By Allen White
Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man. Matthew 9:1-8
For the teachers of the law, Jesus’ miracles pushed the limits of reason. They debated how He could heal or cast out demons. Either Jesus was a clever showman or a child of Satan (Matthew 9:34), because He certainly didn’t fit into their category of “Son of God.” Then, Jesus crossed the line.
Before He healed the paralyzed man, Jesus forgave his sins. According to the teachers of the law, Jesus didn’t have authority to do this. He broke their rules, unless He actually was the Son of God. But, He couldn’t be, according to them.
It’s odd that these religious leaders could write off Jesus’ miracles as being satanically motivated and empowered – they could live with that. But, a living, breathing person performing God’s will and forgiving sins – this broke the rules. They wouldn’t stand for this. It was blasphemy. And, that’s exactly what it would have been, except that Jesus is exactly Who He claims to be.
No one could see whether the man’s sins were indeed forgiven. But, they did see him stand, pick up his mat and walk. There was no doubt about that.
Sometimes we fall into the trap of these teachers of the law. We expect God to work in our lives in certain ways. We think God will work like He always has. We know that He’s always there for us. We know that God answers prayer. We know that God has the power. But, we limit what we think God can do.
We want God to work in familiar ways. “Last time I was in a situation like this, God did _____________.” So, we flip the “God switch” for our situation only to discover that God isn’t necessarily connected to a switch. If God could be controlled, then He would be limited to what we thought and understood. But, God is beyond our control, and that makes us nervous.
God doesn’t have to fit into our expectations. He can exceed them. God doesn’t have to play by the rules. He made them, so He can break them. God doesn’t need to recycle His will for us. He has a new thing.
As A.B. Simpson once said, “Do we know the power of our supernatural weapon? Do we dare to use it with the authority of a faith that commands as well as asks? God baptize us with holy audacity and Divine confidence! He is not wanting great men, but He is wanting men who will dare to prove the greatness of their God. But God! But prayer!”
When was the last time God truly blew your mind? While you should never be surprised that God answers prayer, you should always be amazed at His work.
What are you asking God for, but not getting an answer? Are you asking too narrowly? Are you giving God any room for creativity? God’s work done God’s way reaps God’s reward. Don’t get in His way.
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