A Friend's Faith
September 8, 2020
And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, My son; your sins are forgiven" (Matthew 9:2).
How powerful is a person’s faith in Jesus Christ? We often think of faith as affecting self - like the leper in Matthew 8:1-4, or the woman with the blood problem in Matthew 9:20-22. But faith also reaches out on behalf of others. I know many of us are intercessors for others, and I personally thank you for your prayers for me, my family, and our ministry together.
We have before us an example of the power of faith when it is exercised on behalf of others. This is a well known story of a paralyzed man whose friends took him to see Jesus. This same account is recorded in Mark 2:3-12 and Luke 5:18-26 with some added details.
This is the faith of five men - a paralyzed man and his four friends. They all had confidence in the power and willingness of Jesus to intervene in this desperate case. But what is revealing is not just the healing of a man’s physical body, but of his whole body - mind, spirit, soul, affections, and flesh.
Jesus looked at their faith. He took into account the measure of their faith. He saw the genuineness, the sincerity, the purity, the determination of their faith to get their friend to Him, knowing only He could heal the man. But Jesus’ response to the situation was not what was expected. "Take heart, My son; your sins are forgiven.” What’s that all about?
Jesus came into our sinful world to heal the whole person. But He first and foremost came to save those who will acknowledge their need of salvation and put their trust in Him. As the Son of God, He has authority to forgive sin, which strikes at the root of diseases and either cures or alters their effect on a person. Whether or not He chooses to heal a man’s disease is only secondary to healing a man’s soul. In salvation a man can live with cancer or heart disease and ultimately be made whole in the Kingdom that is to come. Without salvation, a man can have neither.
True faith in Jesus Christ heals the soul and saves the sinner. True faith in Jesus Christ may heal the body, but only if Jesus wills to do so. If not, His grace is sufficient for us, for His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
“Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank You, Lord, for making me whole. Thank You, Lord, for giving to me Thy great salvation so rich and free. Amen.”