Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | April 20, 2018

“But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God”

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 9:1-8.

“Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the sea and came to His own city.

And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed.  Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son;  your sins are forgiven.”  And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.”  And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’?  But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He *said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.”  And he got up and went home.  But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.”  Matthew 9:1-8.

———————

This story of the paralytic man reminds us of the Reformed Doctrine of salvation.

The paralytic man did not appear to have done good works that would earn him forgiveness.  He was a paralytic.

The paralytic man also did not appear to have faith that Jesus would forgive his sins.  At best, the paralytic man and those who brought him had faith that Jesus could heal him, but they did not have faith that Jesus would forgive him.

The paralytic man reminds us of our condition:  “Total Depravity”, the “T” of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  We did no works nor had faith nor had other attractiveness that motivated God to save us.

The wise and strong men, the scribes, who appeared worthy of salvation, accused Jesus of blasphemy.

But, the weak and maybe foolish man, the paralytic man, was chosen to be healed and forgiven.

The healing and forgiveness of the paralytic man reminds us of “Unconditional Election”, the “U” of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  “… God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:27-31.

“even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:5-9.

The healing and forgiveness of the paralytic man also reminds us that God provides all that we need for body and soul as we confess in the Question and Answer 26 of the Heidelberg Catechism:  “… I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body …”.

Instead of worrying so much about the scribes in our life, the wise and strong men who are offended by predestination and “Unconditional Election”, we should be like the crowd.  “But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God …”  Verse 8.


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