9 May 2021

Helpless – How does God help us when we run out of options? Matthew 9:1-8


A. The Friends

(v1-2) And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. 2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith…

  • Your prayers and your invitations matter!

Question 1: Icebreaker – who brought you to faith in Jesus?

Question 2: Why is the faith of the friends who bring the paralysed man to Jesus so significant in this story?

B. The Scribes

(v3-4) “And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts?’”

  • They don’t know him, but he knows them!

Question 3: How should knowing God knows our every thought affect our lives?

Question 4: Is it wrong to have spiritual questions about Jesus?

C. The Crowd

(v8) “When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.”

  • They get two important things right: they are in awe and they glorify God

Question 5: Are there certain spiritual practises and ways of worshipping which help us rediscover a sense of awe in our worship of God?

Question 6: It’s a broad question, but how exactly do we glorify God?

D. The Man

(v2) “…Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.’”

(v4) “But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Rise and walk”? 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he then said to the paralytic—’Rise, pick up your bed and go home.’ 7 And he rose and went home.”

  • Total helplessness
  • Complete forgiveness
  • Restoration

Question 7: What things make us feel helpless?

Question 8: Do we still feel we have to “earn” God’s approval before he will help us?

Question 9: How do the actions of standing, picking up his bed and going home, speak to you symbolically about God’s restoring work in your life?

Question 10: What will you do differently as a result of taking this passage to heart?


Loving God, thank you for the faith of the friends, who brought this man to Jesus.  Help me have a faith which brings others to you in–person and in prayer.

Thank you for the warning you give to the scribes.  Help me note the need to match outward piety with inward purity, in the knowledge that you see everything.

Thank you for the crowd who are in awe of you and glorify your name.  May I never become casual and routine in my worship and appreciation of your greatness, giving you glory in all I say and do.

But above thank you for the man in this story.  Not what he was, but what though the power of Jesus Christ, he became.  Help me rise up, be delivered of past wrongdoing and walk in your way.