There are some passages that just make me scratch my head or throw my hands up in the air. They just don’t fit, at least in my understanding and expectations.
Matthew 9:2 is one of those verses. We tend to skip by it and focus on how upset the Torah teachers were that Jesus was proclaiming that sins had been forgiven, something only God himself could do.
But there it is in verse 2:
“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.'”
This paralyzed man apparently hadn’t believed in his heart and confessed with his mouth that Jesus was Lord. It doesn’t even say that he had faith at all. Yet, Jesus sees the faith of his friends or family, those who brought him that evening. Than Jesus proclaims that his sins are forgiven, and then goes on to heal him and send him home.
It Doesn’t Fit
I have no explanation, it doesn’t fit in my mind and in my systematic theology. Yet there it is, right in front of me. Do I explain it away or accept that I can’t fit everything into a nice, tightly packed little box?
Dancing With The Rabbis
When the rabbis would debate, once all arguments we’re exhausted and no conclusion about the meaning of a passage could be agreed upon, they would not walk away angry at one another. Instead they would dance. They would celebrate a God who was so big, so gracious, so beyond, that there was no way we could understand everything about Him. If He weren’t beyond our understanding, He wouldn’t be much of a God, would He?
So when you come to this and other passages that present challenges to our understanding of the Scriptures, once you wrestle with their meaning and come to no conclusions, how do you respond? I’m learning to hum a little Hebrew tune and dance like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, or like that man did as he carried his mat home that evening.