“Paralyzed ”

            We will continue in the gospel of Matthew this week looking at how Jesus “walked the talk” of the Sermon on the Mount in his everyday life.  He read how he crossed the Sea of Galilee at the end of last week and healed two demon-possessed men.  The people of the area asked him to leave.  They did not want what he was living.  He left.  He did not insist they follow him.  He returned to Galilee and met a paralyzed man being carried by friends.  Again we see the faith of some and the skepticism of others.  The man being carried by friends is physically paralyzed but the scribes watching are spiritually paralyzed and doubt the man’s healing.

      Jesus asks a question of the scribes that always confronts us, the reader, as well as the people in the text.  Is it easier to forgive sin or to do a miracle of healing? Jesus is able to heal our soul and our body if we allow him.

“1 And after getting into a boat he crossed the water and came to his own town.And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’ Then some of the scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he then said to the paralytic—‘Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.’ And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings. (Matthew 9:1-8)”

         Many things paralyze us, not just disease.  We can be paralyzed by fear, by guilt, or by hate.  What threatens to paralyze you today?  Perhaps the problem is too big like wars and earthquakes and you feel so small.  Perhaps the issue is too personal like the pain of separation from loved ones by family rifts, divorce, or distance.  Perhaps the pain is too humiliating like rape.  Of course there is disease.  Jesus has the authority and power to speak into our dilemmas.  He wants us to stand up and walk.

         Perhaps you are the friend who in faith carried the paralyzed person to Jesus.  That role is crucial here.  Jesus saw “their faith”, the faith of the friends.  May we not tire of carrying the issues we care about and our issues to God in our prayers.  Jesus sees our hearts and cares.  Blessings.

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