… which is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or… “Stand up and walk?” Matthew 9:1-8 For me, the encouragement Jesus gives to the paralytic is very important. We know that our behavior isn’t always perfect. We don’t always say or do the right thing. However any action that we take in our lives requires that we first believe what we do is possible. In biblical Palestine, it was a cultural belief that physical anomalies were tied to sin. Thus, Jesus’ choice of words for encouragement was to first help the man to believe in God’s forgiveness. While they affect one another, “physical paralysis” should not be confused with “spiritual paralysis.” It is difficult to move in the direction God wants us to go, if we do not believe in God’s desire for us to move. Never stop believing! So, whatever we’ve done, know that God forgives; then “stand” on faith, “walk” in God’s love, and find your way “home”, in Christ.
The event of the unnamed woman is of course told in between the story of Jairus. Aside from the fact that he is a leader in the synagogue, the culture allows him as a man to boldly approach Christ and plead for the life of his daughter. However, many leaders are not convinced of Jesus’ authority to heal in the name of God, but having come to this point, Jairus does what any father who loves his child would do. I believe what is at risk for Jairus is much more than the death of his child. He is not totally free from misperceptions of generational sin and consequence. Perhaps in his mind is fear of his family and future generations of living with the consequence of a misplaced sin. In other words, living without forgiveness from God. Of course we know that today even after we’ve done all that we could do we don’t always win the battle over physical illness. But the culture of the day doesn’t allow Jairus the freedom to accept that his daughter’s death at the age of twelve has a greater purpose and fulfillment. Therefore, breaking through the culture for Jairus was inevitably necessary. However, Jesus, having been interrupted by a touch is delayed in reaching Jairus’ daughter and the child does in fact “die”.