And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. 2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:1–2 (ESV)
Returning to our study in the Gospel of Matthew, today we continue examining Jesus’ healing of a paralytic. Following the incidents Matthew recorded in the previous chapter, Jesus continued His healing ministry; indicating that He was the promised Messiah fulfilling Isaiah 61:1-2. Both the Gospels of Mark and Luke refer to this miracle (Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26).
Jesus returned to Capernaum from Gadara (Mathew 8:28-34). It was at that time that some people brought to Jesus a paralytic. Matthew does not reveal the extent of the paralysis other than the man was lying on a bed. Mark and Luke’s Gospel provide more information about this event.
“And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:1–5 (ESV)
17 “On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. 18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, 19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” (Luke 5:17–20 (ESV)
All three synoptic Gospels record the phrase, “And when Jesus saw their faith.” Jesus personally and perceptively understood these men. He comprehended that they were men of faith. They were displaying a trust, commitment, dependence and a worship of Jesus Christ. This was seen by their actions of getting their friend to Jesus, in spite of the crowd.
The Gospels of Mark and Luke are especially helpful on this point. Both evangelists describe the four men removing the roof tiles and lowering the paralytic through the opening in the roof. They sat him down into the midst of the crowd and before Jesus. Their persistent action evidenced their persistent faith.
Perhaps the faith Jesus referred to was of the four men (Mark 2:3). Or it may have included the paralytic. The word there is a plural, genitive pronoun. It means that the faith this group possessed was their own faith and not someone else’s.
“None of the Evangelists indicates that either the bearers or the patient asked for healing. Not a word from them is recorded; the plight of the man and what they looked for from Jesus were obvious enough without words. Jesus saw their faith,” explains commentator Leon Morris.
May Jesus see our faith in Him today. May those who we come into contact with do as well.
Soli deo Gloria!