Healing of a Paralytic. ( = Mt 9:1-8; Lu
This incident, as remarked on Mt
9:1, appears to follow next in order of time after the cure of the
1. And again he entered into
Capernaum—"His own city" (Mt 9:1).
and it was noised that he was in the
house—no doubt of Simon Peter (Mr 1:29).
2. And straightway many were gathered together,
insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as
about the door—This is one of Mark's graphic touches. No
doubt in this case, as the scene occurred at his informant's own door,
these details are the vivid recollections of that honored disciple.
and he preached the word unto
them—that is, indoors; but in the hearing, doubtless, of the
multitude that pressed around. Had He gone forth, as He naturally
would, the paralytic's faith would have had no such opportunity to
display itself. Luke (Lu 5:17)
furnishes an additional and very important incident in the
scene—as follows: "And it came to pass on a certain day, as He
was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting
by, which were come out of every town," or village, "of Galilee, and
Judea, and Jerusalem." This was the highest testimony yet borne to our
Lord's growing influence, and the necessity increasingly felt by the
ecclesiastics throughout the country of coming to some definite
judgment regarding Him. "And the power of the Lord was [present] to
heal them"—or, "was [efficacious] to heal them," that is, the
sick that were brought before Him. So that the miracle that is now to
be described was among the most glorious and worthy to be recorded of
many then performed; and what made it so was doubtless the faith which
was manifested in connection with it, and the proclamation of the
forgiveness of the patient's sins that immediately preceded it.
3. And they come unto him—that is,
towards the house where He was.
bringing one sick of the palsy—"lying
on a bed" (Mt
which was borne of four—a graphic
particular of Mark only.
4. And when they could not come nigh unto him for
the press—or, as in Luke (Lu 5:19), "when they could not find by what way
they might bring him in because of the multitude," they "went upon the
housetop"—the flat or terrace-roof, universal in Eastern
they uncovered the roof where he was: and when
they had broken it up, they let down the bed—or portable
wherein the sick of the palsy lay—Luke
5:19) says, they "let him
down through the tilling with his couch into the midst before Jesus."
Their whole object was to bring the patient into the presence of
Jesus; and this not being possible in the ordinary way, because of
the multitude that surrounded Him, they took the very unusual method
here described of accomplishing their object, and succeeded. Several
explanations have been given of the way in which this was done; but
unless we knew the precise plan of the house, and the part of it from
which Jesus taught—which may have been a quadrangle or open
court, within the buildings of which Peter's house was one, or a
gallery covered by a veranda—it is impossible to determine
precisely how the thing was done. One thing, however, is clear, that we
have both the accounts from an eye-witness.
5. When Jesus saw their faith—It is
remarkable that all the three narratives call it "their faith"
which Jesus saw. That the patient himself had faith, we know from the
proclamation of his forgiveness, which Jesus made before all; and we
should have been apt to conclude that his four friends bore him to
Jesus merely out of benevolent compliance with the urgent entreaties of
the poor sufferer. But here we learn, not only that his bearers had the
same faith with himself, but that Jesus marked it as a faith which was
not to be defeated—a faith victorious over all difficulties. This
was the faith for which He was ever on the watch, and which He never
saw without marking, and, in those who needed anything from Him, richly
he said unto the sick of the palsy,
Son—"be of good cheer" (Mt 9:2).
thy sins be forgiven thee—By the word
"be," our translators perhaps meant "are," as in Luke (Lu 5:20). For it is not a command to his sins to
depart, but an authoritative proclamation of the man's pardoned state
as a believer. And yet, as the Pharisees understood our Lord to be
dispensing pardon by this saying, and Jesus not only
acknowledges that they were right, but founds His whole argument upon
the correctness of it, we must regard the saying as a royal
proclamation of the man's forgiveness by Him to whom it belonged to
dispense it; nor could such a style of address be justified on any
lower supposition. (See on Lu 7:41, &c.).
6. But there were certain of the
scribes—"and the Pharisees" (Lu 5:21)
sitting there—those Jewish
ecclesiastics who, as Luke told us (Lu 5:17), "were come out of every village of
Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem," to make their observations upon
this wonderful Person, in anything but a teachable spirit, though as
yet their venomous and murderous feeling had not showed itself.
and reasoning in their hearts.
7. Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who
can forgive sins but God only?—In this second question they
expressed a great truth. (See Isa 43:25; Mic 7:18;
Ex 34:6, 7, &c.). Nor was
their first question altogether unnatural, though in our Lord's sole
case it was unfounded. That a man, to all appearances like one of
themselves, should claim authority and power to forgive sins, they
could not, on the first blush of it, but regard as in the last degree
startling; nor were they entitled even to weigh such a claim, as worthy
of a hearing, save on supposition of resistless evidence afforded by
Him in support of the claim. Accordingly, our Lord deals with them as
men entitled to such evidence, and supplies it; at the same time
chiding them for rashness, in drawing harsh conclusions regarding
8. Why reason ye these things in your
hearts—or, as in Matthew, (Mt 9:4) "Wherefore think ye evil in your
9. Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the
palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee—or "are forgiven thee";
or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed and
walk?—"Is it easier to command away disease than to bid away
sin? If, then, I do the one which you can see, know thus that I have
done the other, which you cannot see."
10. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath
power on earth to forgive sins—that forgiving power dwells in
the Person of this Man, and is exercised by Him while on this earth and
going out and in with you.
(he saith to the sick of the palsy),
11. I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed,
and go thy way into thine house—This taking up the portable
couch, and walking home with it, was designed to prove the completeness
of the cure.
12. And immediately he arose, took up the
bed—"Sweet saying!" says Bengel: "The bed had borne the man: now the man bore
and went forth before them
all—proclaiming by that act to the multitude, whose wondering
eyes would follow him as he pressed through them, that He who could
work such a glorious miracle of healing, must indeed "have power on
earth to forgive sins."
We never saw it on this fashion—"never
saw it thus," or, as we say, "never saw the like." In Luke (Lu 5:26) it is, "We have seen strange
[unexpected] things to-day"—referring both to the miracles
wrought and the forgiveness of sins pronounced by Human Lips. In
9:8) it is, "They marvelled,
and glorified God, which had given such power unto men." At forgiving
power they wondered not, but that a man, to all appearance like one of
themselves, should possess it!
Mr 2:13-17. Levi's
(OR Matthew's) Call and Feast. ( = Mt 9:9-13; Lu 5:27-32).
See on Mt 9:9-13.
Mr 2:18-22. Discourse on
Fasting. ( = Mt 9:14-17; Lu 5:33-39).
See on Lu 5:33-39.
Mr 2:23-28. Plucking
Corn-ears on the Sabbath Day. ( = Mt 12:1-8; Lu 6:1-5).
See on Mt 12:1-8.