When Jesus Saw Their Faith


Photo by Mads Schmidt Rasmussen on Unsplash

Matthew 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

Luke 5:20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

I rarely hear sermons on sin anymore. I hear preachers say that “Jesus saves from sin”, but no one defines sin. Years ago I went through a series of studies on Harmarteology given by Dallas Theological Seminary. Harmarteology is the Biblical study of sin. It’s part of a Systematic Theology, a study that all pastoral candidates are supposed to take. I don’t know if it’s taught in seminaries anymore, but it was very eye opening.

People don’t like to hear sermons on sin, but I think we need to go back to basics. We need to hear sermons on sin because the Bible addresses sin. If there were no sin, there would be no need of Jesus. Sin is very deceptive.

Sin Brings With It Harmful Consequences

I was watching a sitcom the other day, and the dad began to talk to his son about sex. The son had been sleeping with a woman that was not his wife, doing what the Bible calls the sin of “fornication”. Any sexual intercourse outside of marriage is defined by the Bible as sinful, defined as “fornication”. We have hardened our hearts to this sin – it is fashionable today. Anyway, the younger son felt some guilt over what he had done. Then his father told him:

You’re both adults. What’s the harm?”

This is the attitude of many in our America today. “You’re both adults. What’s the harm?” We have been told that any action we do is absolutely fine as long as it overtly harms no one. This is the deception of sin. It says, “If it feels good, do it”. This is what the world says. Yet the Bible warns us that sin is harmful. Adrian Rogers once said:

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”

Sin hurts you. Sin always hurts you. Three of the Gospel writers, the redeemed Tax Collector turned Apostle Matthew, the Evangelist Mark, and the Gentile Physician Luke all record an incident in the life of Christ regarding a paralytic, a man who was paralyzed. Let’s ask a question.

Why was this man paralyzed?

Did he suffer an industrial accident?
Was he run over by a drunk camel driver?
Did he eat some bad oysters?
Was he roofing his home, and fell off?

What caused this man to be paralyzed? We do not know the exact cause of his paralysis, but we do know that it was not a infirmity he was born with. We do know that his paralysis is the result of personal sin. How do I know this? Look at what Jesus said to the man:

Matthew 9:2 … Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

Mark 2:5 … Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

Luke 5:20 … Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

Jesus does not say merely “you are healed”, but “your SINS are forgiven”. This is a plural. The man had not committed just one sin, but SINS. We do not know what sins he committed, but we do know this was the primary cause of his paralysis because of Jesus’ words.

Sin can make you sick. Sin can kill you. Sin is anything abnormal that God says we should not do.

When I was in the Air Force (I am a retired E-6) I was once deployed to the Philippines. We flew over on large C130 aircraft, disembarked at the Air Base that was there, and immediately began “processing in”. Before we were allowed to go to downtown Manila we were shown a film about the dangers of unprotected sex in this area. I cannot nor will I describe all of the pictures we were shown, but I must say it turned my stomach. When two people engage in a sinful act forbidden by scripture the act can bring with it disease and misery … even death. Listen beloved:

Not all sickness occurs because of willful acts of sin. The world is a fallen place, and we are fallen creatures. But when we choose to sin and depart from God, it is like pouring gasoline on an already lit fire. When we study what God says is “sin” we need to understand He loves us, and doesn’t want us to immolate ourselves, to set ourselves on fire.

Adam’s sin brought death into our world.

Romans 5:12 … Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Sin always brings with it death. Jesus Christ saves us from sin to free us from sin so that we can do what we were made to do – live with God. The Apostle wrote:

Romans 6:20-23 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Christian, forgiven their sins by faith in Christ, is encouraged to serve God and not sin. When we served sin as unbelievers we did not understand how deadly it is. But once we were saved we saw that the wages of sin is death. When you serve sin as a master, that master will eventually repay you not with blessing, but with death. The Psalmist wrote:

Psalm 107:17 Fools {unbelievers} because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.

And again in Psalm 38:1-5 O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. 2 For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. 4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. 5 My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.

Sin is likened to a weight in the arms of a drowning man. God warned His Old Covenant people in:

Ezekiel 18:20-24 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. 21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? 24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.

If sin were rightly packaged it would not be beautiful, but on the package there would be a skull and crossbones, with the words
“Poison – Deadly – Corrosive”

In John chapter 5 our Lord Jesus comes upon a pool outside of the sheep market in Jerusalem, a place called Bethesda (or “House of Mercy”). For some 38 years this man had laid in this place filled with impotent folk, blind, paralyzed, withered (John 5:3). Jesus passes by all these sick people and comes directly to this man. Why this man? Jesus asks the man:

John 5:6 … Wilt thou be made whole?

