We are all so familiar with the story of the paralytic that we often fail to see all of the dynamics and the underlying truth which is: we are all in need of both forgiveness of our sins and healing from our natural human “paralysis.”
Thus Mark included this story at the beginning of this chapter to show us how we often jump to conclusions which are irrelevant or misguided because we have not been taught the basic doctrines of scripture. The rabbi’s had a saying “there is no sick man healed of his sickness until ALL of his sins had been forgiven”— yet they also said and affirmed that only God can forgive sins. How then does one know if “ALL” their sins were forgiven?
Enter Jesus who will shatter their perceptions. He asked: “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up, take your stretcher, and walk’? “ Thus by doing the harder first—that is forgiving of the man’s sin, which is invisible to the naked eye He proved that He was Forgiver of sins and the long awaited Messiah, the very Son of God. From that Jesus then vindicated his power by doing the easier which was healing of his paralysis which was visible and tangible. Now the scholars had a dilemma before them. They had asked: ‘Who can forgive sins but God alone?” and Jesus answered their thoughts with a threefold action: “rise” which tested the man’s faith, “take up your bed” which tested the man’s ability, “go home” which tested the man’s obedience. Thus Jesus answered the scholars question with the evidence: “the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
Barclay wrote: “The experts in the law were hoist with their own petard. On their own stated beliefs the man could not be cured, unless he was forgiven. He was cured, therefore he was forgiven. Therefore Jesus’ claim to forgive sin must be true.” This is the “aha moment” and when we are brought to the same point and see the evidence we have to ask: will I now take the step of belief that Jesus is who he said he was, the Son of God. From that moment we can then come to Him and not only be forgiven but healed of our human paralysis.