(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
In the last Gem we were introduced to The Man Who Used Eight Legs! But at the end of the Gem I confessed, “I left out a very important part of the account of this healing of the paralytic man.” That ‘part’ is highlighted in Mark 2:5 through 11 (shortened a bit to save space):
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” And some of the scribes were... reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blas- phemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But immediately...Jesus perceived...that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” – He said to the paralytic...arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
Let’s study this Scripture phrase by phrase, to get a better idea of Who Can Forgive Our Sins?
Verse 5 – “When Jesus saw their faith….” Whose faith did Jesus see? As I said in the last Gem, it was the faith of five people!
- Four friends of the paralytic had faith and determination to bring their bedfast friend to Jesus to be healed! Apparently they had heard of the Lord’s miraculous ministry (highlighted in Mark chapter 1):
✞ Mark 1:21 through 28 – In the Capernaum synagogue, He cast out from a man, what could be interpreted as, a multitude of unclean spirits! Three times in Mark 1:24, the unclean spirit spoke of the man’s demon possession in the plural: ➔ “Let us alone!” ➔ “What have we to do with You?” ➔ “Did You come to destroy us?” ✞ Mark 1:29 through 31 – Jesus healed Peter’s mother- in-law of a debilitating fever! ✞ Mark 1:32 through 39 – He preached, healed, and cast out demons “throughout all Galilee....” (Verse 39). ✞ Mark 1:40 through 45 – Lepers were untouchable! Yet Jesus touched and healed this stricken man!
- Assuming the paralytic was conscious and could communicate to some extent, he also had faith! For he agreed to be transported to Jesus, the Healer! So he is the fifth person of faith!
Verse 5 – “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.”
- Does sin always produce illness? Consider the following:
✡ There was no disease, sickness, pain, or death be- fore Adam sinned! God completed creation, and in Genesis 1:31 it says, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” ✡ In Romans 5:12 we are told, “...through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned....” ✡ James 1:14 and 15 tells us, “...each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” ✡ When God restores perfection throughout creation, we are told in Revelation 21:4, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things are passed away.”
- Did the man’s paralysis come about because he had sinned? His individual sins are not listed. But…
✞ ...it is written in Romans 3:10 and 23, “There is none righteous, no not one....for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” ✡ ...consider what David wrote in Psalm 32:3 and 4: “When I kept silent [not confessing his sins to God] my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer.” ✞ ...Jesus said in John 8:34 and 36, “...whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.... Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” ➔ Slavery does not lend itself to bodily health! It wears a person down instead! ➔ But Jesus, when a person approaches Him with faith, frees that one from sin!
- The Savior does not always take away the general or specific results of sin, but apparently He did in this man’s case, healing his paralysis!
Verses 6 and 7 – “And some of the scribes were…reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’”
- The scribes were those who carefully copied the Scriptures. But their duties went far beyond that of copying.
✡ They were the founders of the synagogue after the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 586 BC. ✡ Scribes (also called lawyers in the New Testament) were teachers of the written law and its oral inter- pretations. Such interpretations became of greater authority than the written law of the Scriptures! (see Matthew 23:16-26). ✡ In Matthew chapter 23, scribes and Pharisees were roundly condemned by Jesus for their strict external legalism!
- Their thinking concerning Jesus’ first words to the paralytic man was both right and wrong! For they “…were…reasoning in their hearts…‘Who can forgive sins but God alone?’” (Mark 2:6 and 7).
✞ They were right! Only Jehovah God can forgive sins! ➔ For all sin is primarily against Him! It is as David admitted in Psalm 51:4 after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband Uriah to cover his adulterous affair: “Against You [God], You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.” ➔ Only He has made the way for sinners to be cleansed and absolved of their guilt before Him! That way is faith in Jesus... ■ ...who lived the perfect life that God demands, but that no human could accomplish! (see Leviti- cus 19:2; Matthew 5:48). ■ ...who laid down that perfect life as an offer- ing to pay for sin – all sin, for all mankind, for all time! (see Hebrews 10:12; I Peter 2:24; I John 2:2). ■ ...rose from the grave, conquering death, sin, the devil, and hell! (see I Corinthians 15:57). ■ ...who offers to us His own perfect righteous- ness in place of our sinfulness! (see II Corin- thians 5:21). ■ ...who is alive forevermore to bestow that sal- vation on everyone who comes to Him in faith believing! (see Hebrews 7:25). ✞ The scribes were wrong! For they did not recognize that Jesus was God! ➔ Their first thought was, “Why does this man speak blasphemies like this?” ➔ As the Jews later accused Jesus in John 10:33 when they were about to stone Him: “...we... stone You...for blasphemy...because You, being a man, make Yourself God.”
But Jesus proved to them “…that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins…,” by healing the paralytic man!
And we will continue this study in the next Gem!