In the New Testament, Jesus performed miracles for multiple reasons. Of course he did miracles out of love and kindness. The Savior did miracles to show that he was pushing back the effects of the fall of man, defeating sin and Satan by his power and for his glory. And, Jesus did miracles to show us all that he is exactly who he claims to be, God the Son, God in flesh.
Matthew 9:2-8 — 2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
Here is an example of a miracle in which Jesus intends to attest to his deity and authority. Before he heals the paralytic who had been carried to him, Jesus pronounces the man’s sins as forgiven. What was he doing? Jesus was making a declaration that was only God’s to make.
Only God has the right to forgive sins against God. I cannot forgive you for sinning against my neighbor. It’s not my place. If you have offended my neighbor, you need to go to my neighbor to seek his forgiveness. And I cannot forgive your sins against God. Only God can do that.
The scribes, for all their flaws, saw exactly what Jesus was doing. They saw him claiming to be God by claiming the right to forgive a man’s sins against God. This is why they said he was blaspheming. And, were Jesus not God, he in fact would have been blaspheming.
Then Jesus sets the stage for the miracle. He asks the scribes which is easier, to declare the man’s sins forgiven or to tell him to rise and walk. This is not a difficult question. It is easy to declare a person forgiven. Who can prove you wrong? But it is hard to do the miraculous and to make the crippled man walk. Jesus is presenting an argument of greater to lesser. If he can do the obviously hard thing of giving this man the ability to walk, he will be showing us that he can do a thing only God can do. And if that hard thing is true, if Jesus proves he does what only God can do, then, Jesus has the right to declare the man forgiven.
WE see it happen. WE see Jesus heal a man. We see the crowds astonished. We see Jesus prove that he is God with God’s authority to forgive.
Do you see that Jesus is God with the authority of God to forgive you? If so, you should come to him in faith. After all, the paralytic was not forgiven because of his performance of religious rituals. Jesus forgave him when he saw the group’s faith. Trust in Jesus. Run to him for mercy. Know that he and only he can forgive you. And you, like the paralytic, will find the forgiveness of God. But know that, as the paralytic’s life was changed from that moment forward, so too will your life be changed as to come to Jesus is to surrender to him as your Master and Lord.
And, if we see this, we should know that we must come to Jesus and Jesus alone to find God’s forgiveness.