But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?” Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, “Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? “But so 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, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
Lastly, we see how Jesus responded to this man. What the men were looking for, He supplied. He also did abundantly more than they asked for—just as He has done for us.
The center of the story is this: the cross is prominent. Jesus forgave the man’s sins before He healed him because his deepest need wasn’t physical; it was spiritual. The focal point of Jesus’ power is His forgiveness. He sees our faith and blesses it; He does this not to meet our felt needs, but our deepest needs. Jesus came to fulfill an eternal purpose—to bring lost sinners to a right relationship with God. Ultimately, faith always points people to the cross.
Jesus was declaring Himself to be God, a declaration that the scribes found blasphemous. Jesus, however, proved the scribes wrong by commanding the paralytic to rise after he declared his sins were forgiven. To demonstrate that He had power to do the invisible miracle of forgiving sins, Jesus performed the visible miracle of healing the paralytic. The result? The paralyzed man got up and walked out, carrying the symbol of his need as a testimony to the whole crowd. When we stop short from moving for any reason, let us remember what Jesus did in that moment and what He can do when we risk for Him.
- What does Jesus’ response here tell us about His mission? about our mission?
- What can we learn from Jesus’ response to His critics? How should we respond when our faith is met with skepticism by those around us?
- Praise God for the forgiving Savior.