Photo by mensatic on Morgue File.
In today’s post, we will conclude our conversation of the healing of the paralytic. It is a fascinating account of Jesus’ power and ministry, especially in his early days of ministry in the northern region of Galilee. It also foreshadows the conflict that will continue to escalate between Jesus and the religious elite.
I pray this walk-through Mark, has been, and will continue to be a blessing to you. So, once again, here is the pericope we will be concluding today:
And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”−he said to the paralytic−”I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mk. 2.1-12, ESV)
Last time we left off with Jesus pronouncing the paralytic’s sins forgiven. We mentioned how Jesus knew what the religious leaders were thinking in their hearts and so, as often was his custom, he asked them a question. This question is a faith-defining question. The ones who so often sought to put Jesus on the spot, now find themselves there.
Jesus asked them which was easier to say to the paralytic, your sins are forgiven or rise, take up your bed and walk?
Well, let’s think about that question shall we? On one hand, I suppose, it is easier to say rise and walk. Why? As the religious leaders knew (and they were absolutely right on this point) only God can forgive sins. Now, I may forgive you for some act you do against me, but ultimately, only God can forgive sins: that is, only he can wash the soul clean. It is one of those God-things.
So, from this point of view, saying to the paralytic to rise and walk is far easier, because to say, your sins are forgiven, from a human point of view is impossible!
This is why they were thinking Jesus was a blasphemer. Now, before we judge them too harshly, if this had been any other man they would have been right. If it had been any other man who has ever walked the face of the earth, out of the countless millions, or billions or trillions, they would have been spot on in their observation and condemnation.
If I, of my own power and authority, tell someone there sins are forgiven, I am a blasphemer. Of course, if I tell them their sins are forgiven through and in Christ, then I am proclaiming that, not based on my own power or authority, but on Christ’s.
But, Jesus was not like all the other trillions of men who have ever lived, was he? No, he was the incarnate, unique Son of God. He was God in-fleshed. He, unlike any other, had the power and authority to pronounce the man’s sins forgiven.
Of course, on the other hand, it is far easier to say to the paralytic, your sins are forgiven. Why? When this is said, what do you see? Probably not much of anything. I mean the paralytic did not suddenly begin to hover over his cot. He did not suddenly start bursting forth in light. In other words, to the naked eye, not much seemed to have changed. There he is, still helpless on his makeshift cot.
But, as soon as you say to the paralytic, rise and walk, well now we expect to see a difference. Now, we expect to see the man get up from his cot and stand on his (heretofore) disabled legs. This is something that can be proven in a glance. Just watch the paralytic and see if he indeed gets up or not. It is verifiable by the senses. It is provable by sight.
Jesus, being Jesus, does both. Not only did he forgive the paralytic of his sins, but he commanded him to rise and walk as well. This man, to put it in our vernacular, got a two for one deal that day! Not only was his body healed and his legs restored, but his soul was cleansed as well. (Jesus even connected the two in the passage.)
The text tells us they all stood dumbfounded and amazed at the sight. In another account, it tells us the paralytic got up and went out of the house (notice now they make way for him!) glorifying God! I bet he did!
It is just like Jesus, isn’t it, to do more than we would think. It is just like him to bless us in ways we never even considered.
Jesus proved that he had authority over paralysis. He proved he had the power and authority to forgive sins. What sort of man is this?!
The greatest miracle Jesus performed for that paralytic that day was not the healing of his body; but rather, the forgiving of his soul.
Isn’t Jesus truly amazing?!
Just as he did that day for the paralytic, Jesus still does today. Jesus still, (and always will), has power and authority to forgive sins. He is the only One who does.
For those of us who have experienced his grace and forgiveness, we should do as that man did that day: glorify God!
When was the last time you glorified God for his forgiveness and your salvation? If it has been a while, now would be a great time to do it!
If you are reading this and have never experienced the forgiveness the paralytic did, I want you to know it is available. Jesus can forgive you as he did him. You must believe and trust in Christ as the Son of God, the Savior of the world: but more importantly, as your Savior. If you will, he will forgive you of your sins and you will become a child of the Living God!