Matthew 9:1-5
Mat 9:1 (KJB)
And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
After they requested Jesus to leave, He entered into a ship and crossed over the Sea of Galilee unto Capernaum. Capernaum was where Jesus had stayed for a year while He undertook His Galilean ministry. In that time if anyone had resided in a city for a year, they would consider it their city by claiming citizenship in that city and referring to it as “their own” as Jesus did. In this chapter we will see the opposition to Jesus begin to increase.
Mat 9:2 (KJB)
And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
It did not take long for the word to spread that Jesus was back in Capernaum. Some friends of a paralytic had placed him on a bed and brought him to Jesus. If you notice a very important statement in this verse “and Jesus seeing their faith,” meant that the friends had enough faith in Jesus to bring their friend knowing that He could heal him. This is one of the things that Jesus looks for in the life of all His children and that is a living faith. What good is it if we claim to have faith in God and then do nothing to show that we have that faith? That would not even be a testimony but when we act on that faith, it shows we have a living faith in a living God. Then Jesus says something which probably stunned the people. The friends brought him to Jesus for physical healing but something greater happened than temporary healing and that was the eternal healing of his soul through salvation. The one who will be judge on the last day has just forgiven the sins of this sick man. This is also a picture of Election. The man did not ask for salvation nor was that even on the mind of his friends, yet this paralyzed man being one of the Elect of God was given salvation because it was his time of visitation. This is why Jesus told him to be of good cheer because his soul was now cleansed of all sin.
Mat 9:3 (KJB)
And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
The scribes who were in attendance now accuse Jesus of blasphemy, of course, they said it within themselves and not out loud. They knew that God was the only one who was allowed to forgive sin. They could have seen Jesus as a prophet but the scribes had believed that prophetic ministry had ceased or that Jesus was claiming to be God. They had despised Jesus and that is why they spoke of Him as “this man” which would be speaking only of His humanity and not His deity.
Mat 9:4 (KJB)
And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
Here should have been the answer to whom they were dealing with. Only God could know the inner thoughts of a man and here Jesus is pointing out the fact that they were thinking evil in their hearts toward Him. They should have realized that Jesus was more than a mere man when He showed He had the ability to read the hearts of man. He poses the question to them which should have shocked them because how could a mere man know the thoughts of another?
Mat 9:5 (KJB)
For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
Here Jesus asks them a question which has only two possible answers. The first answer is that to God, it is very easy to heal a sickened body and to heal the soul by forgiving all their sins. The second answer would be the opposite. To a mere human being, it would be impossible for that person to do either. How can a sick or paralyzed person heal their physical body or how can a sinner cleanse their own soul? It is an impossibility on both. So to answer the question. If they say He is just a man, then what happens next will prove them wrong. If they say he is God, then what He does next will confirm that analysis. So they are caught between two answers which would cause their belief system much trouble.