God’s Faithful Word of Life
Matthew 9:1-17: Jesus heals a paralyzed man by forgiving his sins, and the teachers of the Law accuse Jesus of blasphemy. Jesus calls Matthew, a tax collector, to be one of his disciples. Followers of John the Baptist approach Jesus and question him about fasting.
Today's Scripture: Matthew 9:6a
[Jesus said]: “I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
(Mark 2.1-12; Luke 5.17-26)
1Jesus got into the boat and went back across the lake to his own town, 2where some people brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a bed. When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the paralyzed man, “Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven.”
3Then some teachers of the Law said to themselves, “This man is speaking blasphemy!”
4Jesus perceived what they were thinking, and so he said, “Why are you thinking such evil things?5Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?6I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, pick up your bed, and go home!”
7The man got up and went home.8When the people saw it, they were afraid, and praised God for giving such authority to people.
Jesus Calls Matthew
(Mark 2.13-17; Luke 5.27-32)
9Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, he saw a tax collector, named Matthew, sitting in his office. He said to him, “Follow me.”
Matthew got up and followed him.
10 While Jesus was having a meal in Matthew's house, many tax collectors and other outcasts came and joined Jesus and his disciples at the table.11Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such people?”
12Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick.13 Go and find out what is meant by the scripture that says: ‘It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.’ I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.”
The Question about Fasting
(Mark 2.18-22; Luke 5.33-39)
14Then the followers of John the Baptist came to Jesus, asking, “Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples don't fast at all?”
15Jesus answered, “Do you expect the guests at a wedding party to be sad as long as the bridegroom is with them? Of course not! But the day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
16“No one patches up an old coat with a piece of new cloth, for the new patch will shrink and make an even bigger hole in the coat.17Nor does anyone pour new wine into used wineskins, for the skins will burst, the wine will pour out, and the skins will be ruined. Instead, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins, and both will keep in good condition.”
Sin occurs when people rebel against God and disobey God’s Law. The Law of Moses taught that sins could be taken away by the sacrifice of a young goat on the Day of Atonement (see Leviticus 16:1-22). In Jesus’ day, the teachers of the Law taught that only God could forgive sins. How did the teachers react when Jesus told the paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven?
What was Jesus’ response? What does today’s reading teach you about Jesus?
Lord Jesus, you have called me to be your disciple. Through you I have received forgiveness of my sins and life everlasting. As I seek your will for my life, strengthen my spirit and fill me with your everlasting love. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Matthew 9:18-38: Jesus continues healing people throughout Galilee.