Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to his own town. 2 Some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven.” 3 But some of the teachers of religious law said to themselves, “That’s blasphemy! Does he think he’s God?”
4 Jesus knew[a] what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? 6 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man[b] has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
7 And the man jumped up and went home! 8 Fear swept through the crowd as they saw this happen. And they praised God for sending a man with such great authority.[c]
Jesus, You seem to speaking right to me, and of course You are. I have been spiritually and mentally paralyzed by sin so often. I still am. My guilt is forever before me. Yet You don’t want me to be paralyzed. You want me healed and moving. Your words struck my heart: “Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven.”
Can anything be more amazing! My sins are all truly wiped away! Jesus, where does a love like Yours come from? It is more than I can comprehend. Why would You ever forgive me? Thank You so much. I can never repay You or honor You enough!
And then You add: “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” You don’t want me lying around unable to help myself or others. You want me up and active. You want me to carry my mat instead of it carrying me. You want me to “go home”. Home for me now, thanks to You, is Your kingdom. No more lying around in my sins. It is time to get up and start the walk though this foreign land, into Your Kingdom.
Jesus Calls Matthew
9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
Jesus, can it be that simple? You call, help me to just get up and follow! Why do I so often not follow, and even walk into what I know will lead me to sin? When will I simply trust you, as Matthew did, and just get up and follow? Jesus, why do I struggle so much? Your presence to Matthew must I so dramatically changed Him because he left is livelihood and old ways behind with a single invitation from You.
Jesus, I know I have missed many invitations to follow You. Please don’t stop inviting me. Call me again when I stray. Help me to follow You today and every day. Please Lord, keep me close.
10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?[d]”
12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’[e] For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Jesus, You, God and creator of the universe, did not spurn sinners, but sought them out. I am so glad, because that is how You found me! But so often I have been more like the Pharisees in this story than like You. How often have I turned by back on someone because I thought they were so bad, and in effect I turned my back on You?
Lord, I think of things I said about people in the past and cringe. I have so often been a hypocrite! Who could need saving more than me! And still today, am I missing You because I am with the wrong crowd?
Jesus change my heart. Help me to be with You, and whoever You are with. Use me, if You will, to reach the “sick”. Help me to never again think I am too “good” to be with anyone. Lord, help me walk with You.
A Discussion about Fasting
14 One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast[f] like we do and the Pharisees do?” 15 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
16 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.
17 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”
Jesus, don’t just patch my life, but make me a new life. Make me a new wineskin for Your new wine. I don’t want to be the old person I was with some of my problems fixed, I wan to be a new person. Thank-you Jesus, for making us entirely new is exactly what You are all about. Thank-you for making that so clear in Your Word.
Now Jesus, I do again give myself to You. All of me. All my faults and my problems and my sins. Change me and make me completely new. And Lord, if now is my time to fast, let me know. If it is, give me the strength to do a proper and glory-giving fast. If it is not, help me to celebrate with the groom – You!
Jesus Heals in Response to Faith
18 As Jesus was saying this, the leader of a synagogue came and knelt before him. “My daughter has just died,” he said, “but you can bring her back to life again if you just come and lay your hand on her.”
Jesus, how often will I make You bring hardships into my life just so I will come back to you? This man was a leader in the synagogue. He and his friends were strongly apposed to You. He may even have been among the Pharisees that plotted to kill You just a few verses ago. But tragedy brought him to You on his knees.
I have needed the same type of “slap in the face” to wake me up and bring me too You. Thank-you that You are willing to let us fall so we will let you pick us up. Lord, how often have others suffered because I strayed from You? Will I ever learn?
Thank-you Jesus for my hardships. Like exercise, they have made me stronger by making me more dependent on Your strength. Keep me close to You so others don’t need to suffer because I have strayed. I know that hardships will continue. Use them and me for Your glory Lord. Your will be done. Change me Lord. Change me.
19 So Jesus and his disciples got up and went with him. 20 Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, 21 for she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”
22 Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
23 When Jesus arrived at the official’s home, he saw the noisy crowd and heard the funeral music. 24 “Get out!” he told them. “The girl isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” But the crowd laughed at him. 25 After the crowd was put outside, however, Jesus went in and took the girl by the hand, and she stood up! 26 The report of this miracle swept through the entire countryside.
Jesus, why do I give up so easily? This woman bled for 12 years! They were already singing the funeral songs! After all of this, surely these people were hopeless. But they weren’t. You were there and with You came hope, and with hope came change.
Jesus, I sometimes feel like I will never be the person I know You want me to be. I seem unable to go more than a few hours without failing in some way. Sometimes I am so tempted to just give up and give in to all my worldly desires because I have lost all hope of ever getting past my faults and weaknesses. Help me Lord to know You are near. To hear Your Word and to find hope. Don’t let me give up Lord. You are my only hope and my only salvation. Keep me Lord.
Jesus Heals the Blind
27 After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” 28
“Yes, Lord,” they told him, “we do.”
29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” 30 Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.” 31 But instead, they went out and spread his fame all over the region.
32 When they left, a demon-possessed man who couldn’t speak was brought to Jesus. 33 So Jesus cast out the demon, and then the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed. “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!” they exclaimed.
34 But the Pharisees said, “He can cast out demons because he is empowered by the prince of demons.”
Jesus, You do so many good deeds in so many people’s lives, and yet the Pharisees tried to turn Your good to evil. Why couldn’t they just see the good? It is so obvious, but they are so blind.
Am I that blind sometimes Lord? Do I fail to see You doing good things around me? Do I see evil where it isn’t? I know I do Lord. How often have I failed to see You and Your good deeds in my own wife and my own children? Hundreds of time! Millions of times!
Jesus, it is so easy to throw stones at the Pharisees, but so often I am just like them. I think I can see, but I am often far more blind than the men You healed. They knew who You are and that You could heal them. Jesus, heal my blindness. Cast the evil from me. Help me come to Your house and find You and have faith in You. Change me Lord.
The Need for Workers
35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
Jesus, are You calling me to be a worker? I can’t Lord. “You can’t, or you won’t?” I am such a sinner. If I fall again, I would bring You such shame. You know me Lord, I am minutes from my next sin. How can I shepherd anyone? It was You Lord who said that if the blind lead the blind, they will both end up in a pit.
I will shepherd, and I will lead. I am not asking You to do that. But if I have chosen to give you some task, who are you to tell Me I am wrong? And if I give you a task, will I not enable you to complete it, if indeed I want you to complete it?
Ok Lord, I am Yours. But Lord, please change me so I don’t bring You shame. Shame me, but not You. Change me Lord.
- Matthew 9:4 Some manuscripts read saw.
- Matthew 9:6 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
- Matthew 9:8 Greek for giving such authority to human beings.
- Matthew 9:11 Greek with tax collectors and sinners?
- Matthew 9:13 Hos 6:6 (Greek version).
- Matthew 9:14 Some manuscripts read fast often.