Take heart… Matthew 9:1-8 What Jesus said next could have been anything. Yet, something like, “It’s not as bad as it seems” somehow doesn’t feel as effective. Besides that, what if in fact it really is as bad as it seems? What Jesus does say is “son, your sins are forgiven.” In this Jewish Palestinian culture to have ones sins forgiven is major. It meant that you were approved by God. So it stands to reason that the Jewish authorities believed only God could give such an approval. Jesus however makes a point. It really is easier to say to someone that “God has forgiven” them because that elicits hope. Hope encourages that God, who makes all things possible, is near. To say “Stand up and walk” gives them a challenge. It’s like challenging someone to “just do it.” Yet, who takes on a challenge without first having some hope of achieving a goal? Today, we tend to encourage one another by saying “just do it.” However, sometimes we need to be reminded that we are already approved by God. What we really need to hear proclaimed from one another is “Take heart, child; God is near, all things are possible.
… 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.