And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “ Take courage,son; your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:2)

Jesus’ ultimate words to the paralytic, “your sins are forgiven,” represent the greatest of all divine miracles and definitely the most desirable for the one who hears them.

This is the holy Son of God forgiving the sins of an unholy man. He could control nature with a word, and with these words he dismissed the man’s sins and graciously made him right with God.

The verb translated “are forgiven” means send away or do away with. David declares, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12; Micah 7:17).

“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance,” Paul asserts, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (1 Timothy 1:15).

That means Jesus came to forgive sinners who trust in Him. Sin is hostility and rebellion against God and His law (Leviticus 26:27; 1 Timothy 1:9; 1 John 3:4). It is incurable by human power (Jeremiah 13:23), affects all people (Romans 3:23), affects the total person (Ephesians 2:1-3) and subjects people to hell if they do not repent (1 Thessalonians 1:9).

Such a bleak portrait means the best news anyone can ever receive is the word that his or her “sins are forgiven.” ((John MacArthur, Daily Readings From the Life of Christ [Chicago: Moody, 2008], August 6.))

John MacArthur

Further reading