Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –
I hope your Monday morning finds you resting and restoring after a weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world.
Here’s a verse from Matthew for you to think about today:
Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed.
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic,
“Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” (Matthew 9:2)
The man was obviously paralyzed, yet Jesus didn’t speak first to his leg problem. Jesus spoke first to the man’s sin problem. After telling the man to take courage (be of good cheer), Jesus pronounced his sins as forgiven.
Here is something worth remembering as we do our work and proclaim God’s word: don’t forget their sin problem.
Sometimes we would rather not talk about sin. It seems old-fashioned and unpopular. It often seems that always being positive and pleasant is better rewarded. People don’t like being reminded of their sin.
Yet, we are servants of our Master, Jesus Christ – and He knew the importance of dealing with the sin problem. Jesus addressed the man’s greater problem. As bad as it is to be paralyzed, it is infinitely worse to be bound and lost in your sin.
The old Puritan commentator Matthew Poole saw six reasons why Jesus dealt with the man’s sin first. To paraphrase Poole’s reasons why the sin was dealt with first:
- Because sin is the root from which all our evils come.
- Because forgiveness is more important than bodily healing.
- Because the most important thing Jesus came to do was to deal with sin.
- Because when a man’s sins are forgiven, he comes into relationship with God.
- Because God forgives sin in response to faith.
- Because it began an important conversation with the religious leaders.
Dear friend serving the Lord, as you speak to others in your work for Him, don’t forget to address the problem of sin – and more importantly, God’s solution to the problem in Jesus Christ.
In Jesus’ Name – David Guzik