Matthew 9:1-13 — Healing & Forgiveness (Week 23)
PLEASE READ: Matthew 9:1-13
There could be no greater gift bestowed from God than the forgiveness of sin. In this text Jesus Christ makes His mission very clear:
They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,” (Matthew 9:12-13, KJV).
He has been accused of blasphemy and further questioned about His associations with sinners, namely the tax-collectors (who were some of the worst).
We see that Jesus Christ was not put off by sinners. He embraced them. He sought them out. And He forgave them willingly, although no confession of sin may have been made.
What was this all about? No one could really figure Him out. To the scribes and Pharisees, He was a law-breaker. He was committing blasphemy. After all, no one but God could forgive sin. And to forgive sin, let’s remember — the law demanded blood. And yes, it also demanded mercy. Hence, the mercy seat upon the Ark of the Covenant within the Holy of Holies, which the High Priest could only access once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the highest and holiest day of the year.
We need to understand: the people never had an assurance of God’s forgiveness. There was always the possibility that the sacrifices offered may not have been received by God. Everything had to be done perfectly and without blemish. They got one shot at this. There were no re-do’s. So when it comes to the forgiveness of sin — it was a fearful thing indeed. This is what sealed one’s fate. There was no middle ground. There was no riding the fence. You were either pardoned or condemned — and that was something only God alone could do.
So when Jesus declared sins to be forgiven without so much as a confession — it really rattled their cages.
We are told in the scriptures that Jesus Christ was crucified before the foundation of the world. What does that mean, you may ask. It means that before God even created earth or man — before there was even the fall of creation — Jesus Christ had already made provision for our full redemption.
He knew we were going to miss the mark. He knew we were going to screw this all up. He created us anyway. And He came for us at the appointed time by His Father to fulfill the eternal redemptive plan.
As for blasphemy, God reveals what that is:
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear,” (Revelation 13:1-9, KJV).
When Jesus Christ came proclaiming the forgiveness of sin — He was proclaiming healing. A healing that only He as the Great Physician could perform. Sin was what started everything. And when we look for healing in our lives, we need to understand that when Jesus Christ paid the price — our healing was complete, which is why Isaiah says this:
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors,” (Isaiah 53:1-12, KJV).
We are to learn mercy. We are to love mercy (see Micah 6:8). Mercy preceded sin. It was there before sin ever came. So when Jesus came to the paralytic and forgave him, although he had no confession to make, mercy was demonstrated in a beautiful tangible way:
For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house,” (Matthew 9:5-6, KJV).
Jesus clearly demonstrated His authority to forgive sin in healing the paralytic man from his paralysis. But let us understand that his greatest healing was not in his body — it was in his soul. His sins were forgiven. That is the greatest miracle any of us could ever receive from God. And if God can forgive sin, He can certainly heal us in our bodies.
Sin and disease have an intimate relationship. Since the fall of creation, disease and bondage of every kind has come upon us. A spiritual breach took place that separated us from God and gave the enemy a grand entrance into our lives. That was the curse we brought upon ourselves, and the consequence of that breach was every manner of death. Death manifested in every single area of our lives, and in all of creation besides.
When we think of healing, we often immediately think of physical healing in our bodies. However, what we need to understand is that the healing Christ offers actually begins with the forgiveness of sin, and is therefore fully redemptive. When we are forgiven, healing comes into every area of our lives once sin is removed. Where no sin is, there is no death. And where sin is, there is death. That is a biblical equation none of us can alter. It’s a spiritual law.
Yet we can continue in sin and even abuse and misuse our bodies (and our souls) in ways that give the enemy access and advantage in our lives. We must be wise stewards of all God has entrusted to us. The consequences of sin comes in many forms — including ignorance and naïveté. I can attest to that fact as an RN. I see it everyday in individuals who fail to care for themselves properly despite their knowledge and our teaching. Sometimes they sin against themselves with full knowledge, will, and intention. And we’re over here wringing our hands and smacking our heads because as far as it depends upon us — they have reached a point of no return. There is nothing more we can do for them. And that is a willful lifestyle they have deliberately chosen. Let me be clear: to abuse your body willingly is a lifestyle of sin.
