- Sermon 44 -
Eighteenth Sunday After Trinity. The Healing of the Man Sick of the Palsy

t. Matthew IX, 1-8: "And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men."

(April 25, 1872)

This Gospel again speaks of several miracles I performed and tells how I dealt with the objections and remarks of the Pharisees with which they kept criticizing My teaching and My actions.
Already the first miracle with the man sick of the palsy disturbed them in their priestly zeal because, prior to performing the miracle of healing, I said to the sick man: "Your sins are forgiven!" I forgave the sick man his sins because of his and his relatives' faith, or firm conviction, and also because -like most of the sick who are themselves responsible for their sickness due to offences against their nature - he had now to bear the consequences of his actions.
The Pharisees and High Priests believed that they alone were entitled to forgive sins; that is why they were upset. However, I intended to show them that I not only could forgive sins - and that in the truest sense, - but that I also had the power to heal the consequences of sin which they were unable to do.
The reason for their envy and hate was the fact that through the striking examples of such miracles I won the people for Myself, thus gradually alienating them from the priests.
At that time it was necessary to prove and corroborate My words through such acts because the majority of the people was not yet on such a level of religious education that they could have entered upon the proper path to salvation solely with the help of spiritual arguments. And thus you see in this chapter of the Gospel how I sought to rectify the false ideas of the people around Me, and how I kept proving by acts the truth of what I had just taught them. In those times there existed many prejudices among the priests of the Jewish people which I had first to eliminate if I wanted to spread My teaching. For all men were equal before Me; through the divine spark within them they were all entitled to becoming My children.
To demonstrate My might, I had to prove their spiritual ideas false through My words, and I had to eliminate physical diseases by acts. And so you see how I and My disciples often acted contrary to the prescribed religious ceremonies in order to draw people's attention to the fact that the literal observance of the laws of the temple was not yet religion in the sense that Moses, the Prophets and I meant it to be.
In this way, I endeavoured to reduce all the misinterpreted ceremonies to their true value so as to make room for My pure spiritual teaching. That is why I said: "They that be whole need not a physician, only they that are sick!" - "I will have mercy and not sacrifices!" - "I am not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance!" - and to the objections regarding fasting: "Can the children of the bridechamber mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then they shall fast." - "No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment!" - "Neither do men put new wine in old bottles!" - and so on.
From all this you may see how I fought against the old prejudices in various ways, through words and parables, so that My teaching might be recognized as spiritual and people might understand that it cannot be replaced by ceremonies and the running into the temple, and that these words might come true: "Who ever worships Me, must worship Me in spirit and in truth!"
I reminded also My disciples of this, pointed to the many erring children, and said: "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore to the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into his harvest."
Look, My children! Before healing the man sick of the palsy I said to him: "Thy sins are forgiven!" His sickness had been caused by sins against his own organism. I forgave him these sins, for he was unaware that he had contracted this disease through chasing after sensual pleasures. I did not say to him: "Go, and sin no more!"; for he was still far from comprehending and repenting these sins.
His sudden healing, solely through My word, was to make him ponder and prove to him that what initially gave him so much pleasure and eventually so much suffering did not constitute man's true life, but that there is still something higher, more spiritual within man, which tends to draw him to better regions with values other than the base stimulation of the senses.
With My words I intended to exalt this sick man and to humiliate the pride of the Pharisees, to make them feel their impotence since they were unable to make their words as effective as I did Mine. Words fade away, but the deed continues to speak. Thus My remarks on various occasions were intended to show the arrogant human intellect its limitations in order to make it humble itself before the sublime power of the spirit.
Everything that I then said and did is also relevant for this and all times. Wherever you look, there are the sick of the palsy, the blind, the lame and even dead people. And everywhere there is more darkness than light, at best only twilight.
There are many who are spiritually lame or paralysed because of the wrong direction of their souls and who, hanging their hearts on transient things, completely scorn or neglect what is spiritual. The result of this spiritual palsy is the misconception regarding spirit and matter. These are the sins I have to forgive them daily if the majority of people is not to perish.
Still today, plenty of miracles happen in the world but people do not accept them as such. With their intellect they endeavour to explain all natural phenomena and political events as having quite ordinary causes, not noticing how I help them out of the noose when through their obstinacy they have got themselves entangled in a labyrinth of hypotheses and disastrous events.
However, I once said that I had come to the sick, and this still applies today. I seek out the ailing, weak, sick of the palsy, the blind and those souls that are afflicted with all kinds of maladies, and I endeavour to heal them by using their own sins as a school for them, from which they should go forth strengthened if possible. Many a person I heal because of his firm belief. I place him in circumstances that give him time to ponder his life and errors and to rectify them.
Even you, who in many ways already understand quite well what I have in mind with man and what I have chosen him for, I must often forgive your sins since you are not quite aware of what causes many a difficulty that embitters your life. I am still unable to say to you as I did to the adulteress: "Go, and sin no more!", for not all have come to realize that they are only lazy servants, notwithstanding their good will and greatest devotion.
Also at the present time many a person sighs under the burden of realization of his weaknesses. Let him come to Me -like the sick man in the Gospel - in the firm belief that I shall heal him, and he will soon hear the voice in his heart calling to him: "Thy sins or errors are forgiven! Take up thy bed and go unto thine house!" This means to say: "Do not rely on others nor on coming events and better conditions, but cast off the weaknesses in whose bed you have been lying until now! Shoulder your wrong concepts and your errors, carry them and walk with firm steps towards your perfection. Your opinions and errors, on which you have until now been lying like a sick man, shall not hinder you in your progress now that your burden is lighter, and you shall gradually be rid of them completely. But first, the state of things has to be reversed. Formerly you lay and rested upon them, but now, well aware of their significance, you have to shoulder them without resenting their burden."
Thus also you, whom I have preferred to many others and made familiar with My teaching, shall begin with your own healing. For this purpose I send you circumstances under which the strength of your soul is tested and trained; for now, too, I have to seek out the sick and help them so that they, when healed, may serve as a good example to others.
Even I cannot put a piece of new cloth on an old garment of sin nor can I fill new wine into old bottles. None of them could stand up to it. The garment wears out and the bottle bursts. Therefore, the old garment and the old bottle must first be put aside; the old Adam must be put off, if the new one is to replace him. Before all else, the sins which are the cause of all troubles must be forgiven, that is, eliminated. Only then can the former sick person go his way - healed. However, every word, every action, every event must also play its part in increasing the number of workers that are needed for the harvest.
Already once before had I said: "Many are called, but few are chosen." There are still many lame, blind and sick of the palsy, and they must all become whole again. This requires efficient labourers in My vineyard and these, if they are to fulfil their duty, must be capable of any kind of work. This is only possible if they, too, have gone through the school of cognition which they want to bring to others.
Thus they have to face a chain of trials, suffering and battles which shall ultimately result in their putting off their old habits and changing into the garment of divine truth so that they, too, may follow the call: "Arise, take up thy bed and go unto thine house!"
All of you were sick, more or less sick of the palsy. I have given you plenty of aids for your healing. When you are completely healed, you will be the labourers for the harvest which will soon be followed up on a larger scale than has been up till now.
Therefore, make sure that every one of you fulfils his duty in his own field, as I can and may expect it of him, since you do not lack the remedies! Amen.