And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
Immediately prior to this incident recorded in Matthew 9:2, Jesus had encountered two men possessed with devils. Jesus had cast the devils out of the two men and the devils then entered a nearby herd of swine, causing the entire herd to plunge off a cliff and be destroyed. When that became known, the people of the nearby city came out to see Jesus and made it clear to Him that they wished for Him to leave their country. I would suggest it was because they lost their possessions, namely the swine, that caused them to want Jesus to leave.
These two men had enough devils that they entered a complete herd of swine and caused them to destroy themselves. The people of that city did not care that two men had been delivered and given their life back but rather were unhappy that their lively hood had been destroyed.
What a typical attitude. We really want people to do better as long as it doesn’t inconvenience us or cost us anything. I think one thing Jesus must have been doing in this story was exposing and teaching about greed.
So as they had requested, Jesus entered a ship and left their country.
It was a different story when Jesus reached the other side. On the other side people brought a man sick of the palsy to Jesus for healing because they wanted their neighbor healed. Before Jesus healed the man physically He first healed him spiritually and forgave his sins.
This again exposed something that was in the hearts of the crowd surrounding Jesus, namely their lack of understanding of who He really was. In their hearts they accused Him of blasphemy because they didn’t believe that He was truly the Son of God but rather thought Him to be a teacher or some prophet.
Matthew 9:8, “But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.” They felt that Jesus was just a man who had been given some sort of extraordinary power.
Do we really know who this Jesus is that comes to live in the hearts of men?