Matthew 9:1-8 – Responding to Jesus’ Power to Change You (2 of 2)

A sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ the Redeemer Church, Manhattan, KS, 1 January 2012


9:1 And after getting into a boat, He crossed back and came into His own town.

9:2 And look, they were carrying to Him a paralyzed man laid upon a mattress,
and Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralyzed man,

            “Keep on being courageous, child; your sins have been forgiven.”

9:3 Now, get [this], some of the scribes said within themselves,

            “This man is blaspheming!”

9:4 And Jesus, knowing their thoughts said,

            “Why are you [yourselves] thinking evil in your hearts?

            9:5 Now, which is easier:

                        to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you’

                        or to say, ‘Get up and walk around’?

            9:6 But, in order that y’all might know

                        that the Son of Man has authority upon the earth to forgive sins…”

then He says to the paralyzed man,

            “Get up, pick up your mattress, and go on into your house.”

9:7 And he got up and went away into his own house!

9:8 Now, when the crowd saw, they feared4 and glorified God, the One who gave such authority to men.


So far in the Gospel of Matthew, we have seen:

·         exhibits on the kingly nature of Jesus in the first three chapters with the genealogy, the visit of the Magi, the contrast with Herod, and John the Baptizer’s prophecy of his judgment.

·         We have also seen exhibits on the prophetic teaching ministry of Jesus – especially the Sermon on the Mount – in chapters 4-7.

·         Now we are looking at exhibits on the priestly ministry of Jesus to heal and restore human beings.


In the first 8 verses of chapter 9, the central character is Jesus, but we also see 5 different parties mentioned who respond to His power to change lives. Let’s first look at what the main character is doing, and then let’s consider the response of the five parties, as well as our response to Jesus’ power to change lives:

I)      The main character: Jesus

Let us not miss the fact that Jesus is the key player in our Christian faith.

So the spotlight is on Jesus, but what is He doing?


A)    Responding to people:

1.      Leaving - 9:1  Καὶ ἐμβὰς εἰς [το[1]] πλοῖον διεπέρασε καὶ λθεν εἰς τὴν ἰδίαν πόλιν.

(a)   Remember where Jesus was when He got into the boat? He had gone across the lake/Sea of Galilee and healed two demon-possessed men. The demons ran away into a herd of pigs and drowned them all.

(b)   Did the people say, “Hooray! Jesus has healed our two afflicted men!” No, they asked Jesus to leave! So Jesus leaves.

(c)   Be careful what you ask Jesus to do, He just might do it!

2.      Forgiving - 9:2  Καὶ ἰδοὺ προσέφερον αὐτῷ παραλυτικὸν ἐπὶ κλίνης βεβλημένον· καὶ ἰδὼν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς τὴν πίστιν αὐτῶν επε τῷ παραλυτικῷ· θάρσει, τέκνον· ἀφέωνταί[2] [σοι] αἱ ἁμαρτίαι σου.

(a)   We need to look to the parallel accounts in Mark and Luke’s gospels to fill out the picture of what happened when Jesus got back to Capernaum:

(b)   Mark 2:1 indicates that Jesus went back to His house. Luke 5:17 says that Jesus was using His home as a “teaching” center where tons of people came from all around to listen to Jesus teach. Matthew mentions scribes being there, and Luke mentions Pharisees and Bible-instructors being there too. Jesus is teaching the teachers so they can go out and teach the full meaning of God’s word!

(c)   Mark and Luke tell us that the arrival of the paralyzed man was pretty dramatic. He was carried by four men, but the house was too crowded to bring him in through the door, so they came up with a crazy plan. They carried their friend up to the roof of Jesus’ house, then they broke open the roof, and then lowered the paralyzed man down in front of Jesus as He was teaching!

(d)   And Jesus responds to their faith by speaking words of encouragement and forgiveness:

(i)     θάρσει, τέκνον – Son (literally “child”) be of good cheerKJV/ take courageNASB/ take heartNIV, ESV This is typical of God’s word to His people:

·         1Kings 17:13  Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son.”

·         Matt. 9:22  But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.

·         Mark 6:50  for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and *said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” (|| Mat. 14:27)

·         Mark 10:49  And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they *called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.”
(cf. Prov. 31:11  The heart of her husband trusts in her)

·         John 16:33  “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

·         Acts 23:11  But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.”

