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Jesus of Nazareth, more than a man!

Rev Enoch Thompson | March 14, 2023 | Matthew 9:1-8

KEY VERSE:

“Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’” Matthew 9:2 (NIV)


MESSAGE:

In our text today the Lord Jesus heals a paralytic man, as part of the healing narratives of chapters 8 and 9 of Matthew. Suffice it to say that the healing itself is very spectacular, but we must also observe that Matthew develops another level of teaching through the narrative of the healing of the paralytic. Matthew was answering the question of the identity of the man Jesus. He was answering the question that had come up earlier, after the calming of the storm, “The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!" Matthew 8:27 (NIV), the question which would come up with His powerful preaching and teaching (Matthew 13:53-57).


The Lord takes the discussion of the question of faith to another level. It was clear that the men who brought the paralytic had faith, for He saw their faith. It was however necessary to clarify in whom they were placing their faith, and who was bringing the solution they were seeking. Desperate people and religious humans have faith and may even find themselves in the very midst of Christian activity and commitment. But in whom do we believe when we say we believe in Jesus Christ? Is it the belief in another psychic, seer, healer, miracle worker or prophet? This fundamental question must be asked and answered by anyone of us who wants to be a true beneficiary of the Kingdom of God, saved from the reign and power of Satan and made into a true child of God.


The Lord deliberately approaches the healing of the sick man by offering to forgive his sins. This certainly raised concerns among the very religious and knowledgeable teachers of the Jewish law; because they were very aware that the forgiveness of sins is a work of God which no ordinary human should presume to be able to do. They therefore concluded in their minds, in verse 3, that “"This fellow is blaspheming!” NIV.


Having known their thoughts the Lord confronts them with what He had been doing, claiming to forgive the sins of the paralytic instead of just performing a miracle on him. Claiming to forgive sins was going to raise controversy and opposition, and an accusation of blasphemy as had just happened, (which had the punishment of death by stoning). On the other hand, a claim to have healed the paralytic, if it proved to be ineffective would only be a failure to achieve something he pretended to achieve. It was easier to pretend to be a healer than to pretend to be God.


And then, to drive home His point, to show that He was aware of the more serious claims He was making to the effect that He was God, He makes the lesser claim of healer and by a word, causes the man to receive instant healing from his paralysis. When you hear people say that Jesus never claimed to be God, ask them to read the Bible carefully, and they will see everywhere that Jesus Christ of Nazareth affirmed His identity of being more than a mere miracle-worker; He was God Himself among His people as He had promised through the prophets.


FEET AND HANDS FOR THE MESSAGE:

Who is Jesus Christ of Nazareth to you? In our desire to be citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven let us resolve once and for all the question of the identity of the One we are following. Jesus of Nazareth is more than an ordinary Jewish carpenter. He is God Himself in human form to bring about our salvation through His holy blood when He died on the cross. Let us like Thomas in John 20:28 fall on our knees and declare, “My Lord and my God.”


PRAYER:

Jesus, my Lord and my God, I acknowledge you for who you truly are. More than a mere mortal, God Himself in human form. To identify with me, and to be my perfect saving substitute, you took on human form. Please help me to follow you closely and to represent you accurately. For your dear Name’s sake, Amen.


THERE SHALL BE SHOWERS OF BLESSING.

SHOWERS! BLESSINGS!!

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The Baptist Daily Devotional is a collection of God-inspired messages that will help you grow in your faith and walk with Christ. Each day, you will find a scripture passage, a reflection, a prayer and a challenge to apply God's word to your life. The devotional is written by pastors and leaders of the Ghana Baptist Convention, who share their insights and experiences from serving God in various contexts and ministries. For example, you will learn how to trust God in times of trouble, how to share the gospel with others, how to pray effectively, how to deal with temptation, how to handle conflict and more. Whether you are a new believer or a mature Christian, the Baptist Daily Devotional will inspire you, encourage you and equip you to live for God's glory.
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