives are NOT ABOUT US, but about THE GLORY OF GOD.
The big question of the morning: If you were the paralytic in this story, would you be okay if the story ended with verse 2? Regardless of being healed, knowing what type of job will come your way, wondering if you will ever find a wife/husband, etc, is knowing that Jesus has died for you and forgives all our sin to live in eternal glory with Him one day enough?
Are we cool with the story ending with verse 2? Is Heaven enough for us????