Friday, 3 July 2015

Perspectives: Matthew 9:1-8




One of the great things about being around young children is their perspective on the world is often very different to our own. 

They look at the world differently from adults because everything is new, and everything is a learning experience.  Children also tend to think positively, they are eager to try and do new things, they have creative imaginations, and the world is so full of possibility and wonder.  Unfortunately as we grow up, we tend to lose some of this sense of wonder, and excitement, which is a great shame.

Children’s perspective on the world is very different to our own.  Who is to say that our perspective as adults is the better one?  Maybe it’s not.  I think children have much to teach us about life and the world, and I think Jesus believed this as well, which is why he said “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) 
Jesus was also someone who saw people and situations from a different perspective. 
In the Gospel reading (Matthew 9:1-8) some men brought a paralysed man lying on a mat to Jesus.  If we were faced by this scene, we would say that his main problem is that this man is unable to walk.  But for Jesus this isn’t the primary issue, instead we read ‘When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”’ (Matthew 9:2) 
It was the man’s spiritual needs, rather than his physical needs that mattered the most.  Being put back into a right relationship with God, through the forgiveness of his sins, mattered more to Jesus than his inability to walk.  But to prove that Jesus has the power to forgive sins, he also said to the man ‘“Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.’ (Matthew 9:7-8)
For me this story is a reminder that what I might think is most important for us, may not be what God thinks is most important.  Because how God looks at us, is different to how we look at ourselves.  This shouldn’t come as any surprise.  For as it says in Isaiah, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8)
Because like this paralysed man, what we need more than anything else is to be put back into a right relationship with God through the forgiveness of our sins, and that matters more than anything else.