(ii)   αφέωνταί forgiven

·         Sin and sickness are intertwined in the Bible. The disciples asked Jesus later on about a certain handicapped man, “Who sinned, this man or his parents?” (John 9:2)

·         Of all the thousands of handwritten Greek manuscripts of the N.T. which predate the printing press, all but two record Jesus using the perfect tense of the verb to forgive. The Perfect tense indicates past action with results continuing into the present. “Your sins are/have been forgiven” – in the past, with continuing application into the present. Now, to give you full disclosure, the two Greek manuscripts which are different happen to be the two oldest-known manuscripts of Matthew, and they both record the same verb in its Present tense, “your sins are being forgiven now.” But what is significant is that not a single Greek manuscript has this verb in its Future tense!

·         Wait a minute, Jesus hadn’t died on the cross yet to pay for those sins, so how could that man have been forgiven in the past or even in the present yet? What’s more, that man had not even made a profession of faith in Jesus, how could he be saved from his sin BEFORE he had even called upon the name of Jesus?

·         I believe this verb tense further underscores the astonishing authority of Jesus over us. He is not dependent upon us to save us; He has the authority to save us before we ever even want to be saved. The scriptures tell us that all who get saved are chosen by God from before the beginning of time (Ephesians 1:4). God already planned from before the beginning of time to send Jesus to die (1 Pet. 1:20) for your particular sins and apply Jesus’ righteous death to you in particular and forgive you for your sins because He loved you personally.

·         Apparently this paralyzed man was one of those whom God so loves. So his forgiveness was already planned out in the will of God, and whether or not it had been acted out in time and space, it was a good as done. Jesus was actually revealing the will of God in this man’s particular situation to comfort him in his grief over his sin and his grief over the consequences of his sin.

·         It didn’t matter how awful his sin was, it would be forgiven: “Not the most destructive sin can confound the grace of God within the flow of Jesus’ blood”

·         What a relief! That’s what Horatio Spafford was expressing in his hymn “It is well with my soul” - “Oh the joy of this glorious thought, My sin, not in part but the whole is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”

3.      Speaking – Jesus also responds to the disbelief of the Bible teachers by speaking to them: 9:3  καὶ ἰδού τινες τῶν γραμματέων επον ἐν ἑαυτοῖς· οτος βλασφημεῖ. 9:4  καὶ ἰδὼν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν επεν· ἱνατί [ὑμεῖς[3]] ἐνθυμεῖσθε πονηρὰ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν; 9:3 Now, get [this], some of the scribes said within themselves, “This man is blaspheming!” 9:4 And Jesus, knowing their thoughts said,  “Why are you [yourselves] thinking evil in your hearts?

(a)   The word idou is an aorist imperative form of the Greek verb “to see” – it’s a command to “lookee here,” “check this out,” or, in old English, “behold.” It is used in Greek even of things which cannot be seen but are rather heard or perceived, like we would say, “hey, listen up!, ” or “pay attention,” or “hey, get this!” We don’t usually write these kind of attention-getting words in English like they apparently did in Greek, but we still use them in conversation. Perhaps it is God’s way of condescending to our short attention spans and helping us stay focused when we hear His word read!

(b)  Jesus responds with an exhortation to evaluate the evil of their own thoughts and follows up with a thought-provoking question: 9:5  τί γάρ ἐστιν εὐκοπώτερον, εἰπεῖν, ἀφέωνταί σοι αἱ ἁμαρτίαι, εἰπεῖν, γειρε καὶ περιπάτει; 9:5 Now, which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk around’?

(c)   This is a funny question, for neither phrase is hard to utter. But if you had a human audience holding you accountable, and if you had no power to do either, you might be able to get away with saying, “Your sins are forgiven,” because we don’t have any way of measuring how much unforgiven sin people have piled on them. But who would you have to be in order to forgive offenses committed against God? It would be impossible to be anybody but God to truthfully say, “Your sins are forgiven.” On the other hand, there are many people who have spoken to sick people and seen them healed by the power of God. You don’t have to be God to help people get healed, so in terms of which is easier for a man to accomplish, it would be the healing.

