Daily Word

Faith for Forgiveness first | Matthew 9:2-8

2 And they brought to Him a paralyzed man lying on a stretcher. And seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man who was paralyzed, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming!”

4 And Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He *said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, pick up your stretcher and go home.” 7 And he got up and went home. 8 But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

Matthew 9:2-8 (NASB)

Another challenge

Jesus surely doesn’t need to look for challenges and opportunities for ministry. They seem to spring up like lettuce – though we know from yesterday that The Father is preparing each one. This one has an interesting mix of characters and challenges. We have the men who brought the man to Jesus and demonstrated faith. Then the man himself who says nothing but, obeys Jesus’ command and is healed. And, of course, the scribes, the spiritual party poopers.

Focus on faith

Of course Jesus was addressing the scribes and their misunderstanding of His authority and power to forgive sins. As I read it, I wondered about the faith component. Can the faith of one person affect another; doesn’t the person need their own faith? Did this man have faith to be healed? We know you need faith to be healed. What about the scribes? Let’s look at each of the three.

Faith of the friends

The guys who brought the man to Jesus (likely friends or family) believed that Jesus could heal him – even one who could not walk. Did their faith affect the situation? Verse 2 says, “seeing their faith”, which could imply so. “The faith of the paralyzed man’s friends did something – they brought this man to Jesus.” (enduringword.com)

Faith of the man

Now for the man. Did he demonstrate faith? He didn’t say a word and Jesus doesn’t comment about it. Look again. Jesus first pronounces his sins are forgiven. He has no reaction. When Jesus commands him to get up and go home, this paralyzed man obeys. And he is healed. It seems like the healing occurred as he got up but it’s not clear. I assume so, and he obeyed in faith.

Faith of the scribes

Everyone was expecting Jesus to first heal the man. But when He first forgave His sins, the scribes got stuck on that. Jesus knew what they (and maybe everyone else) was thinking. Most everyone probably already believed Jesus could heal the man and just wanted to be amazed. But the scribes, actually, probably didn’t – especially since they were stuck on forgiveness.

Faith for Forgiveness first

Why does Jesus “throw them a curve”, so to speak, and pronounce forgiveness first? Mainly, He sees the opportunity to let the crowd (and scribes) know that He has power not just to heal but to forgive sins. They were focusing on physical healing, but what’s more important? It matters not if someone is physically or emotionally healed if they aren’t spiritually healed of the eternally deadly effect of sin. 

I confess, as I reviewed the account, I glossed over the fact that it takes faith to believe Christ can forgive sins! That’s an even more amazing miracle!


  • Do you trust Christ to save you from your sins? To restore the relationship with the Father which you have broken by rejecting Him? To bring you back to your original purpose and joy in life and to even eternal life? If you want to learn more about salvation click here.
  • Follower of Jesus, what do you find yourself focusing on in this account? Did you also gloss over the miracle of forgiveness? What is the Spirit of God teaching you and bringing to your remembrance (John 14:26)? Act on it.
Handicapped man on mat. Image from savioursfoundation.org *

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