In other cases, disease is purely genetic. And still other times, it’s accidental and even ignorant. In those cases, it becomes vital that we teach our patients and arm them with full knowledge so they can take action.
We all need to be good stewards of our bodies, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Never does the scripture, Old or New Testament, give us permission to harm or abuse ourselves.
Nevertheless, Jesus Christ promises us healing, and He paid the full price for our healing, wholeness, and redemption in every area of our lives (spirit, soul, and body).
So what part do we have to play? Here is what the scripture says:
Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” (James 5:13-16, KJV).
So we see that sin and healing still have an intimate relationship. One is often connected to the other. How that happens in one’s life is something the Lord must reveal. It’s often mysterious, which is why the disciples had so many questions. As we walk through the Gospels, we learn that each case was unique. The Lord never did the same thing twice. So let us be careful not to assume. Let us always take the time to seek the Lord for our answers.
With that said, what I often witness as an RN is one of the following:
1.) The individual is subject to the sins of others against them, such as in cases of trauma or injury. From mere accidents to the worst of abuse; from the minor to the catastrophic: Those are sins of trespassing, which we are commanded to forgive. When we choose to forgive, that sin is removed. And when sin is removed, the effects of death are halted. Healing can come to us, as well as to our offender.
2.) There are consequences to what is called “original sin”. Doctors and nurses see this all the time in what we refer to as a genetic predisposition, a poor gene pool, and other anomalies that cannot be accounted for by any particular behavior or lifestyle. There is no one to blame. It’s no one’s fault — and certainly not the fault of the one who is born with a genetic disease or anomaly.
3.) There are times when sin has nothing to do with it. In the scriptures we see the story of the man born blind in John 9:1-12. The disciples asked Jesus who sinned. His answer was very surprising. It was purposed for the glory of God. Now that’s a concept we all need to consider and ponder upon that may very well be a reality for many people. Unexplainable miracles happen in the medical field more frequently than most realize, or give credit toward. Some are small; others are life-altering. These are patient outcomes for which doctors have no explanation.
4.) There is the area of free will. This is, by far, the most common of any. These are areas of willful transgression. We make choices, either ignorantly or with full knowledge, to deliberately engage in sinful behaviors and a lifestyle that compromises our health, our well-being, and puts us at risk for disease and internal injury. We do have a clear responsible part to play in our own health. That is without dispute. What we need to realize is that when we make poor choices, we will reap what we sow in the consequences. That is sin — sin against ourselves that we need to repent for, and be forgiven by God. And if you have a bad genetic predisposition, the effects are compounded.
5.) Finally, there are demonic bondage’s and strongholds that need to be broken. Time and space would fail me here to go into detail about why or how these can occur. It varies. But let it be known, the verdict is clear — The ministry of Jesus Christ as seen in the four Gospel accounts often revealed disease to be linked directly to demonic oppression and even possession. And although we can’t put it on a chart — any medical professional who is worth their salt knows it. We’ve seen it. It’s real. It exists.
Do you need healing? Consider carefully what kind of healing you really need. Where does it begin? What is the origin of what you’re dealing with?
Don’t be surprised if God first reveals an area of sin in your life (or perhaps even sin against you) that requires repentance and forgiveness.
We all need the forgiveness of sin. The Lord has paid the full price for your redemption — Entire. Understand, the spiritual reality is this: sin is where it all began. Regardless of the issue, God will always address your sin first. He would be unjust to do otherwise. The greatest gift He can give you is His forgiveness. And with His forgiveness, healing follows. That is a spiritual law He taught and demonstrated very clearly.
Let us always remember that we have a part to play now, just was we did in the beginning of creation. God calls us to choose life, not death. He calls us to live a life of obedience. And He calls us to both love and learn mercy.
In closing, know that regardless of your need, the salvation Christ offers you is complete.
Cheers & Shalom,