9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? 10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) 11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.
He is showing them who He is by what He did. He proved that He had the power to forgive sins by having the power to heal miraculously. Can a Roman Catholic priest or could an Old Testament priest do either? No, he can’t. Neither can you or I as we can only judge by the Book but we have no power to do anything about a disease that current medical knowledge and affordability can’t cure but rely on God’s will. And even if it is curable we better be completely dependent on Him. Mistakes can be made even with the best of knowledge.
Again, the healing is immediate. By comparison, salvation is immediate, not a process.
13 ¶ And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
Levi is a publican, a tax collector for the Romans occupiers. According to Matthew and Luke, this is Matthew.
Matthew 10:3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;
Luke 5:27 And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.
This is a government tax collector, who was considered collaborators and corrupt. He drops it all and walks after Christ, who has the power to save anyone. The apostles have immediately left whatever they were doing and followed the physical Christ, God in the flesh, the king of the entire universe, without looking back.
15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
In the Old Testament people who are trying to live right and honor God are called the righteous and those who are wicked and couldn’t care less are sinners. In the New Testament Christ comes to die for the ungodly, the sinners, and if you consider yourself righteous without Christ you won’t be saved. You won’t see any need for it.
Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
Christ came to die for the very people that the Old Testament condemned. Read this in the Psalms.
Psalm 1:1 ¶ Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 ¶ The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
The problem with many modern, American Christians is that they have adopted the Old Testament view because they are Biblically illiterate and can’t “rightly divide” the word. They assume that because they dress nice, have nice things, and act in some kind of civil and relatively polite manner, occasionally attending church, saying ‘grace’ over dinner, and not doing really bad stuff that they are righteous. American Christians are amazing in the things they have managed to accomplish without Christ. This is easy to test and prove. Go up to the most righteous person you know, the person who appears to really be a great Christian, unlike myself, and ask them how much during the average day do they commit to prayer, Bible reading, memorization, and study, and how much time do they commit to listening to the radio or watching television.
You’ll find that the more pious seeming the individual the less time or love they have for listening to God through God’s word speaking to their spirit or talking to Him in prayer. While you and I are struggling with our revulsion to our wicked sins and abhorring our flesh for our sinful nature, while we are praying on our knees for light from His word and begging Him to keep us from sin, they are walking around smug and self satisfied, willfully ignorant. Those with communist leanings will insist that the Christian should vote Democrat and those with fascist leanings will insist that a Christian must vote Republican. The one replaces God with the government in a slightly different way than the other. But, either one has still replaced God in their hearts.
Our nation is wicked, from the conservative state worshipping churches with a political flag on their pulpit platforms to the liberal state worshipping churches who want to be “inclusive”. Neither one gives a good red cent for Jesus Christ. They have invented a God they worship and ultimately it comes back to the worship of self.