Grace and Truth

This website is under construction !

Search in "English":
Home -- English -- 19-Good News for the Sick -- 037 (A Paralytic Finds Forgiveness and Help)
This page in: -- ENGLISH -- French? -- Hausa? -- Igbo? -- Somali? -- Yoruba?

Previous Chapter -- Next Chapter

19. Good News for the Sick

a) A Paralytic Finds Forgiveness and Help

“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralysed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, ‘Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, ‘Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat 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 tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed every one and they praised God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’ ” (Mark 2:1-12)

The event took place in Capernaum. Because of Jesus’ spreading fame a large crowd had gathered at the house where Jesus was staying. No space for more people remained in the house or, it would seem, even around the house. No entrance to Jesus was available.

Among those who wished to see Jesus were four persons who brought on a mat a man who had been stricken with paralysis. But with the door blocked, how could they get Jesus’ attention?

This house, like any typical Palestinian house, had a flat roof easily accessed by an outside staircase. Somehow the men managed to get to the staircase and, undaunted, climbed the stairs, carrying the paralytic on his mat. They proceeded to make a hole in the roof and lowered the man on the mat right in front of Jesus.

The Gospel account acknowledges that Jesus recognised their faith. But whose faith? Probably the faith of all five, the paralytic and his struggling helpers. But faith in what? Probably Jesus’ ability to heal the paralytic. Yet the account acknowledges also that Jesus recognised a need even more profound than that of physical health, namely, the presence and activity of sin, the ultimate root of all physical, mental and spiritual destruction, and the need to deal with it.

It is not clear that Jesus immediately linked the man’s paralysis of body with his sin. What is evident was his need to be free from both. For reasons best known to Jesus, He therefore responded initially to the paralytic: “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Only afterwards did He command the paralytic to stand up, take his bed and walk.

It was Jesus’ declaration that the sins of the paralytic were forgiven that infuriated the religious leaders. They immediately objected: “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

In response to their objection Jesus asked: “Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?” Without waiting for their response, Jesus ordered him to get up, take his mat and go home. And he did. No doubt he, too, with his kind friends who brought him to Jesus, joined the amazed crowd in praising God.

Indeed, this event was an extraordinary event. May we offer the following comments for further clarification of this event and its significance:

1. When the religious teachers stated that God alone can forgive sins, were they correct? Indeed, they were! Only God can forgive sins. The whole Bible testifies to this fact and many people of other faiths, too, would agree. If so, then was Jesus blaspheming when He declared that the paralytic’s sins were forgiven? Obviously the Bible testifies that Jesus was not blaspheming. How, then, to resolve this apparent difference that God forgives sins and Jesus forgives sins?

Jesus points to the resolution of this problem by referring to Himself as the Son of Man. He is the fulfillment of the vision seen by the great prophet, Daniel, before the coming of Jesus: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13,14)

With the help of this passage Jesus’ disciples and others began to understand that, yes, indeed Jesus is a man, indeed the perfect man. Yet He is also more than a man. In Him we experience God Himself coming to mankind and living among mankind. Literally, He is (as another one of His names describes Him) Immanuel (“God with us”)! To demonstrate His authority to forgive sins, He healed the paralytic. Both works, the healing of body and healing of heart, were works of God. And He did both.

2. Implicit within this account is the primary importance of knowing God’s forgiveness and how He forgives. God’s forgiveness is the sole cure for the ills of this world, for the conflicts between God and human beings and between human beings themselves. Here Jesus demonstrates His authority to forgive sins. Do you know anyone with authority to heal and forgive as Jesus did? In Chapter 8 we shall see how God forgives our sins through Jesus and what it cost Him.

Do you recognise your need for God’s forgiveness? Do you sometimes wonder whether you can have God’s forgiveness and how He can forgive you? Would you like to know? Would you like to have His assurance that He has forgiven you?

Page last modified on March 21, 2023, at 02:07 PM | powered by PmWiki (pmwiki-2.3.3)