“‘But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—then He said to the paralytic, ‘Get up, pick up your bed and go home.’ And he got up and went home” (Matthew 9:6–7).
It’s not unheard of for people to trap themselves by their own theology and logic. That’s what happened with the scribes and Pharisees during this episode. They believed that disease and physical suffering were results of sin, and that removing the disease would equate with removing the sin that caused it. By that reasoning, all healing would have to include at least some forgiveness of sin—which only God can give. Jesus used this logic to prove a crucial point.
The point is clear—“the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” Essentially the Lord says, “I will again demonstrate My power to heal disease. There may be no tangible results of My forgiveness, but there are tangible, visible results when I heal.” If in the minds of the Jews disease and sin are always connected, then it follows that healing and forgiveness are always connected. Therefore, so they might know He could forgive sin in the heart, which is unseen, Christ would do what they could see—heal the physical side-effects of sin, as represented by the paralytic.
Causing the man to walk would be proof to everyone present of Jesus’ complete authority over sin and its effects—less spectacular but just as convincing as was seeing demon-filled swine run off the cliff and into the sea at our Lord’s behest.
At Christ’s command the man “got up and went home,” an action that was a living proof of the Son’s authority over infirmities and sin.
How does Jesus continually prove to you that His forgiveness of your sins is authentic and complete? What Scriptures give you assurance when your feelings tell you otherwise?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610