The man is not “whole”. Why is he not “whole”? We know he is unable to walk, but don’t know why. Jesus Christ our Lord, the Precious Savior to all who will hear Him, tells this man …

John 5:8 … Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

He hears the Master, and does as Jesus says.

John 5:9 … immediately the man was made whole,
and took up his bed, and walked

The man was healed. But WHY was the man bed bound for 38 years? We do not know until later in the text, when Jesus finds this same man and says:

John 5:14 … Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

Sin crippled this man. Sin put him in bed for 38 years. Jesus said, “Don’t do the same thing again lest a worse thing come unto thee. What’s worse than 38 years bed bound? I don’t know, but I don’t want to find out. Do you?

True Friends Do Not Justify Sin,
But Bring The Sinner To Jesus

Matthew 9:2 And, behold, THEY brought to {Jesus} a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed …

Mark 2:3 … And they come unto {Jesus}, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

Luke 5:18 … And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before {Jesus}.

Four friends got together and brought a crippled friend to Jesus. A true friend does not encourage you to sin. A true friend does not say, “Well, what’s the harm?” There was a commercial on TV years ago that ended with:

“Friends don’t let friends drive drunk”

When I was running wild, much of my wildness and sinfulness was because my “friends” suggested evil – and I followed. The Bible tells us that “bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Good friends will not lead you away from Christ, but toward Jesus. This is what happened in our story today. Jesus was in Capernaum, visiting in a home and preaching the Word of God.

Mark 2:2 … straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and {Jesus} preached the Word unto them.

As Jesus preached the Word the Bible tells us

Luke 5:17 … the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

Jesus heals people. Jesus makes people whole. Jesus helps us come away from the crippling influence of sin. Jesus blesses us so we can walk with God.

Four men hear that Jesus is in town, so they go and get their friend on a stretcher. When they arrive at the place where Jesus is they could not get near Jesus because of the crowd (Mark 2:4; Luke 5:19). What could they do? Should they give up, and go home? No! True friends bring their fallen friends to Jesus. What they do next is extraordinary.

Mark 2:4 … when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

Luke 5:19 … when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.

These men stepped outside of their comfort zone to get their friend to Jesus. In ancient times the rooftop of most homes were flat, and often had raised gardens planted there. These men took their friend to the rooftop. Sitting him down, they then removed a few panels from the roof, making a hole in the roof just above Jesus. They then lowered their friend down. They got the paralyzed man to the Lord.

The best thing we can do for anyone is to bring them to the Lord. A friend does not spend time judging a friend. Religion spends it’s time in judgment. Religion separates us from God. Friends do not spend time judging friends. We examine the Scripture, and apply that Word to our lives. We warn fellow believers when they wander into unrighteousness – not because WE think their actions are unrighteous, but because GOD SAYS in HIS WORD that it is unrighteous. God sets the standard. The Bible says:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Jesus preached the Word of God. Let God be the judge. Bring your friends to Jesus.

There is no evidence in our text that the paralytics friends spoke even one word. They just brought him to Jesus. Friends bring friends to Jesus.

The Pharisees and Scribes were in the room, but they were not bringing people to Jesus. They were judging Jesus.

Mark 2:7-8 … Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? 8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

Matthew 9:4 … Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

Jesus read the minds of these self righteous people and calls them out on it. “Why do you think EVIL in your hearts?” The word translated “Evil” is the Greek πονηρός ponērós, {pronounced pon-ay-ros’}, which means “hurtful, diseased, morally grievous”. The same word is used in the Lord’s Prayer:

Matthew 6:13 … lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

The self righteous add nothing to others in any positive way. Jesus said “the corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit” (Matthew 7:18). These men are doing nothing to help, but instead are hindering God’s blessing. Jesus tells them:

Luke 5:23-26 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. 25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

Jesus Christ alone has the power to forgive sins on the earth. That power is not given to any man, be it Pope or Preacher. Only Jesus Christ can cleanse us from sin. He proved this in a very graphic way, for the man immediately got up and glorified God.

The Way Out Of Sin Comes Only By Jesus

The only way a person can be freed from sin is to come to Jesus. Only Jesus can save a soul. The Bible says:

1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

When Jesus told this man to get up and walk – the man got up and walked. He was made whole. He was cleansed from sin. He was made new. Only Jesus can do this. Let us bring our friends, our family, the ones we love to Jesus. It was Jesus Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). We are all sinners. We are born into a world of sin. Yet Jesus Christ came to save us from sin, and to bring us to God.

Jesus Christ is able! I am not able to save anyone, and neither are you, but Jesus is able. Let us bring our friends to Jesus!

What can wash away my sins?
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!
Oh, precious is the flow,
That makes me white as snow,
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!

May God touch your hearts with His Word and His Spirit. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Sermon Series "Red Letters", Sermons Preached and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.