by Barry Newton
In healing the paralyzed man, Jesus’ deep compassion gushed forth toward us, not just toward a cripple made well. On the shores of the Sea of Galilee in ancient Capernaum, Jesus revealed a single-mindedness that continues to bless us today.
Some friends of a paralyzed man brought him before Jesus. They were confident Jesus could help him. Jesus responded to their trust in his power by resolving the palsied man’s deepest need. “Have courage, son! Your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2, NET).
With a penetrating focus, Jesus looked past his physical brokenness to engage what truly mattered in that man’s life.
The story could have ended with Jesus absolving the man’s sins. Sure Jesus’ statement evoked accusatory claims of blasphemy to be hurled at him. However, Jesus could have simply begun teaching or in some other way changed subjects.
However, the same motivation that moved Jesus to acquit a man’s guilt prompted him to act again. This time his gaze pierced past a man’s physical brokenness toward addressing the crowd’s and our greatest need.
“So that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” -then he said to the paralytic – “Stand up, take your stretcher, and go home” (Matthew 9:6).
What is the reason for providing some ancient murmurers as well as us with grounds to believe he has the authority to forgive sins? There is one. Jesus wants us to come to him that he might heal our sin problem as well.
From ancient Capernaum we learn a lot about Jesus. Jesus possessed a single-mindedness toward resolving humanity’s plight, but this does not surprise us. His devotion to providing forgiveness drove him to the cross.