Healing Follows Forgiveness

Read: Matthew 9:1-8

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . (v. 6)

There are times in my life when I’ve had to forgive someone who hurt me. There are other times when I’ve received the gift of forgiveness from someone I hurt. But I’ve never forgiven someone for something they did to someone else. How could I? It wasn’t my gift to give.

To this point in the Gospels, Jesus had been healing people and the word had gotten out. But when the paralyzed man was laid before him, Jesus did not first say, “Get up.” First, he told the man, “Your sins are forgiven.” The scribes overheard his words, and they realized the implications. In the parallel gospel passages, they ask “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7; Luke 5:21). Jesus’s claim was offensive, blasphemy. Jesus took their accusation head on: “For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?” (v. 6). Then he performed the second miracle—healing the man’s body.

Jesus didn’t perform miracles to prove who he is, but in his miracles, he shows us who he is. We cannot come to Jesus for healing without recognizing who Jesus is. Our sins must be forgiven, and in our hearts, we want them to be. God is forming us to be forgiven people. Answer the question—who can forgive sins but God alone?

As you pray, ask yourself, how am I approaching Jesus? Take time to ask Jesus for forgiveness and accept his power and authority over all of your life.

About the Author

Fred Van Dyke is a conservation biologist dedicated to the care for God’s creation. In this role Fred has served government agencies, private consulting firms, and academic institutions doing research, management, and teaching in conservation science. He is also the author of two books on faith and environmental stewardship.

This entry is part 8 of 16 in the series The Miracles of Jesus