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 all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Comment: Let us not forget that one of the main objects of this gospel record is to show that Jesus is the Son of God. This is not in the way that in the myths of surrounding lands the deities visited the earth for a bit of sex fun and ended up with half man/half god children! Mark is presenting Jesus as truly God/truly man. So far, after recording the voice from heaven (God speaking) proclaiming Jesus as God’s Son, he has stressed several amazing things – the quality of Jesus teaching (with authority); his command over evil spirits and normal illness; even to the point of touching and healing a leper.
Here we see two roofs falling in. Firstly the crowd was so huge that the friends of the paralyzed man had to destroy the roof of the building. I’m sure that at least a few bits of it fell on those directly below! Then, secondly, By saying what He did, Jesus causes the roof of the judgement of the Pharisees to come collapsing on His own head. Jesus forgave the sins of the ill man. ‘Blasphemy’ was the outraged cry – ‘Only God can do that!’ And I think that in the eternal sense we all know that to be true. Jesus then asked them which of two commands was easier to give. (‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’?) The first cannot be proven – easy to say, but it is in the realm of the unseen. The second is pretty sensational if it is followed by appropriate healing. Jesus said ‘Just so that you may know that I have the power to forgive sins, I will heal this man!’ And He did!
Prayer: What hope Your power to forgive gives us, O, Jesus.