Matthew 9:1-8 NRSVue
1And after getting into a boat he crossed the sea and came to his own town.
2And some people were carrying to him a paralyzed man lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, child; your sins are forgiven.” 3Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5For which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? 6But 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.” 7And he stood up and went to his home. 8When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.
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Some thoughts on this scripture
Lord, I believe you had a special word for the carers, the people who carried the paralysed man and placed him where he caught your attention. It was their faith that you noticed. Thank you, Lord, for the work of carers, mostly women, often taken for granted. Sometimes it is the loyal, unmarried daughter who is left to look after a helpless parent. She may even feel guilty when she begs for someone to stand in while she takes a well-earned break. These are the true uncelebrated heroines of our communities; their love is shown in deeds.
The paralysed man was brought to Jesus by friends or neighbours. Forgiveness for his sins came to him in the company of others, without whom he would not have got near Jesus. It is the same today. We go to God in the community of the church and of many others. Our faith, while it is personal, is never to be private. Faith brings the needs of others to our sight, and faith in Jesus gives an inspiration to be the ones who help heal the sick and help anyone in difficulties.
"Take heart...stand up...go home." Three encouraging words of Jesus to allow forgiveness cheer us up, to allow our contact with him to bring us alive and to know that everywhere on the earth is our home because everywhere is his home, and he lives within us.
The people of Jesus' town were quick to judge, springing to the defence of the religious principles. They had lost sight of the bigger picture that Jesus had in view; he wanted to restore health and wholeness.
Jesus longs for me to live fully and freely. In this time of prayer I ask for liberty from what binds me and bring before God my desire for wholeness.
It must have been uncomfortable for the Pharisees to have Jesus say out loud what they spoke quietly and believed in their hearts. Time spent with Jesus brings the truth to the fore.