Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Journey in Matthew 9, via my own heart

“Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” (9:2, Jesus, to the paralytic man)

      I wonder what the paralytic man thought of that. Did he understand that Jesus was in that moment displaying Himself as The Son of God? Did the man know that this was his deepest need? Did he realize that he had just been given open access relationally to God in the flesh? He had just been invited into fellowship with the Holy One, God Himself! Did he even have a clue?
      I can picture myself as the paralytic man. In that moment, still lying on the mat, legs still unrenewed, completely unaware of the miracle taking place in the spirit, thinking “Dude, that’s nice…but are you gonna do something about my legs?”
      How would I respond if I was that man? Would I see the treasure of forgiveness for what it is? Would I be able to receive it? What are the things that I’m bringing before the Lord, asking Him to do for me, that may be stealing my focus from what He really wants to do in me?

“…that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins…” (9:6)

      I think I’ve typically read this like “that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins…”. The emphasis has been on the power. He does have power. And I do need a revelation of what that means. But in seeing His power in a different light, I think a foundational reality has somehow dimmed…that this power is unto the forgiveness of sins.
      Like a paralyzed man caring more about his legs than his soul, I come to the Lord longing for His hand in my life, yielding tangible change and “results”. I am all too aware of my weakness. I know I need forgiveness. I yearn to be washed of my sin. But is that longing for forgiveness unto restored relationship? Do I want to be free from sin so that I can engage my heart fully with the Holy Spirit? Or am I longing for an unburdened heart so that I can get on with my business more efficiently, unhindered by the consequences of sin? Am I seeking intimacy, or functionality?

“...a ruler came and worshipped Him, saying “My daughter has just died, 
but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.” (9:18)

      In considering the story of the paralytic man, and my own tendency to seek Jesus’ power in my life for my own benefit, I am tempted to squelch that desire for evident power. Like some sort of twisted means to, by the flesh, force my flesh to submit to the Spirit. As though denying the evidence of power would somehow purify my desire for God, because I would be simply walking in the Spirit for Himself, without the possibility of my own benefit.
      But here, just a few verses later, my religious attempt at self-righteous purity of heart is exposed. Here, the ruler comes to Jesus, seeking the healing of His daughter. And this seeking, this asking for tangible power to be made manifest, is described as “{he} came and worshipped Him.”

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