Reverse the curse
Matthew 9:1-13 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the sea and came to His own city.
2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he got up and went home. 8 But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
9 As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.
10 Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
In the first part of today’s text Jesus equates His ability or authority to heal with His authority to forgive sin. While the scribes may not have been able to explain Jesus ability to heal, they thought it blasphemy for Him to forgive sins. Jesus says: “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” The text says: And he got up and went home. He went home healed and forgiven. Jesus purpose for coming as a man was for the forgiveness of sin. 1 Peter 3:18 says: For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. Jesus came to forgive sins; all sins past, present and future, including the original sin of Adam and Eve. Jesus equates healing and the forgiveness of sins, because sickness and disease is a result of sin. I am not saying that those who are sick or have a disability are that way because of their sinfulness, but that all sickness, disease and infirmities are a result of sin. It is a result of the curse of sin on and in the world brought on by the original sin.
God revealed His plan to reverse the curse of sin in the garden saying: “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” Jesus came to forgive sin, to redeem man from sinfulness. Through redemption we are also restored to what God intended. God did not create sickness and disease. They entered the world because of the fall, because of the curse of sin. When Jesus was on the cross, giving His life as a sacrifice for the sins of all, He said: “It is finished!” (John 19:30) Jesus finished work both redeemed man from sin and reversed the curse, restoring all of creation to the way God intended, the way He created it; with no sickness, disease or infirmity.
Why then do we see so much sickness, even among believers, those who have accepted Christ as their Savior and Redeemer? What Jesus did, the finished work of the cross, is complete in the spiritual realm. It is finished and complete in the heavenly realm. Surely all who believe in heaven, believe there will be no more sickness there. What we see and experience here on earth is that this physical realm, our world, has not yet become fully aligned with the realities of heaven. The work of restoration, while complete in the spiritual is incomplete in the natural. Jesus taught us to pray: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Our prayers for healing are prayers that the finished work of the cross would be fully manifested here and now on earth as it already is in heaven, that we would see the restoration of things to the way God intended and created them. Our prayers then should focus not only on what we see with our eyes, the circumstances, the sickness of individuals, but that we would see the restoration of the curse evidenced, that indeed it would be: on earth as it is in heaven.
In the second part of today’s text we see Jesus associating with some of the outcasts of society. It says: Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus did indeed associate with the outcasts of society. We should not mistake that to believe though, as some today do, that He did that because He preferred their company or lifestyle over that of those in the “church.” Jesus makes it clear what His purpose was and is, He says: “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Once again, equating sin with sickness, Jesus says He came to call sinners. In Luke’s account, Luke 5:32 it states what Jesus calls sinners to: "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." From the beginning of His earthly ministry that was part of Jesus message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) Much of our culture and even much of the church today has tried to disregard the need for repentance. They have believed and taught that there is no sin. Jesus said: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” If we truly want to see the finished work of the cross, the manifestation of the realities of heaven, here and now, on earth as it is in heaven, we must repent, we must change the way we believe. Jesus came to redeem and restore. Healing and forgiveness do go hand in hand. Both are complete in the finished work of the cross.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. I believe, through the finished work of the cross may I truly see the restoration of all things to the way You intended. Amen