Mat_9:1-2. And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith —
The faith of the bearers, and the faith of the palsied man himself, —
Mat_9:2. Said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
It was remarked, by a mediaeval writer, that we do not find Christ calling any of the apostles, not even the very chief of them, by the name that he gave to this palsied man, “Son.” This is the title that he gives to a sin-sick sinner, lying on a bed before him, waiting to be healed. Oh, the tenderness of Christ to sin and misery! He puts a kind of sonship upon this man which he had not possessed before.
Mat_9:3. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
“He arrogates to himself the prerogative of God. Who can forgive sins but God only?”
Mat_9:4-8. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 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. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
They rightly saw in this miracle, wrought by Christ, power given to man for, as you observe, Christ said, “The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins;” and these people magnified God that one Man should have such power granted to him. There is an elevation to the whole of manhood in the alliance of Christ with it; through him the Lord hath given great power unto men.
Mat_9:9. And as Jesus passed forth from thence,
The King is now going to show his power over the human will.
Mat_9:9. He saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
Everything bows before him. Is he not King of kings, and Lord of lords? Have we ever comprehended the true measure of his divine and human nature? Even when he was on earth, and known as the Son of man, what gleams of his divine glory shone forth in these truly royal acts of his! Yet bow condescending was our King! Where is his court? Who are his attendants? Listen, —
Mat_9:10. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
Lord of the sea, Conqueror of demons, Healer of the sick, Forgiver of sin, and now he has for his company publicans and sinners! When the Pharisees saw it, they did not see condescension in it, but they saw wickedness in it.
Mat_9:11. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
Ah! why, indeed? You and I know; that is a secret that has made us love him better than almost anything beside.
Mat_9:12. But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
He has come here on purpose that he might heal our sicknesses. Oh, you who feel tonight sick with sin, and sick of sin, come and sit down with him! He add, “Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out,” and be will not cast you out, notwithstanding your sinnership, if you come unto him by faith.
Mat_9:13. 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.
Let us never forget that Jesus is the sinner’s Saviour. He does not come to save saints; he comes to save sinners, and the saints who are saved are kept from becoming sinners by his almighty love.
May God bless this reading of the Scriptures to us! Amen.
This exposition consisted of readings from Mat_8:23-34; Mat_9:1-13.