Jesus Forgives Sins and Heals a Man Lowered through the Roof

Matthew 9: 1-8

Mark 2:1-12

Jesus had performed several miracles now, mostly healing people of sickness or physical problems. One day, as Jesus was teaching in a house in Capernaum, people brought a man who was sick of the palsy.  

If you remember the Centurion’s servant that was healed, you may remember that palsy is a condition that means they cannot move in some way, sometimes with shaking.  This man was carried there by four others.

The house and area around the house was so crowded with people listening to Jesus teach, that those carrying the man with palsy could not even get to the door.  People were pressing so closely together they could not carry the man in.  But they did not give up.  This was important.  And they believed if they could get the man to Jesus, the man would be healed.  

So they found the way to the roof of the house and carried the man up.  Then, to let the man down into the house, they didn’t just open up part of the roof, the Bible says “they had broken it up” to make a hole to let the man down.  

Making so much effort to get this man to Jesus showed their belief.  Jesus recognized that faith.

Since Jesus had healed people before, and even healed someone with this kind of condition, most probably expected Jesus to heal this man also.  It seems that Jesus knew what people expected and he decided to teach what we all need even more than this man needed to be healed from the palsy.

Christ Heals the Palsied Man by David Lindsley

Jesus understood the faith of the man and those that brought the man to him. Jesus told the man, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”

This must have surprised many people that he didn’t heal the man, but talked of forgiving his sins!  There were some of the scribes there who were thinking that Jesus was committing a terrible sin by saying he could forgive sins – something only God can do.  It was the scribes’ job to know the law and write copies of the law.  The scribes knew that saying you could forgive sins without God’s authority was against that law.  They didn’t understand that Jesus was the Son of God; they didn’t know that Jesus really can forgive sins.

Jesus understood the thoughts of the scribes.  Jesus asked them why they thought this was so wrong.  He asked them which was easier, to forgive a man’s sins or to heal him and tell him to arise and walk?  Wouldn’t both of those things require a miracle?

Then, Jesus told them why he did this, to teach that he did have authority to forgive sins.  Then Jesus told the man with the palsy, “Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.”  

The man got up and went to his house, healed!

The Bible states that the people “marvelled, and glorified God” because they thought it was so wonderful that God had given such power to Jesus.

What do you think?

  • What do you think of the four who brought the man with palsy? Were they true friends?  Why didn’t they give up when they found the way too crowded with people?
  • How did Jesus know people’s expectations and the scribes’ thoughts?
  • Why did Jesus, at first, forgive the man’s sins, when it was obvious he had come for another reason?
  • What do we all need, even more than being healed of sickness?
  • What do we learn about Jesus’ authority and power from this story?

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