“Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.’” Matthew 9:2
Matthew records that after Jesus had healed the demoniac that He and His disciples got back into their boat and again crossed the Sea of Galilee. Matthew doesn’t name their destination referring to the place as “His own city.” Mark, in his gospel, does specify that the city they went to was Capernaum.
Large numbers of people came to Jesus. Scribes and Pharisees came to question Him. Many others came because they loved to hear Him teach. Still others came because He had the power to heal. As part of this latter group there came some people transporting a paralytic friend on his bed. The gospel of Mark tells us that when these men arrived the house Jesus was in was so full of people that they couldn’t get in. But they didn’t give up. No, they climbed to the roof and removed part of it so that they could lower their friend down to Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, He turned to the paralytic man and said, “Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” Jesus must have been able to see that the burden of guilt on the man’s heart was heavier for him than the weight of his illness. O how he longed to know that he was forgiven, and Jesus answered the desire of his heart with a message of forgiveness. We too can pass that message on to other sin burdened souls. It’s not that we have the power to forgive sin. Oh no. But we do have the knowledge that Jesus stands just as ready today as He was two thousand years ago to forgive any who come to Him in faith, sincerely repenting of their sins.
The scribes and Pharisees were scandalized by what Jesus had said to the paralytic. Looking at one another they all thought to themselves, “This man blasphemes! Who does He think He is telling this man that his sins are forgiven? Only God can forgive sin.”
Jesus knew what they were thinking and He answered their unspoken accusations. “Which is easier,” He questioned, “to tell this man that he’s forgiven or to tell him to get up and walk? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has the power on earth to forgive sin — Arise,” He commanded the man, “take up your bed and go home.” Immediately the paralytic was healed and did as he was commanded.
There are many today shouldering a terrible burden of sin and guilt. On their own they’re powerless to lighten their lode and everyday it wears more heavily upon their hearts and minds. Anxiety, depression and addictions and other mental illnesses are often the affect of this weight of sin. Perhaps one of you reading this post is one of those yearning for freedom from the weight of sin.
Friend, Jesus stands just as ready today as He was that day to speak the words of forgiveness that will release you of your guilt. All you have to do is come to Him believing He’ll accept you and in faith confess your guilt to Him. As you do you too can be sure that His answer will be, “Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”