Jesus Who Came to Save Us,
the Spiritual Paralytics
< Matthew 9:1-13 >
“So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came
to His own city.Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying
on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic,
‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.’ And at once
some of the scribes said within themselves, ‘This Man blasphemes!’
But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil
in your hearts?For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven
you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’?But that you may know that the
Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins’—then He said to
the paralytic, ‘Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.’And
he arose and departed to his house. Now when the multitudes saw
it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power
to men. As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew
sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ So
he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the
table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners
came and sat down with Him and His disciples.And when the Pharisees
saw it, they said to His disciples, ‘Why does your Teacher eat
with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard that, He said
to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but
those who are sick.But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire
mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous,
but sinners, to repentance.’”
In today’s Scripture passage of Matthew 9, there
comes a paralytic who was healed from his paralysis by Jesus.
Through this passage, I would like to share with you our Lord’s
blessings, contemplating on this disease of paralysis and explaining
how the Lord has saved us.
Everyone in this world is a spiritual paralytic
before God. A paralytic is someone who, while retaining his mental
faculty, is physically disabled as his members are paralyzed.
This paralysis renders him unable to move certain body parts.
So when someone becomes paralyzed, he cannot move his body parts
freely according to his mind’s wish.
One such paralytic was brought in bed to Jesus by
his friends, and Jesus, seeing the faith of this paralytic and
that of those who brought him, remitted away all his sins and
healed him from his disability as well. Our Lord then told him
to take up his bed and go home.
When the Bible talks about healing, it is in fact
talking about the remission of souls’ sins. So when the Bible
describes all these sick people who were healed by Jesus, it is
actually talking about the remission of our sins.
Let us, first, think about who we really are before
God. Let us consider here whether we have been saved from our
sins even though we were not spiritual paralytics, or we have
received the remission of our sins as we had indeed been seriously
paralyzed—whether, in other words, we have been saved from our
sins by having the same faith in the Lord as the paralytic from
today’s Scripture passage had. First of all, we need to think
about whether we had been spiritual paralytics. And then we need
to consider if everyone is a spiritual paralytic.
There is no doubt that you and I had been spiritual
paralytics. There are certain things in which our bodies do not
follow our thoughts, and this is owing to our basic sinful nature.
But how much have we all desired to live according to the will
of God? While we have sincerely yearned to do so in our thoughts
and minds, what has been the actual result? In our flesh, have
we really followed the Lord with perfect deeds and lived our lives
as He wanted us to live? No, we have all failed to do so. This
is why you and I were in fact suffering from serious cases of
spiritual paralysis. While we had thus been spiritual paralytics,
we have still been saved from our sins by believing in the gospel
of the water and the Spirit.
I know myself well. Can I really do everything that
my heart desires? I can honestly confess to you that I am not
capable of achieving this. My heart truly desires to follow the
will of the Lord 100%, and to live according to how He wants me
to live. But more often than not, I fail in this endeavor. There
are many times when my deeds do not follow my heart’s wish. But
I still believe, “Even though I am truly a spiritual paralytic,
the Lord has saved me from all my sins.”
I believe that you are like this also. You, too,
had been spiritual paralytics who could not do what you wanted
to do owing to your disability, but I believe that our Lord has
saved such people like us from all our sins by the gospel power
of the water and the Spirit. Are you perfect in both body and
spirit? Are your flesh, thoughts, hearts, and deeds perfect and
whole? No, of course they are not perfect! You and I are all insufficient,
just like this paralytic.
Just how many shortcomings do we have? Because we
are insufficient, the Lord could not but come to us. And by doing
so, He thus had to save us from all our sins. Through the baptism
of Jesus Christ and His bloodshed, we have been able to be saved
from all our sins. When we realize that we are truly insufficient,
we can receive the salvation and all the blessings from God. Therefore,
all of us must admit our insufficiencies before God, and live
in His grace in thankfulness.
When do you recognize your insufficiencies? It is
when we fail to live according to the will of the Lord, and when
we fail to do the righteous deeds as He wants us to, that we come
to admit ourselves as insufficient beings. We come to discover
this fact in reality, not in mere theory. And our hearts are then
humbled and become meek.
My dear fellow believers, we are insufficient and
paralytics, and yet the Lord has saved such people like us from
all our sins. We must therefore never forget the blessings of
God, that He has saved us from all our sins for our faith in the
gospel of the water and the Spirit. When we recognize our fundamental
insufficiencies as they are, we cannot but be thankful for His
salvation that has saved us from such a spiritually fatal condition.
