Matthew 9:1-2 says this, “Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the Sea of Galilee and came to His own city. “And they brought to Him a paralyzed man lying on a stretcher. And seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man who was paralyzed, ‘Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.'”
Here, again, Jesus reveals how deeply He cares about the trusting belief of those who come to Him for help. He is impressed by the faith of the people who brought their paralyzed friend. We know from Mark (Mark 2:1–12) and Luke (Luke 5:17–26) that these friends went to extremes to get the man in front of Jesus. The house Jesus was in was packed with people listening to Him teach. The friends climbed up on the house, removed some of the roof, and lowered their friend, still on his bed, down through the hole to put him in front of Jesus (Mark 2:4).
Jesus, responding to their faith, tells the man to “take heart.” This is from the Greek root term tharseō, the same word used when Jesus reassured the disciples as He walked on water (Mark 6:50) and when encouraging believers to endure under persecution (John 16:33). The reason for this remark is probably related to the next thing Jesus mentions: the man’s sins.
We’ll get into this tomorrow.
This is unusual among all the reports of Jesus’ healings. Instead of healing the man immediately, Jesus first addresses his sin. That suggests that in this case, the man’s physical condition was connected to his personal sinful choices. Christ’s suggestion that the man “take heart” might have been a way of addressing his shame or embarrassment. Of course, sin is not the immediate cause of every injury or illness (John 9:1–3). This time, though, Jesus recognized the man’s sin as a more urgent need than his paralysis.
As expected, this statement is met with controversy from the local religious leaders.
Once again, faith and trust are a very large part of this story. Jesus proves over and over again that faith and trust are the things that He looks for in those who are following Him.