THE WHOLE TREATMENT
Dear God, the ever good one, as I open your Word, open to me the bread of life that I may be satisfied and share with others.
Read Matthew 9:1–8
Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man
9 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 Then the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectAs you read this true story, reflect on your own needs. Praise God that this is how he treats us, too!
As a children’s worker, I Iove telling this story. Jesus’ compassion for the paralyzed man shines through in their encounter: ‘Take heart, son.’ It is such a clear illustration of the way Jesus treats us, even though we don’t deserve it. I often say to children that everyone in that crowded room (v 8) would have thought they knew what the man needed. It was obvious, wasn’t it? He needed to be healed on the outside, so that he could walk. But then I explain that Jesus knew he also needed to be healed on the inside (v 2). Because he is so gracious, Jesus did both for the man lying on a mat at his feet, healing him inside and outside.
These verses remind us that ‘The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’ (1 Samuel 16:7). As for the friends – what a great bunch! They were determined that he should meet Jesus (v 2). An example to follow, and a challenge too. How determined are you to bring people you know to Jesus? As you pray for them, perhaps imagine them lying on a mat at the feet of Jesus, the loving forgiver of sins.
Get praying! Ask God to show you a way to introduce a specific friend to Jesus – the One who can bring wholeness through forgiveness.
Thank you Lord Jesus; because of your death on the cross, my sins are forgiven, forgotten, forever.