Only then can we humbly and gratefully keep the Truth that the
Lord has saved us from all our sins by the power of the gospel
of the water and the Spirit.
However, as we carry on with our lives of faith
before God, we often forget our own insufficiencies, thinking
that everything is okay now that we have received the remission
of our sins. And there are many times when we know very well about
the shortcomings of other people, and yet we do not acknowledge
our own insufficiencies.
When a woman caught for adultery in the very act
was brought to Jesus, He had told those around her who sought
to stone her, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw
a stone at her first.” When Jesus said this, no one could cast
a single stone.
As a matter of fact, we, too, are like this woman
who was caught for adultery in the very act, for all of us also
sin, just like this woman. We are in no place to comment on whether
others have blemishes or not. Each and every one of us is a spiritual
paralytic, and we all are insufficient. It is because this is
who we really are that our Lord has saved us from our sins with
the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and all that we have done
is that we have accepted this salvation from our sins by believing
in this Truth.
Among the righteous, no one is better or worse than
anyone else. It is far better for us to have little abilities
and thus nothing to boast of than to think arrogantly that we
are somehow better than others. While those who know their own
insufficiencies will find and believe in the God-given gospel
Truth of the water and the Spirit, those who don’t recognize their
own insufficiencies will end up rejecting the true gospel that
can wash away all their sins. Therefore, knowing ourselves correctly
is critically important to us, for if we fail to know our fundamental
insufficiencies, it is impossible for us to rely on the power
of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Our Lord also said in today’s Scripture passage,
“I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
It is not right for us to fail to realize just how weak and insufficient
we are, and yet instead assign all faults to others and judge
them. It is a marked human tendency to come up with all sorts
of excuses, claiming that it is not because we are inherently
evil, but because the others are evil that we are also wicked.
So consequently, we fail to realize that the problem is not found
with the others, but with ourselves, and that it is our own insufficiencies
that explain the problem.
Even after receiving the remission of our sins,
we still remain insufficient. We may have worked the whole day
doing the works of God, but is there anything that we can really
boast of? No. Only a few hours are actually spent productively
for the works of God, and the rest are often simply wasted away.
Those who believe that God has saved the truly insufficient one
from all their sins by the gospel power of the water and the Spirit—none
other than these are the blessed.
My fellow believers, do not flaunt your own righteousness
before God or before man. You may think, “I am not like this.
I am different from him. I am really good. I am not insufficient.
As days go by, I am perfected even more.” It is because you think
like this that you are deceiving yourselves on your own. This
is why you cannot come before the salvation of the Lord. This
is why, even if you are saved, you are unable to run toward the
salvation of others’ souls by believing in the gospel of the water
and the Spirit.
At all times, we must confess to the Lord, “I am
like the paralytic, Lord.” This truth is not a hypothetical conjecture,
but it is real. As we carry on with our lives of faith, we must
realize before God that we are always insufficient in our acts.
Only then can we tolerate our own insufficiencies and the insufficiencies
of others as well.
What happens if we say that we are not insufficient
but the others are? Our hearts are prone to become arrogant as
if we are their judges. But who can stand upright before the Law
of God? Do you watch TV? What do you see in the news? We see that
even the powerful who had yielded great influence and authority
are branded as criminals when they turned out to have broken the
law. When a criminal is brought to the Public Prosecutor’s office,
he has to stand right at that spot that is reserved for criminals.
Reporters then take pictures of him, and he has to subject himself
to the investigation. He then has to stand in the court as the
accused and be sentenced to his punishment.
So regardless of how powerful anyone might have
been in this world, if he committed a crime and broke the existing
law, not only is his pride ruined, but also his reputation and
status are all destroyed. All that power this person had is but
only a dream, as he crumbles down and falls apart—this is the
portrait of a criminal. Even before the secular law of this world,
anyone who commits a crime is turned into such a pathetic figure.
We also cannot avoid becoming such a pathetic figure,
if we apply the Law strictly to ourselves. But, from the Law we
must see our sinful selves, and by placing our faith in the baptism
that Jesus Christ received from John and in His bloodshed as our
own remission of sin, we must be remitted from all our sins. We
can then be bold and confident by this faith of ours that knows
and believes in the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Jesus Christ has saved us from all our sins as the righteous Savior.
We must have confidence placing our faith in this Lord.
Were it not for this faith in the gospel power of
the water and the Spirit, who could ever stand before the Law
of God? My fellow believers, the hypocrites who sought to stone
the adulterous woman were self-righteous only because their sins
were not revealed yet, but had they stood before the Law of God
honestly, could they have dared to raise a single stone?
