Teenside Daily Devotional

Read Matthew 9:1-8.

Jesus entered Capernaum, “his own city”, after crossing the Sea of Galilee. A paralytic is carried to him by a few people. Notice that Jesus saw “their” faith. Jesus doesn’t simply acknowledge the faith of the paralytic himself, he looks to those who carry him. Seeing their collective faith, he responds by forgiving the man’s sins. Why would he do this first? After all, these people most likely brought the paralytic to Jesus to be physically healed! Not only that, but many in the room question whether Jesus even has such authority.

The quick answer is to say that Jesus chose to give the better gift first. This is true! The forgiveness of sins is what allows us to draw near to God, as well as what will allow us to enter heaven one day. There is no gift better than grace. However, I believe that Jesus was being intentional here. We know that Jesus wasn’t foolish. He knew how his forgiving sins would be received since he was familiar with the OT scriptures, yet he did it anyway. The scribes didn’t even say anything out loud! He was reading their faces and body language the entire time. And when Jesus wants to prove a point, he doesn’t hesitate. He made a claim (that he had authority to forgive sins), and then he proved it (by healing the man’s paralysis). This clearly had more impact than if he had reversed the order, as the crowds were rightfully fearful of the authority that God had given to Jesus.

The one thing that you need to learn, or to be reminded of, in this story is that Jesus does have the authority to forgive your sins, and he will if you put your faith in him instead of yourself or the world. Each day, we should thank God for how different our lives look once He has washed our sins away. If they remained, we would have no hope. But thanks to His unending grace, we do!

*Take a moment to journal these questions. Write down your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Then date your entry. One of the coolest things is being able to look back and see how God came through for you.*

  1. Think again about the order Jesus chose to heal the man. When you are asking Jesus to work in your life, which do you ask for first? Do you ask for Him to create a clean and new heart within you or do you ask him for physical things? 
(Not that it is wrong to ask for physical things– but when we look at Jesus’ example, we see that He heals both physical & spiritual, but the spiritual takes precedence.)

  1. When Jesus acts counter culturally, He is very intentional. What we need to remember is that He is not a God of chaos, but of order. He doesn’t create conflict for the sake of dissension. He creates conflict to stir our hearts to move. This man was physically stuck. He sought a physical healing for his condition. What he didn’t know, was that he was spiritually stuck too. The only cure was to be forgiven for his sins, which would end up bringing more freedom to his life than being able to walk. What is (or has) Jesus calling (called) out in your life that makes you uncomfortable? Could He be trying to bring freedom to your life that you may have otherwise not known? 

  1. Read Psalm 51:6-10 & Psalm 139:23-24. Meditate on these scriptures. Are you spiritually stuck? What could it mean for your life if you let God, use any means He deemed necessary to, create a clean heart within you? What freedom is He offering to you?

Prayer: Spend some time praying about the things you journaled. Ask Jesus to show you what He wants to call out in your life. As you make room for Him to do whatever necessary to create a clean heart within you, ask that He would reveal the freedom He’s wanting to call you into. Spend some time thanking Jesus that he does not leave us paralyzed, but calls us to get up and walk.

Song: Rattle- Elevation Worship
***This is one of my favorites right now!! If you haven’t heard it, go give it a listen.***

Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/169Fs68hROYRdS362T8D9w

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