THE HEALING OF A PARALYTIC
Mark 2:1-5 And again He entered into Capernaum, after some days; and it was noised that He was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and He preached the word unto them. And they come unto Him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto Him for the press, they uncovered the roof where He was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, He said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
It is evident that Jesus, either to preach the coming kingdom of God to the most people, or to avoid the pressing crowds, traveled extensively in Galilee from city to city. Here Jesus returns to Capernaum, which seemed to be one of the centersof His public Galilean ministry. This city was also the home of Peter, Andrew, James, and John. And as we learn in verses that follow the lesson text, it was the hometown of Levi (Mark 2:13-14), also known as Matthew (Matt. 9:9), the tax collector, whom Jesus called to follow Him. It didn't take long for the people of Capernaum to learn that Jesus was in their city. And soon, it was noised that He was in the house. Although Jesus stayed at the home of Peter on a previous occasion (Mark 1:29-31), we are not told that the home in the lesson text was the same.
As soon as the news spread that Jesus was in the city, many were gathered together filling the home until there was no room for others to enter in. The crowd was so pressing that the door was blocked and many outside could not see Him, but it is possible they could still hear what He was saying. With such a great enthusiastic audience, what did Christ do? He preached the word unto them. This certainly tells us that the preaching of God's word is to take place at every opportunity, and is not restricted to a certain day or in a designated place of worship. As He usually did, Jesus preached most assuredly about the kingdom of God, which was at hand, as well asHis doctrine of eternal salvation that He made available to the all people of the world through His Son, Christ Jesus.
With the multitudes assembled, many sought His compassionate, miraculous healing power. Men and women, that were sick and afflicted by various diseases, came to Him, or were brought to Him by others. And they come unto Him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. This rare disease noted here, as palsy, is better described as paralysis. It is the loss of the use of the motor skills of any, or all of the limbs, usually due to brain or spinal cord disease or damage. It is generally an affliction that is intractable and without cure, especially during biblical times when modern technology was lacking. One having this disease was known as a paralytic. Unable to move on his own power, this paralytic was carried on his bed to the home in which Jesus was preaching. Because of the multitude of people, they were unable to bring this man through the crowds into the presence of Jesus. Determined to do so, they uncovered the roof of the home over the room where Jesus was, and let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. Jesus, witnessing the faith of the paralytic, and those that carried him, and with His ever-present compassion, said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
Jesus' first response to the paralytic and those bearing him was to note their faith. They recognized, not only the divine power of Christ to heal the body that is diseased, but also to heal the soul that is dead in sins. The text indicates that this man's paralytic condition could possibly have resulted from some past sinful act, but is not stated in a definite manner. However, Jesus recognized the repentant will and contrite heart of the paralytic as well as those that carried him into His presence. Therefore He first forgave their sinful past. In the audience of this miraculous event were scribes - an upper class religious group of Jews that were devoted students and teachers of the Mosaic Law. Luke says that this group was made up of Pharisees and doctors of the law (Luke 5:17). They immediately accused Jesus of blasphemy for contending to have the power to forgive sins, which they attributed only to God. They did not deny that Jesus had the power to heal the sick, diseased, and infirm, because it took place before their very eyes.
Realizing this, Jesus asked them whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk (Mark 2:9)? Jesus then demonstrated Himself to be the Son of God, and, therefore, the promised Messiah. He confirmed His power to forgive the sins of one's soul by demonstrating His power to heal one's body of diseases. Turning to the paralytic man, whose sins He had just forgiven, He now told the man to arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all (Mark 2:11-12). Had Jesus only forgiven this man's sins before this multitude, His divinity could have been denied. Instead His miracle confirmed Him to be God's Son. Matthew said the same, but with a more complete description of this incident. By inspiration of God, Matthew wrote, 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 (Matt. 9:6). By this He confirmed Himself to be the Savior by, not only forgiving his sins, but also by healing this paralytic before their eyes, insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion (Mark 2:12). This was an affirming commendation given to Christ Jesus as the Son of God, that was never before, never during that time of history, and never will be given to any other man or woman that ever lived on earth. To God be the glory!