As you and I stand before God, it is only by believing
in the gospel that holds His righteousness that we can enter Heaven.
Everyone is a sinner and will forever remain so unless he believes
in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Sinners are nothing
at all before God. Were it not for our faith in this gospel that
holds the righteousness of God, we would not have been able to
live by faith like this to this day. Even if one had said, “I
am completely guilt-free and I have nothing to hide,” without
the powerful mercy of God, he cannot be saved from his sins.
The paralytic here was brought before Jesus by his
friends. Jesus then said to this paralytic, “Son, your sins are
My fellow saints, how many sins could a paralytic
possibly have committed? Would he have committed more sins than
those who are healthy and normal? Why, then, did Jesus say, “Son,
your sins are forgiven you”? This means that you and I have become
sinners because of our parents of the flesh, just as this paralytic
had inherited his sinful nature from his parents, and therefore
he also had to be forgiven from his sins. As it is written in
Matthew 26:41, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh
is weak,” both our hearts and deeds have not been whole.
From the very moment we were born from the womb
of our mothers into this world, we have inherited all the sins
of this world, all the twelve kinds of wickedness, and as such
we were born as sinners from the very beginning. Therefore, from
this very day on we have been spiritually paralyzed. It is because
we came into this world with sinful hearts from the day we were
born that we have been unable to do what our hearts desire. And
because we have failed to live according to the will of the Lord,
as our hearts so desired, we have come to realize that fundamentally,
there is sin in our hearts.
The Apostle Paul also confessed his sinful nature
as it was: “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am
carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand.
For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate,
that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with
the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it,
but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in
my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me,
but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that
I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that
I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer
I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:14-20).
You need to realize here that Jesus did not say
so because the paralytic had somehow committed more sins against
God than we have. The very paralytic was you and I who had to
be forgiven from all our sins. Therefore, those who have not yet
received the remission of sins must first admit the truth that
they are mortal sinners before God, and must be anxious to be
saved from all their sins. They must first lament their predicament
just as Paul cried out, “O wretched man that I am! Who will
deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24)
Who has delivered you and me from this body of death?
He is Jesus Christ. That we have been remitted from all our
sins, and that we are to enter the heavenly Kingdom of God, all
depend on the baptism that Jesus Christ received, His bloodshed,
and His power. If we realize how Jesus Christ has blotted out
all the sins that we commit throughout our entire lifetime out
of our insufficiencies, and if we believe in this gospel Truth
with all our hearts, we can indeed be saved from all our sins.
The Bible tells us that no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless
he is first born again by believing in the gospel of the water
and the Spirit (John 3:5).
My fellow saints, our remission of sin, too, has
been made possible only by believing in the gospel power of the
water and the Spirit. For us to follow the Lord and do His works
is only possible when we believe in the power of the gospel of
the water and the Spirit that our Lord has given us. Our spreading
of this gospel of the water and the Spirit is also made possible
only by the power of our God.
In the last chapter of Hosea, it is written, “Who
is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let
him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; The righteous
walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them” (Hosea 14:9).
My fellow believers, how could we stand upright
but only by our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit?
How could we overcome Satan’s schemes but only by our faith in
this gospel of power? It is absolutely impossible for us to do
so unless we place all our faith in the gospel power of the water
and the Spirit. This is why the passage from Hosea declares that
only the righteous can follow the ways of the Lord.
Every Sunday, you go to your church and stand before
God to worship Him, but can you really come before His presence
and worship Him only with your acts, without the power of your
faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? No, this cannot
be done! Our spreading of this true gospel is also impossible
without placing our faith in the Lord.
Could anyone whose acts are upright and who has
committed no sin in this world really spread the gospel of the
water and the Spirit? Such people who think their deeds are upright
cannot believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, nor
can they preach the righteousness of God. In our flesh, furthermore,
we can never do the righteous works.
Can you live even a day without committing any sin?
Do you now realize that you and I are insufficient before God,
and that God has saved such people like us, who had been paralytics?
Do you acknowledge the power of the gospel of the water and the
Though we are this insufficient, God has still saved
us from the sins of the world. Therefore, we cannot but confess
like this: “Lord, Your are the Christ and the Son of the living
God. You are the true God. You are the King of kings. You are
the Lord of creation who made the universe and all things in it.
Lord, You are truly the Son of God, and came to me as my Savior.”
