I remember when I was in college and I was trying to fly back home for Christmas. I got to the airport in plenty of time. I got through the security line and made my way through the terminal. My eyes opened wide to the sight of people packing around my gate. Worry suddenly set in because my ticket was…wait for it… stand by. Would I make it home in time for Christmas? Would I make it home at all? Let the waiting game begin. All of a sudden the sound of a voice came over the loudspeaker and said my name and told me to come to the counter. I nervously made my way over to the check in counter. The person at the counter told me that I had a seat. I was going to go home. With that certainty all of the worry subsided because I knew I had a ticket.
In Matthew chapter 9, we meet a group of friends who have a paralytic friend. They go to drastic measures to bring him to Jesus. The friends have heard about Jesus and want their buddy to be restored. They try to bring him to Jesus but the place is packed. Waiting doesn’t seem like a good option. They see the roof and think “let’s lower our buddy through the roof.” The paralytic is now face to face with Jesus. Look how Jesus responds to the need.
Matthew 9:2 (NASB) 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.”
Jesus responds to the paralytic in a unique way. Jesus doesn’t say, “get up and take up your mat.” Instead, he responds with “take courage.” I believe that Jesus understood that the man’s biggest source of worry was that he had no guarantee of heaven. In ancient Jewish times, it was common for people to believe that sickness was a result of the sins of the person’s parents. Here, Jesus addresses the man’s biggest need: eternity. In a sense, Jesus was calling this paralytic to the check- in counter. He was telling the paralytic, “you are going home.” He was giving this man a boarding pass with his name on it.
So what does this have to do with you and me? The new year can be a source of worry and anxiety. Finances, relationships, family, jobs…the list can go on and on. I want to remind you that there is hope and peace in Jesus. In the face of eternity, earthly worries grow strangely dim. With Jesus, we are ensured a boarding pass to take us safely home.
If you are far from God today and want to be in relationship with Him, all you have to do is believe. The bible makes it very clear how to do it: 1. Believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead 2. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is lord of your life.