(d)  Jesus, of course, is well-aware of the fact that no one can see whether His forgiving of the para­lyzed man really worked or not, so He offers them a display of His authority which they CAN see: 9:6 να δὲ εἰδῆτε τι ἐξουσίαν χει ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας - τότε λέγει τῷ παραλυτικῷ· ἐγερθεὶς ρόν σου τὴν κλίνην καὶ παγε εἰς τὸν οκόν σου. 9:7  καὶ ἐγερθεὶς ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οκον αὐτοῦ. 9:6 But, in order that y’all might know that the Son of Man has authority upon the earth to forgive sins…” then He says to the paralyzed man, “Get up, pick up your mattress, and go on into your house.” 9:7 And he got up and went away into his own house!

(e)   I’m sure there was a bit of a tense silence as the crowd waited to see what would happen. Was this some half-cracked lunatic on a power trip, or was this the Messiah, the seed of the woman, the King from David’s line who would reign forever? They stared in fascination as the once-paralyzed man stood to his feet and began walking away with his bedroll under one arm!

B)    Revealing God to people:

1.      He is not a God who sits aloof in heaven, uninvolved in our lives and uncaring about the details of everyday life. Jesus’ actions reveal the personal nature of God who gets involved in our lives and responds to our responses to Him.

2.      Furthermore, He is not a God who merely interacts with us through mystical impressions and feelings. He is a God who reveals Himself in words so that we may have objective knowledge about Him. He explicitly tells the Bible teachers that He was healing the paralytic “so that [they] might know that the Son of Man [i.e. Jesus, is God and] has authority upon the earth to forgive sins.” He wanted them to gain this objective knowledge about God, and He will also reveal Himself to you, according to His will, using His word, the Bible.

C)    Restoring sin-sick people:

1.      παραλυτικὸν paralytic – a condition of not being able to move or control parts of body – particularly the legs.

(a)   Unger’s Bible Dictionary mentions possible causes being:

(i)     an inflammation of the brain,

(ii)   interference with the spinal column from bleeding or from a tumor, or

(iii)  perhaps an injury to the back.

(b)   A couple of weeks ago, a family visited us with a son named Hezekiah who was born with his spinal column deformed so that he cannot walk. That is one kind of paralysis. He has to be carried or ride a scooter to go anywhere.

(c)   This was not something which could be healed by any doctor in Jesus’ time, and it is not a condition which could suddenly heal on its own.

2.      This paralysis was a result of sin – if nobody ever sinned, there would be no sickness of any kind, but we have all sinned, so sickness is common to us all. In my life, it might manifest as headaches, but in this man’s life is was severe paralysis.

3.      This disease was also a symbol of sin – as we saw earlier from the apostle’s interpretation of Isaiah 53:3 - the prophecy about Jesus bearing our infirmities: Matthew 8:17 applies it to phys­ical diseases, and 1 Pet 2:24 applies it to sins, just as Isaiah makes clear through paral­lelism that he is also speaking of forgiveness of sins. In the paralytic’s life, Jesus not only undid the bondage to sin itself, He also undid the symbol of bondage to sin, that is, the sickness.

4.      With a word of command, Jesus healed this man of his paralysis in addition to forgiving him of all his sin. Jesus fixed everything that needed fixing in the poor man’s life.


So, that’s what Jesus was doing: Responding, Revealing, and Restoring. What about everybody else in this narrative?

II)    Three Parties who Responded Badly

A)    The Gadarenes asked Jesus to leave, as we saw at the end of chapter 8.

1)     They were like those people that 2 Peter 3:5 describes in the last days who “are willingly ignorant of” (KJV) or who “deliberately forget” (NIV) God and His works.

2)     Jesus abandons these people, and, although the Gospel did advance among some of the people there, it was by no means embraced by all.

3)     I was interested to discover from Matthew Henry’s commentary that this place where Jesus was first rejected was the first area in Israel to be totally destroyed by the Romans on their way to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

B)    The Bible scholars in Jesus’ house – instead of kicking themselves for not caring enough about the paralytic to ask God to forgive his sins, and instead of curiously asking Jesus how on earth He forgives sins, they begin accusing the Son of God of blasphemy. Why blasphemy?