Through Romans chapter 7 and 8, we can see that the Apostle Paul
believed in Jesus as his God and his Savior. And we, too, believe
in Jesus just like Paul had believed.
My fellow saints, in times like these when the world
is darkening even more, sin is widespread, and selfish individualism
abounds in it, we must walk on the righteous way of the Lord boldly
by placing our faith in the gospel power of the water and the
Spirit. In this age and time, if we want to live in God’s Church
until the end of the world by believing in the power of this gospel
that holds the righteousness of God, we must realize that we are
insufficient, and we must live our lives before God by faith,
by believing in the gospel power of the water and the Spirit.
Placing all our faith in this gospel power of the water and the
Spirit, we must praise God and run toward Him.
My fellow believers, could any of us really stand
before the presence of God with our own merits? You should never
nod to such an erroneous claim! If some of your brothers and sisters
are insufficient in your eyes, do not try to judge them. Who can
judge whom, and who can condemn whom? To be quite honest, could
pastors know all the difficulties that the laymen are facing?
Can anyone who has not worked know the hardship that the working
people face? Can junior pastors understand all the difficulties
that senior pastors must take care of? All that we know is only
superficial, some glimpses of what appears outside, and we do
not really know all the difficulties that the others are facing.
Therefore, you need to stand before God by placing your faith
in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and you must do His
works in humility, rather than judging others.
How tiresome is it to live in this age? Words cannot
describe all the stresses that we are facing on a daily basis.
The whole world is moving against the will of God, but we, the
minority, are going against this tide. Hence, the stress and the
hardship that are accrued from this are only too palpable for
us. Do you think we are walking the way of the Lord because we
do not know how to go with the flow of this world? No, it is because
we live clothed in the gospel power of the water and the Spirit
that we have put the flow the world behind us, and we obey only
the will of the God and are running toward Him.
My fellow saints, if someone around you is going
through a hard time, you should try to understand him, rather
than judging him. “So this is why he is having such a hard time.”
This is how you should think. All of us really need to sympathize
with our fellow saints. As we serve the gospel of the water and
the Spirit, there are many joyful things that happen to us as
well. What I am saying here is to live by placing your faith in
the power of the gospel before God.
In all honesty, I, too, had been a paralytic spiritually,
but the Lord has saved me from all my sins. And frankly, you had
also been paralytics, but the Lord has saved you from all the
sins of the world. There is no one among you whom the Lord has
saved from sin even though he was fundamentally perfect. Hasn’t
our Lord saved us with the gospel of the water and the Spirit,
even though you and I alike had been just like the paralytic?
It is not only with our words that we admit that
we are paralytics, and that we are insufficient. Are we not actually
insufficient in our flesh? Of course we are. Do you have any idea
how much time it takes for a person to know his true self? It
is not easy at all for one to truly know oneself. So anyone who
knows his fundamental nature well is quite a remarkable person.
If we admit that we are paralytics, then, we have
to walk by faith from now on: We must live by faith, spread the
gospel by faith, defend our heart by faith, stand before God by
faith, overcome this world by faith, and treat one another in
faith. What else do we have but our faith? There is nothing remaining
in you if your faith is taken away.
The basic human faculty actually amounts to nothing.
We are no one without the power of the gospel. What greatness
is there to mankind? We are as ephemeral as morning mists and
as fragile as grass. It is written, “All flesh is as grass,
and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The
grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the
LORD endures forever” (1 Peter 1:24-25).
It takes a lot of time for plants to grow, but the
time they take to blossom flowers and for these flowers to wither
is very short. Just take a look at a flower vase in your own home.
The grass adorning the flowers may be firm right now, but leave
it for a couple of weeks and see what happens to it. It will wither
away. The same thing will happen to the flowers, whose beauty
is only ephemeral, for they, too, will wither away. We humans
are just likes these withering flowers. Life is just like this.
Just as blossoming flowers wither in no time, our true human reflection
is such that we, too, will wither away like them.
Even though we are mere ephemeral beings, we now
have the everlasting Word of God that has made us the people of
faith and God’s children who will not perish. As a matter of fact,
it is because we have faith in the gospel Truth of the water and
the Spirit that we have become righteous by this faith, and that
we can live for the righteousness of God on this faith. It is
because we have placed our faith in Christ as our Savior, and
because we are preaching the gospel, that we remain in this world,
and there is no other reason but this.
God has thus made us His people of faith. But there
still are too many souls in this world that are dying from their
ignorance of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. As there
are still many souls in this world who will be saved from their
sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, I
would like to admonish you to preach this gospel to them. I am
not demanding you to become holy saints. I just want to encourage
you to spend the rest of your lives for the gospel of the water
and the Spirit. There is nothing else that I want from you.
