Key Verse: Matthew 9:6
Big Idea: Jesus performed His miracles to demonstrate His royal authority.
The beginning of Matthew 9 gives us an incredible picture of the authority of Jesus. A paralyzed man was brought to Jesus on a stretcher, desperate for help. Jesus looked at him, but did not heal him right away. Instead, He said “I see your faith – and I forgive your sins.”
Two things stand out about this: Jesus not healing and Jesus forgiving. Jesus not healing shows priority. The heart is much more important than the body. Jesus forgiving shows authority. God is the one who will judge us for our sins, and so only God can take them away.
The Pharisees respond correctly, if Jesus is not God, how can He claim to forgive sins? Jesus then demonstrates that He truly is God, by commanding the man to rise up and be healed. While the prophets of old might have healed, but this was different. When Jesus forgave the man, and then performed a miracle, this was God’s proof that Jesus was truly His Son.
The people marveled, but did not recognize that He is God. Instead, they marvel that God have such power to human beings. Pharisees understand, but do not worship. Only those who are truly Jesus’ disciples will do both - recognize who He is and accept Him.
How do the Pharisees explain away this miracle that they see? We do not find out until the end of the chapter, when they claim that He casts out demons by the power of the Devil. They know He has power, but do not recognize His legitimate authority. They do not recognize the King.
Discussion idea: Do you think there was any miracle Jesus could do which would have persuaded the Pharisees? Why? Can a miracle convince a skeptic today?
Prayer focus: Pray that we will not see God’s blessings for their own sake, but will see them as pointers to God’s heart.