1.      Because, for one reason, anyone who makes light of sin is making light of the holiness of God. No man should make light of sin and say, “Oh, don’t worry about your sins, they’re no big deal.” – No, every violation of God’s will is a painful offense against our holy God, and He doesn’t take any of our sin lightly. So either this is blasphemy by under­cutting God’s holiness, or,

2.      another reason, is that no man should ever claim to do what God alone can do. Sin is a violation of what God has declared to be good, and when we do what He says is evil, we are offending God Himself. Nobody else can step in and say, “I forgive you” for Him.

§         ILLUSTRATION: It would be like if Peter broke Amos’ computer – stepped on it and cracked the screen so that it didn’t work anymore – and I stepped in and said, “It’s o.k. Peter, I forgive you.” That doesn’t fix anything, because Amos’ computer is still broken and he’s still upset with Peter. Only Amos can forgive what Peter has done to Amos – nobody else, and if Amos wants to forgive Peter and tell Peter not to worry about the computer, well, that’s Amos’ prerogative.

§         Similarly, unless Jesus is God, He can’t go around forgiving people of sin, because, if He isn’t God, then the offenses were not against Him.

§         Mark and Luke, in their parallel accounts explain this by saying that the Pharisees and scribes were thinking, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?!”

        This reveals a monumental truth about Jesus. Either He was a terribly egocentric and deluded liar or He was truly God with the authority to forgive offenses against God Himself! As Christians, we believe that Jesus is who He says He is, that He is the Son of God, “very God of very God,” with the answer to all of our problems – the power to forgive all our offenses against God!

        But the scribes weren’t ready to believe that. They were assuming that Jesus was a man who was making fun of God, so they accuse Jesus of blasphemy.

        These hyper-critical scribes are thinking about what Jesus is doing wrong and not paying attention to themselves, how they themselves are thinking evil! Surely it was the scribes themselves who were blaspheming God by seeing God in the flesh before their eyes and yet accusing Him of blasphemy!

        Do you find yourself quickly criticizing other people? Remember, Jesus told us to first take the log out of our own eye and then see if we can still see the speck in the other person’s eye.

        Jesus continues to reveal Himself modestly, but He also continues to be critical of the hypocrites among the Jewish religious leaders, and as His ministry progresses, He spends less time teaching them and more time teaching His disciples. By the end of Matthew’s Gospel, His condemnation of these religious leaders is clear: Matthew 23:13-33 “…woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in…Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. Woe to you, blind guides… For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness… Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?”

        Thirty-some years after Jesus’ resurrection, the Roman army would invade Jerusalem, desecrate and destroy the temple, and kill the religious leaders.

C)    The Crowds in v.8 give us the third group of people who responded to Jesus’ display of power to change a man’s life, but they were careless. They did not carefully consider what Jesus was saying and the ramifications of what Jesus was doing. They should have realized that Jesus was God, that He was unique, but instead they remain clueless about the significance of what had just happened. 9:8  ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ χλοι ἐθαύμασαν/εφοβηθησαν  καὶ ἐδόξασαν τὸν Θεὸν τὸν δόντα ἐξουσίαν τοιαύτην τοῖς ἀνθρώποις.  9:8 Now, when the crowd saw, they feared/marvelled and they glorified God, the One who gave such authority to men.

1)     There is quite a split in opinions over whether the original is ἐθαύμασαν (marveled) or εφοβηθησαν (feared). Manuscripts with the former are: C, L, Θ, 0233, f13, and the Byzantine Majority. Manuscripts with the latter are א, B, D, W, f1, 33, 892, 1424, and the majority of pre-Vulgate Latin translations.

2)     At any rate, the crowd recognized that only the power of God could effect such a healing, and only the power of God could forgive a man of sin. They got that much right. They were right to be awed at God’s power and to praise God for these wonderful acts.
APPLICATION: We too should stand in awe of God and marvel that He would forgive humans and heal us too. Let us be like the paralyzed man who praised God with prayers of thanks and songs of praise for forgiving us of our sins, doing this in faith that He indeed has forgiven us every time we have asked Him to in Jesus’ name – whether we can see or feel any physical evidence of it or not! Let us also wonder and praise God when we see Him do physical acts of deliverance or healing for us or our friends.

