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Jesus Heals a Paralytic


When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. 3Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

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Mr 2:1-12. Healing of a Paralytic. ( = Mt 9:1-8; Lu 5:17-26).

This incident, as remarked on Mt 9:1, appears to follow next in order of time after the cure of the leper (Mr 1:40-45).

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 9:2).

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 houses.

they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed—or portable couch

wherein the sick of the palsy lay—Luke (Lu 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 rewarding.

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.).