Matt 9:2-3 "Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven." NASU
Picture this scene. The book of Mark tells us that this man, who was paralyzed, was let down through the roof of a home by four of his friends. They did this because the crowd, which gathered to see Jesus, was so large they couldn’t get through the front door! They obviously thought that if they could just get to Jesus, the man would be healed.
Imagine their surprise when at first, instead of saying “be healed,” Jesus says, “Take courage, your sins are forgiven.” There is no indication that the man was asking for forgiveness of his sins. I wonder, at that point, what he and his friends were thinking. Could they have thought, “we did all this just for Jesus to make that statement?” Were they disappointed, thinking that no healing would take place? Was Jesus saying to take courage because the man would have to live this way the rest of his life?
As you read the entire passage, it would seem that Jesus intended to heal the man all along, but He would use this event to once again prove that He is God in the flesh. There were several of the Jewish leaders there and they immediately called Jesus a blasphemer. Why? Because only God can forgive sin. In this point, they are exactly correct. Jesus then uses this occasion to prove His authority by healing the man. The end result is captured in verse 8, “When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.” (NIV) That is the main purpose of all the miracles that Jesus performed, to bring glory to God.
There is a question that arises from the reading of this passage. What if you came to Jesus for physical healing, but His answer to you instead was, “take courage, your sins are forgiven?” Would that be sufficient for you? Would you be disappointed? As much as any of us may want a healing, would we be able to follow the instruction to be courageous if the healing does not come?
If we contemplate what happened here, we should be able to see that what Jesus granted the man at first, was far more valuable than the eventual healing. Forgiveness of sin is eternal. Healing, as wonderful as that may be, is only temporary. We will all come to that point where this mortal body will be done away with. We will shed this “tent” we live in. But the Apostle Paul gives this encouragement, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1Cor 15:52-54 NASU)
It is the forgiveness of sin by Jesus, which guarantees that this body will put on that immortality. The reason we can take courage in spite of any trial we go through, is because we have the assurance of spending eternity with our Savior, Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave His life for us. This man’s healing was delayed for a moment, ours may be delayed longer, but ultimately, every believer is healed. Isa 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (NIV, emphasis mine)
So if you are believer in Christ, remember that no matter what you are going through, your sins are forgiven and you will be healed!
If you have not yet received Christ, follow the example of this paralytic. Come to Him now, put your faith in Him. Receive forgiveness of your sin and be healed.
God bless you