3)     However, the crowd didn’t make the connection that Jesus Himself was God. They didn’t fully under­stand what had just happened. Mark and Luke add that these Bible teachers all went home say­ing, “That was strange,” “We’ve never seen anything like that before!” Instead, they should have fallen on their faces and asked Jesus to forgive them for thinking ill of Him and begged to be saved.

4)     Jesus warned the Jews in Matthew 21:43 “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.”

5)     And the Apostle Paul comments on the fulfillment of this in Romans 10:3: “For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God… 11:7-8 What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened… 11:20  they were broken off for their unbelief…

6)     These truths eventually dawned on some of them, but all who remained undecided or unaware concerning the truth of Jesus experienced the same fate as the Gadarenes and the religious leaders when Titus leveled the city of Jerusalem and killed all its inhabitants.


Whether they were pagans who didn’t want to deal with Jesus as another God,
whether they were religious Jews who rejected Jesus outright,
or whether they were bystanders who were clueless about Jesus,
all received the same judgment.

III) Two Parties who Responded to Jesus Rightly

1) The Paralytic

·         Perhaps his sickness left him perpetually unable to enter the temple and offer a sacrifice?

·         He has already done something to offend Jesus by vandalizing the roof of Jesus’ house, so he’s not off to a good start in terms of being on Jesus’ good side, but I suspect there was much more sin in his life that he was worried about.

·         It’s entirely possible that this man had sinned and had been punished by God by this sickness, and now he was coming to Jesus to see if anything could be done.

·         Jesus’ response of immediately forgiving his sin indicates that the main thing on the mind of this paralyzed man was his sin, not his sickness. I think the paralytic would have been fine with it if he were never physically healed, but simply set at rest about his sin.

·         In coming to Jesus to fix his problems, he came to the right place. Jesus is the only one who can ultimately help us at the root of all our problems. So many times we fall into the trap of thinking that if we could only get the right doctor; if only we could get the right medicine; if we could only get the right procedure, our problems could be solved. Now, I’m not against doctors and medicine, they can often provide some relief, but they can never address the root of our problems, because the root of our problems is not physical, it’s spiritual. We come to the right place when we first bring our problems to Jesus and work on the spiritual issues behind the physical issues.

·         Now, did you notice where Jesus sent this man after forgiving and healing him? It’s the same place Jesus sent the man delivered of the legion of spirits.

(a)   He sent him to the hospital, right? No.

(b)   He sent him to church, right? No.

(c)   He sent him first of all to go home.

·         Why? Because home should be the most important place for a man. It is where his wife and children are. It is where he has authority to bring into existence a culture that reflects God’s Word as best as He can understand it. It is the place where he teaches his children – the next generation of men and women – all they need to know about life. It is the place he is responsible to work to provide for. It is to this incomparably-important hub of life that Jesus first sends these healed men.

·         Now, what do you suppose was the first thing the former-paralytic did when he got home? I’m certain that he burst into the house saying, “Everybody, come here, I’ve got to tell you how it came to be that I walked home today on my own two feet!” Luke 5:25 says that the man “departed to his house, glorifying God.”

(a)   You men – and women – here, you may not have many opportunities to see Jesus do things as spectacular as this every day, but I’ll warrant that if you pray for things throughout the day and if you are observant, you could come home with a story to tell about something God did that day.

(b)   For instance, a week or so ago, I was praying with a group of pastors, and I noticed one of them was very quiet. After the meeting, I had to pick up some furnace filters at the hardware store. As I pulled out of the hardware store, I realized I was next-door to the pastor who had been so quiet. I wanted to get on home because I had work to do, but I decided to stop by that pastor’s office and just ask him if everything was o.k. It turns out he was fine. He just told me that he prays before the prayer meeting that if God wants him to pray about anything in particular that God would lay it on his heart, but that morning God hadn’t laid anything special on his heart so he figured he didn’t need to pray for anything in particular. So when I came home, I told my wife. It’s not a very impressive story, but was a little lesson on prayer I learned from another pastor that I could pass along.

(c)   Let us be people who go to Jesus with our problems and then come home and tell stories of what Jesus did! Let us build the faith of our spouse, our roommates, our brothers and sisters, our children with little stories which regularly testify of the authority of Jesus on earth!

