An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”
(Mark 2:5)

When the Lord Jesus had re-entered Capernaum and was staying at Peter’s house (cf Mark 1:29; Mathew 8:14), it wasn’t long before the people learned He was there. Large crowds had gathered to hear Him (2:1-2). Mark tells us that among the crowd were four men carrying their paralyzed friend. Seeing there was no hope in getting through the thick crowds, they climbed onto the roof. No doubt with great effort, ingenuity, and courage, they managed to get their crippled friend onto the roof also. From there they dug a hole through the ceiling and let their friend down (with ropes?) into the house before the Lord (2:3-4). The display achieved the desired result; the Lord’s attention was arrested. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee” (2:5). Certain religious leaders who were present and heard the Lord’s remark were incensed. “Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies?” they complained, “who can forgive sins but God only?” (2:7). Of course their question was in some sense well placed. Since all sin is directed at God ultimately (Psalm 51:2-4), it stands to reason that God alone can forgive sin. The LORD Himself declared through the great prophet Isaiah, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25). Through His man Jeremiah, the LORD promised regarding His people that “they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). In forgiving sin, the Lord Jesus was declaring is own divine equality with His Father (cf John 5:19-29). Of course it is easy to claim divine authority; cult leaders of every stripe have been doing this from time immemorial. It is quite another thing, however, to give supernatural demonstrations, visible expression of this claimed authority. This is precisely what the Lord Jesus did here. He asked His detractors which was easier, to say “your sins are forgiven” or “take up your bed and walk.” Obviously the latter is much harder. It requires a visible demonstration of power where the former does not. The Lord proceded to so command the paralytic and he was healed instantly (2:9-12). This account is remarkable in that it details visible expressions of several very precious, though otherwise invisible, realities. These include the four friends’ love for each other and their faith in Jesus as well as the Lord’s unmatched power and authority. It also reveals the Lord’s love for even His critics; the miracle was accomplished, in part, that they might know Who He really is (2:10). May the Lord help us to bring our love and faith to continual, visible, and God-honoring expression also!

God bless,

pastor john