Now in our story of the paralytic we have a fourth reaction, and this is a bit further along that spectrum—from indifference, to rejection, to what we now find to be anger or offense at Jesus’ sayings. This is the first time in Matthew’s Gospel that we actually find opposition to Jesus. Each of the Gospels has their own way of talking about it, and of course they need to because the flow of the story is from an initial acceptance of Jesus as somebody who’s speaking in a remarkable way and doing remarkable things to the crucifixion. And somewhere along the line between the initial response to him and the crucifixion there had to be a turning of opinion.

As we come to the first eight verses of Matthew 9 we have another story of an encounter of the Lord Jesus Christ with one of the people of his day. In the context of the story it actually involves more than the one individual. It was something that took place in public. There was a large crowd around, and in the conversation that transpired Jesus dealt specifically not merely with this paralyzed man, but with the teachers of the law who were present.

If we seem to prefer our own comfort to the spiritual condition of others, the Lord may do one of two things to correct us. First of all, sometimes it’s necessary for us to lose the pigs. That is to say, we have to enter on hard times and find that we can get along with a lot fewer things than we think we have to have in order to be happy. One of the problems with things is that they tend to ensnare us and trap our souls. And the more we have the more we’re ensnared like a spider spinning a web.

Now the point I want to make is that it is necessary that the Lord Jesus Christ have authority in the most powerful sense if the demon is to be driven out. And if we’re to go and preach the gospel and have any hope of success, it must be by that power and authority of Jesus Christ as well.

In my experience I have never known anybody whom I would say has been demon possessed, but I do believe it happens. But by way of application, I have known people who have been afflicted in a similar way, possessed by some bad spirit or sin, and so have come under all the various influences and experiences that these men had. One thing about demon possession is that those who are possessed are unable to break free. The evil spirit is stronger than they are.