2) The Paralytic’s friends

·         Our text reads in v.2, “and Jesus, seeing THEIR faith, said, take courage…” This was not just the faith of the paralyzed man, but the faith of his friends who carried him in – “their faith.”

·         You know, I hope that I have friends with that much faith in Jesus and with that much deter­mination to help me when I need it! I would like to be that kind of friend myself to others.

·         Are you willing to trust God to do something good for the sake of your friend, and keep persevering in that faith until you see it through?

·         Susannah Grete told me a story about her dad, Jonathan, who has a friend that was struggling with depression. Susannah’s dad decided he was going to stand by that friend until Jesus healed him. Every day, he would stop by that man’s house to visit. Sometimes he had to physically pull him out of bed and pray with him. As I understand it, Jonathan did this for a couple of years, but eventually the crushing depression lifted. Are you willing to be a friend like that? Bring your friends to Jesus in prayer!

IV)             What is your response?

A)    I cannot reveal to you the secrets of the will of God like Jesus did for this man, as to whether or not you are one of those He has chosen to forgive from the foundation of the world and love forever, but I can tell you that there is evidence which should be comforting to you:

·         Do you believe what the Bible says is true? Do you love God and the people of God? The world does not believe in God nor does it love God. Your faith and love for God and His people is an evidence that He has forgiven you. (1 John 4:8&20) Take courage!

·         Do you find yourself reading the Bible and suddenly realize, Wow, this is alive! It makes sense, and it speaks powerfully to my heart and mind! (John 8:31-32) Do you ever find yourself praying to God like there is a real person hovering over you listening? Take courage!

·         Do you ever experience discipline from God that turns your heart back to obedience to His ways? “Whom the Lord loves He chastens,” (Heb. 12:5-11) take courage!

·         Do you grieve over your sin (Mt. 5:3-4) and ask God to forgive you and seek reconciliation? That means the Holy Spirit is at work in your heart, for it is the spirit who convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). Take courage!

B)    Which party/parties will characterize you?

1.      Let us not be like the Gadarenes who became uncomfortable in Jesus presence and asked Him to go away.

2.      Let us not be like the Bible scholars who hated Jesus and accused Him of ridiculous things and tried to kill Him.

3.      Let us not even be like the clueless crowds who failed to think about who Jesus really was and thus failed to enter personally into a relationship with Him as His followers. Let us not be content merely to repeat religious phrases we hear on Christian radio of praise to God.

4.      Let us instead be like the paralytic who eagerly wanted God to forgive him for his sins and who would be content to live in relationship to Him as His child, whether or not he was physically healed.

5.      Let us also be like the paralyzed man’s friends!

(a)   Let us cultivate faith in Jesus that seeks to bring the blessings of spiritual and physical healing to others.

(b)   Let us persevere in seeking to bless others by not letting any obstacle dampen our enthusiasm to bring them to Jesus!

(c)   Are there any roofs that you need to rip apart? Do you need to exercise your faith in Jesus by doing something out-of-the-ordinary? I don’t want to make so much of this point that it is blown out of proportion, but I do want to take this opportunity to encourage in you any ideas you have been entertaining about seeking God for fixing a problem in the life of someone you know but which you may have been afraid to step out in faith and seek God for. Go ahead and rip the roof off!





[1] According to Nestle-Aland’s critical notes on the Greek New Testament, several Greek manuscripts make the implied subject explicit here by adding “Jesus” (C,F,Θ, f13) but not enough manuscripts do this to consider it original. The NASB and NIV, however insert it into their English translations for clarity.
Also, the majority of medieval manuscripts use the definite article “the” with the word “boat,” but the majority of ancient manuscripts do not have a definite article there. I don’t think it makes a significant difference.

[2] The two oldest known manuscripts of Matthew (א and B) have this word in the Present tense instead of the Perfect tense, but the many hundreds of known manuscripts dated since then are almost unanimous in it being Perfect tense. The dative pronoun following it (soi/to you) is not found in the two oldest manuscripts either, but several more after them also don’t have this pronoun (C,W,f1,33,892), so there is some question as to whether it was in the original, but it makes no difference theologically.

[3] This pronoun is not found in the majority of the oldest manuscripts (א, B, C, D,f1,33,892) – it’s presence only makes the second-person subject (already embedded in the verb) somewhat more emphatic.