I easily get into a temper over nothing when I am
very tired. I am this insufficient. You and I know very well that
we are all insufficient. Even so, we have the responsibility to
preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the whole
world, to the very last day. It is because of this duty that you
and I are living. We are not living for any other reason. Though
we are all insufficient, we know that it is because we have things
to do while remaining on this earth, to preach this gospel throughout
the whole world, that we are carrying on with our lives.
Do not demand anything else—a good temper or a virtuous
manner, for example—from one another. Preaching the gospel of
the water and the Spirit and having fellowship of faith with one
another, these are all that we have to do in our every waking
moment. If we do not spread the gospel power, who will ever do
Just how many people in this world are suffering
without the gospel of the water and the Spirit? We can see many
wretched Christians who are trying so hard to live according to
the will of God through their prayers of repentance and their
own determination. In fact, they are doing so because they are
demon-possessed. Do you not feel compassionate for them? Indeed,
there are so many people in this world who have not even heard
the gospel of the water and the Spirit that if I were able to
spread this gospel to them, I will have no more want. It is because
of the gospel that my eyes are all bloodshot; it is because of
the gospel that I shed tears, and it is because of the gospel
that I am doing all these different works. I would never have
put up with any of these things were it not for the gospel. Had
I not dedicated my life to the spreading of the gospel, I would
be working hard everyday for my own ends. But since this is not
how we are living, but we are in fact living for the gospel, all
of us are indeed doing truly precious works. God has entrusted
us with such extremely precious works.
There are times when our brothers are ordained as
the workers of God and sent out to their places of ministry. In
such times, I see some of them having doubts and thinking, “Why
am I being sent there, instead of sending me here?” I then used
to say to them, “Why do you care about where and how you live,
when you are living to spread the gospel of the water and the
Spirit? What is more precious work than this in the whole world?
You may go there and find yourself spending the whole day not
doing much, but if you preach the gospel of the water and the
Spirit to even just one person, the Lord would approve you! How
would you do this truly precious work in the world? Were it not
for God’s Church, where else would you do such precious works?”
I believe that all of us, who are serving the gospel, from our
ministers to you and I, are extremely precious to God. By believing
in the power of this gospel, we have all become God’s own people.
Because Satan has sowed his lies throughout the
whole world, people are drowning in such lies without realizing
the true gospel of the water and the Spirit. All that we have
to do is spread the Truth of the water and the Spirit throughout
this earth that is filled with lies, and go to the Lord when He
comes back for us. If the Lord does not return in our lifetime,
then let us just continue to preach the gospel.
There are times when we volunteer to do difficult
jobs for this gospel. But there are also many moments of joy that
we experience while serving the gospel by faith. God gives us
consolations and new strength whenever we yearn for His help.
My dear fellow believers, I yearn to preach the
power of this gospel until the day our Lord returns. If I can’t
preach the gospel myself because of my weak body, I at least want
to fulfill my role as a supporter of the gospel. I, too, must
serve the gospel with my prayers until the day our Lord returns,
and so must you.
Let us hold each other, help one another, and trust
each other, so that each of us may achieve this. I believe that
even if we do not edify ourselves to a particular level of sanctification
in this world, if we would just preach the gospel of power throughout
the whole world, the Lord will be pleased by us. Let us live for
the spreading of the gospel, and let us go to our Lord after preaching
this gospel to our ends. If people do not accept the gospel even
after hearing it, leave them unsaved and let’s preach the gospel
to the others. And if no one accepts it no matter how much we
preach it at last, then let us, too, stop preaching it and just
wait for His return.
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The paralytic in today’s Scripture passage received
the remission of his sins by encountering the Lord and believing
in His power. It was because he was insufficient that he received
this remission of sin by faith—by believing, in other words, in
the power of the Lord. Had his deeds been without blemish, he
might not have come to Jesus asking for His salvation, and eventually,
could not have been remitted from all his sins by believing in
the Lord’s power.
My fellow believers, before God, only those who
know they are extremely deficient in their deeds can receive the
remission of their sins by believing in the power of the Lord’s
gospel. Do you think that it is by practicing asceticism, as if
we were Buddha, that we can be remitted from our sins? It is those
who know themselves as the piles of sins that can be remitted
from all their sins by believing in the gospel of power, that
Jesus came to this earth and has blotted out their sins with the
water and the blood.
I thank our Lord for saving us from all our sins.