“Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you” (Matthew 9:2, NKJV).
This same account of the paralytic is recorded in Mark 2:3-12 and Luke 5:18-26. Yet, in the above verse, Matthew recites one phrase not found in the other accounts. Jesus says to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer...” (Matthew 9:2). Imagine the gall. Jesus tells a man who must be carried in on a bed that he ought to be cheerful. We may think this man has every right to complain and moan and bellyache about his afflicted condition. Jesus tells him to “be of good cheer.” Why? Jesus says, “your sins are forgiven you” (Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20). There is a simple lesson here if we are willing to listen—the real key to enduring happiness.
It is not found in riches. This paralytic was likely poor. After all, he had little ability to work while resigned to his bed. Yet, Jesus tells him he could “be of good cheer.” Riches are fleeting. Paul writes, “we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7).
It is not found in retirement. How many think they will finally be “happy” when they retire from work and can live out their final days sipping lemonades on a golf course? Yet, some never reach “retirement” and sometimes retirement is filled with the business of old age. After death is when we will truly “rest from our labors” (Revelation 14:13).
It is not found in earthly success. This paralytic had no stock portfolio, no buildings named after him, no newspaper headlines. His story is told three times in Scriptures and we never even get to learn his name. On earth, he was a nobody. But, to Jesus he was somebody. Being known by God is far more important than being known by man.
It is not found in health. The paralytic is told BEFORE he walks to “be of good cheer.” His cheery disposition was not centered around his health. No, it was on the basis of the far superior spiritual blessing Jesus offers through the forgiveness of sins. Christians will find their “outward man perishing” but can still be of “good cheer” because “the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).
Let’s stop letting the temporal struggles of life ruin the eternal joys God offers. The forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ lead to the greatest of riches, an eternal rest, the crown of life and new, immortal resurrection bodies in our heavenly home. That’s a reason to be cheerful!