Read thru the New Testament 2018
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids
Bible Reading: Matthew 9:1-17
In this chapter, Jesus continues to perform miracles to provide evidence for Who He is. To make certain that the people identify Him as the Messiah.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
I love to laugh. It just feels good. Our home is a place where there is lots of laughter. In fact, in order to be a member of the Pennington family tree…it is required that you have a funny bone.
One of my all-time favorite funny bone ticklers comes from the movie, “The Pink Panther.” The star of the movie is Inspector Jacques Clouseau…a French police detective. He is one of those bumbling, clumsy people that can mess up anything. And yet, somehow, it always works out to his advantage…and he winds up being the hero. In one scene, he is checking into a hotel at the front desk. As he is standing there, a dog walks up and stops right next to him. In his thick French accent he asks the desk clerk, “Does your dog bite?” The clerk responds, “No, my dog doesn’t bite.” Clouseau then reaches down to pet the dog. When he does the dog barks viciously and tries to bite his hand off. Clouseau jerks back his hand and jumps back from the dog. He looks at the clerk and says, “I thought you said your dog doesn’t bite!” To which the clerk drably replies, “That’s not my dog.” A case of mistaken identity!
We talked about that yesterday…mistaken identity. In Matthew 8-9, Jesus is fulfilling prophecies made in the Old Testament that would clearly identify the Messiah, the Savior that God was sending…when He arrived. These prophecies said that the Messiah would do amazing miracles. When Jesus did these miracles…He identifying Who He was. He was proving that He was the Messiah. Make no mistake about His identity. Most of these miracles involved something that could be seen, or someone who could be touched…they were physical healings. But here in chapter 9, is a different kind of healing…a spiritual healing.
Jesus had been traveling from place to place…teaching the people about God, telling them the Good News of God’s love, and healing many sick people. Now, He arrives in Capernaum where he was living with Peter’s family in their home on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. There was a synagogue, there…the place where Jewish people worshipped when they were not at the Temple in Jerusalem (something like a church). As Jesus arrived in town, some people brought a man lying on a bed to Him. The man was paralyzed. Evidently, they believed that Jesus could heal the man. This kind of faith impressed Jesus. But there must have been something more to the man’s story…because, while Jesus knew that the man had a physical sickness, He also knew that he had a spiritual sickness…there was sin in his life that the man needed to deal with. In fact, it could be that the spiritual sickness was the cause of the physical sickness. That happens, sometimes. So, while Jesus could have just healed the man physically, it would be much more important that the man first be healed spiritually. Then both the spiritual sickness and the physical sickness would be healed. Jesus looked at the man and said, “Take courage, my son, your sins are forgiven.” Now, at that moment…no one else in that crowd may have realized exactly what Jesus was talking about…but that man did. He knew exactly what sin was in his life that needed to be forgiven…exactly what sin Jesus was talking about. Oh, I would love to have been a fly-on-the-wall and to have seen the expression on that man’s face when he looked up into Jesus’ eyes. He must have thought, “How does He know? No one but God knows what I did.” And while it doesn’t say so…the suggestion is that at that moment, when he realized Who Jesus was…this man’s heart was broken because of his sin and he received God’s forgiveness. The same is true for us…anytime that we realize that we have sinned, and we tell God that we are sorry, and that we will not do it again, and ask for His forgiveness…He forgives us.
But here is the point that I want to make. Remember, Jesus is working miracles to prove Who He is. Those miracles are proof of His authority and power…and that He comes from God. The moment that He tells the man that his sins are forgiven, the Jewish religious leaders pop a cork. They say, “He’s a liar, He’s acting like He is God!” They say that only God has the right to forgive sin. And guess what, they are right. But don’t forget what was Jesus doing? He was working miracles to prove Who He was, that He came from God. So, He said, “You’re right. You got Me on that one. Only God can forgive sin. But let Me ask you a question: Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’…which I could say and yet, there would be no proof to be seen. Or, to say to a man who is paralyzed, ‘Stand up, pick up your cot, and go home healed.’ Which would require more proof that I have this kind of authority?” The religious leaders thought to themselves, “We’ve caught Him this time. To tell the man to stand up would require that he do something that physically cannot be done. And when Jesus doesn’t have the authority to heal the man physically, it will prove that He also does not have the authority to forgive the man spiritually.” Jesus knew what they were thinking. So, He tells the man…”Get up, pick up your cot, and go home.” And what happens? Wait for it, wait for it…the man got up, picked up his cot, and went home…healed…and forgiven. Jesus had turned the table on the religious leaders. He gave powerful proof of His authority. He healed the man physically…which they could see. And, by doing so, He was saying that God also gave Him the authority to heal the man spiritually…whether they could see it, or not. And that is exactly what the people who were watching realized.
Sometimes, not always, but sometimes…when we are struggling, when we are discouraged, or when we have physical sickness…it could be because we have sinned. Those things should get our attention and cause us to ask why it is happening. If we pray and God tells us that they are happening because we have sinned…we should immediately agree with what God says and ask His forgiveness. Then, when we receive God’s forgiveness…guess what we should do? Wait for it, wait for it…stand up, pick up your cot, and go forward…just like the man who had been paralyzed. When God forgives us…we are completely forgiven. Do not allow that sin to continue to have a bad affect on your life.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,