Mark 2:8-12 – 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
What is amazing in what we just read? If you are not careful, you’ll miss it.
The story is familiar. Jesus was preaching from inside a house. Men carried a friend of theirs on a mat to Jesus hoping for a healing. The crowd was so thick that the men went up on the roof, opened a hole in the tiles, and lowered the man down before Jesus.
When the man was before Jesus, the Savior first pronounced the man’s sins forgiven. And that pronouncement was what set the religious teachers off. They were not going to complain if Jesus healed the man. What the teachers could not imagine is that Jesus would assume the right to forgive sins on God’s behalf. After all, the only person who can forgive sins against God is God.
Keep the conflict in mind in order to grasp the significance of the miracle. Jesus knew what the religious teachers were complaining about. And so Jesus heals the man to prove his identity and Bonafede’s. The rationale works like this. A declaration of forgiveness cannot be proven from earth, but a declaration of healing is verifiable. Both are things that require the power of God. If Jesus can do one, he can do the other. If Jesus can heal, he can forgive. If Jesus can forgive, Jesus is God.
The thing that is supposed to amaze us here is not the ability of Jesus to heal. We have seen that before and after in Mark. What is supposed to impress us is that Jesus can forgive. This is intended as a proof from Jesus to directly declare himself to be God in the flesh.
Here is what is amazing: Jesus is God and will forgive. The healing power proves it. Be amazed at who Jesus is. Be amazed that Jesus will forgive.
Friends, we are sinners. We have given enough offense to the infinitely holy God that we have earned for ourselves eternal punishment in hell. That God would forgive anyone at any time is utterly stunning. When we see that Jesus, God come to earth, is the door through which we enter for forgiveness, we must honor him. We must rejoice. We must run to Jesus and Jesus alone for forgiveness. And then we must worship, honor, thank, and live for Jesus. Our lives are for his glory.