"Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."
One little sentence, spoken by Jesus in Matthew 9:2.
But what strikes me about this one little sentence is that it is preceded by the first part of that verse: "Some men brought to Him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic..."
"When Jesus saw their faith..."
One little question about that sentence:
The paralytic? His friends? Both?
The use of the plural "their" leads me to believe that Jesus was moved to action, not by the faith of just one individual, but by several.
Maybe it was just a couple of the friends, and the others were not really even expecting things to work out with this Jesus guy; they were just there, helping carry this friend of theirs, cause that's what friends do? If so, I guarantee they got the surprise of their lives.
Maybe it was all of the friends, who had heard of the works that Jesus had done so far, and they just knew if they could get their friend to Jesus, Jesus could heal him?
Maybe it was the paralytic, too, who had heard of Jesus and wanted desperately to encounter Him, but had to depend solely on his friends for that possibility?
Regardless, scripture is clear that in this instance, God was moved to action through the faith of more than one individual. They worked together, as a sort of community of faith, and it makes me wonder if God is more inclined to respond in a particular situation when there are more and more people acting, together, on their faith in Him?
It also seems to me that He was moved by their selfless faith--faith in Him that was willing to take action for the sole benefit of another. Did He have compassion because He saw a bit of His own selfless spirit in their actions? I'd like to think so.
And thinking of all this causes me to ask myself a question or two, as well:
Am I willing to act in faith for the sole benefit of another?
Are there friends who need me to work, together with them--as a community of faith, on our faith in Him, in the hope that He will respond in our best interests?
Is there someone who desperately needs to encounter Him, but they must depend on my assistance to do so?
Because when that happened in this instance, God responded with forgiveness and with healing.
I've got every reason to believe He'll respond to our faith, too.