And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. 2 Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. 3 Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. 4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.
5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”
6 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8 But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, 11 “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 12 Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
These men demonstrated true faith through action. Many times people may say they believe, but without action it is simply empty words. If we truly have faith it will be backed up with action. It will drive the things that we do. When these men heard that Jesus was in this area they went to whatever lengths possible to reach Jesus with their friend.
Jesus was preaching the gospel. Jesus would proclaim the truth of the kingdom and as people heard they were cut to their hearts by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. When this man lay at the feet of Jesus, Jesus saw his faith. Jesus saw that this man truly believed that He was the Messiah. This is what is required for forgiveness and salvation to believe upon Jesus Christ as the Son of God, as God Almighty.
When the religious leaders heard Jesus say to the man that his sins are forgiven they could not believe it. In their minds God is the only one who could forgive sins and if Jesus was claiming to forgive this man’s sins, He was equating Himself with God which in their minds would be blaspheme.
But Jesus was indeed able to forgive sins and to demonstrate that He was indeed God, with a simple word the man was immediately healed. Jesus didn’t lay His hands on the man and spend time wrestling with the issue. Jesus simply spoke to the man to rise and walk. Because the man had faith in Jesus as the Messiah, he responded by faith at the word of Jesus.
Sometimes we desire that God would work a miracle in our situation. But the question is are we responding by faith in the word of God. When the word of God is preached or we spend time studying, are we building our lives and our decisions upon the truth of God’s word. It is faith in Jesus Christ and responding in faith to the word of God that brings forth and releases the power of God into the earth.
Is God still working miracles today? The answer is yes. Has God changed? The answer is no. But may we draw near to Him. May we build our lives upon the truth of scripture and not the wisdom of man. May our eyes be fully fixed upon Jesus and not the circumstances or problems that we face.
13 Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.
15 Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
This account begins with Jesus teaching the people. Jesus was continually teaching about His kingdom during His earthly ministry. But now we see that as Jesus walks by the tax booth of Levi, He calls Levi to follow Him. The disciples who were currently following Jesus would think this was insane. Most likely some of them at first would have great disdain towards Levi also known as Matthew. Because the tax collectors were Jews who worked for Rome and took advantage of their own people for their own selfish gain.
But here we see that Jesus says He must have dinner with Matthew. Matthew holds a party at his house with fellow sinners and tax collectors. These would be people that the religious leaders would see as untouchable. But Jesus came to seek and save the lost. This was a perfect opportunity.
When the religious leaders object to Jesus having dinner with them, Jesus makes a statement that it is not the well who need a doctor but the sick. Sin is a sickness that impacts the entire human race. Every person born on this earth is born into sin. There is only one who can set us free from our sin and His name is Jesus.
Jesus knew these people were sinful, but Jesus knows that He is the only one who can change the life of an individual. When we come to Christ we are given a brand new life and a fresh start. But we must build our lives on the word of God and the truth of scripture to understand who we are in Christ. In Christ our lives are a blank canvas and no matter what others may say about us or even judge us, we must remember that ultimately our lives are in the hands of Almighty God and through faith in Christ our sins are forgiven and we are declared righteous.
18 The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”
19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”
Jesus is questioned by the disciples of John the baptist and the Pharisees why His disciples didn’t fast. Jesus used language that was very familiar to the relationship of Israel with Almighty God. Jesus referred to Himself as the bridegroom. Throughout Israel’s history they would often be changed by God for spiritual adultery because they would often abandon the worship of the one true God for the worship of idols made of stone and wood.
But Jesus also brings up a point about wineskins and sewing cloth on a garment. If you sow a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, when it comes time to wash the garment the piece sowed on will pull away and will not work. When you try to put new wine into old wineskins the new wine will actually burst the old wineskin because the old wineskin is hard and rigid.
What Jesus is pointing to is the new covenant He is establishing through His life and His shed blood. The old covenant was being fulfilled by Christ. Jesus lived as a Jew under the demands of the law. Jesus at no time during His life on earth broke any part of the law. Jesus has made a way through His shed blood for forgiveness and us being brought into relationship with Almighty God.
Through Christ we have nothing to fear, but we can come to the throne of grace with confidence. The religious leaders added onto the demands of the law with their traditions making it nearly impossible for those who desired to follow God. But Jesus came to set the captive free. Jesus called all those who were weary and heavy laden to find rest in Him.
This is why no matter where a person comes from, if they will surrender their life to Jesus, they can be used by God and will find healing and restoration. Jesus has paid the price and done all the work. What He has provided through His life and shed blood is the greatest gift any of us can receive. He has paid a debt that is impossible to pay on our part.
23 Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
25 But He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him: 26 how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?”
27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
God instituted the Sabbath as a day of rest. It was to be holy and set apart unto God and the Jews were called to no work on the Sabbath. The disciples were walking through the grain field and as they walked they picked the heads of grain to fulfill the need of hunger. It wasn’t that they were working, but simply needed something to eat.
The Pharisees were blinded by their own pride and also had elevated the traditions of the elders above the word of God. They placed demands on people that God never did. Jesus makes the statement that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Man is God’s highest creation and He cares about the smallest of needs in our lives.
The need for rest and connect with God is paramount in our relationship with God. Today on this side of the cross we can draw near to God at any moment. Throughout the course of the day, we can spend time with Him and speak with Him. Our Father in Heaven hears us and He meets our every need.
But what would have truly caught the attention of the religious leaders is when Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man and being Lord of the harvest. He was claiming that He was the Messiah that was foretold and not only that but He was equating Himself with God. All of this were true statements, but in the eyes of the Pharisees it sounds simply like blaspheme.
When we follow Christ and live according to His word and build our lives upon it, we will be hated in this world. But building our lives upon Jesus Christ is an unshakable foundation. The importance of rest cannot be overstated in the life of any believer. We need to have balance to our lives and trust God that He will meet our every need. When He is the number one thing that we pursue, everything in our lives will come into alignment.