Today’s reading: Mk 2: 1-17
Today we read the famous story of Jesus’ healing of a paralytic. Once again Jesus is teaching in Capernaum. Of note, the first verse says that Jesus was “at home”. It’s not clear if this refers to an actual house that was Jesus’ personal residence but it at a minimum shows that Capernaum was his home town during the period of his public ministry.
The place where Jesus is teaching is packed and not another person can fit into the area. As you will recall, the paralytic is lowered down through a hole made in the roof. As soon as this happens Jesus says to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Thus, Jesus heals the paralytic because of the faith of his friends. This is a powerful statement about faith and community. We don’t know the exact condition of the paralytic. Could he speak? Did he understand why they were taking him to see Jesus? Regardless, what this scene does show us is that our faith can bring blessings to others. That is why we must pray for other people.
Next, notice that initially, Jesus does not heal the man’s physical disability, first He forgives the man’s sins. The Pharisees are outraged by this, thinking to themselves that Jesus has blasphemed by claiming this power. Jesus, knowing what they are thinking, famously states:
And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question thus in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, take up your pallet 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, take up your pallet and go home."
And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
This exchange proves Jesus’s divinity in two ways. First, Jesus demonstrates his divinity by knowing what the Pharisees are thinking. Second, by healing the paralytic physically, He proves that the spiritual healing He has just performed, forgiving the man’s sins, was effective.
Tomorrow: 2:18 – 3:6