Matthew 9:1-8; A Different Kind of Healing

It’s back in the boat and back across the lake and back to HQ in Capernaum. Not much of a vacation.

Back home, Jesus is met by some folks carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. Jesus perceives “their” faith, but instead of healing the man, he pronounces that his sins are forgiven.

Forgiveness of sins is nothing new to the Jews. They had provisions to be forgiven in their rituals and there are many stories of forgiveness in the OT that are not associated with the Temple at all. But forgiveness always came from God. Here was a man pronouncing forgiveness.

A scribe—a lawyer—took issue with it and thought that Jesus was disrespecting God by saying what he said.

Now, a fraud can easier get by with forgiving sins than physical healing because you cannot see the result. The scribe probably thinks Jesus is a fraud.

I can’t decide whether most of verse 6 is an aside to the reader or a response to the scribe, and neither can the scholars. But the point is that a physical healing would prove the truth of Jesus’ pronouncement of forgiveness.

So Jesus proves what he says by completing the physical healing. The man is healed, gets up, and walks home.

Like the demoniacs, there isn’t much detail about the healed man or his friends. But the disciples—present but unmentioned—learned some more lessons:

  • the kingdom is a spiritual thing as well as a physical thing
  • Jesus is able to do stuff like forgiving sin that only God can do
  • Jesus and the disciples will not always be understood
  • the authority exhibited by Jesus is amazing

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