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Luke 5:21

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Who can forgive sins, but God alone? - If Jesus were not God, he could not forgive sins; and his arrogating this authority would have been blasphemy against God, in the most proper sense of the word. That these scribes and Pharisees might have the fullest proof of his Godhead, he works in their presence three miracles, which from their nature could only be effected by an omniscient and omnipotent Being. The miracles are:

  1. The remission of the poor man's sins.
  • The discernment of the secret thoughts of the scribes.
  • The restoration of the paralytic in an instant to perfect soundness.
  • See on Matthew 9:5, Matthew 9:6; (note).

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible
    Verses 17-26

    See this passage explained in the notes at Matthew 9:1-7.

    Luke 5:17

    On a certain day - The time and place are not particularly mentioned here, but from Matthew 9:1 it seems it was at Capernaum.

    Luke 5:19

    The tiling - See the notes at Matthew 9:1-7.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    How many are there in our assemblies, where the gospel is preached, who do not sit under the word, but sit by! It is to them as a tale that is told them, not as a message that is sent to them. Observe the duties taught and recommended to us by the history of the paralytic. In applying to Christ, we must be very pressing and urgent; that is an evidence of faith, and is very pleasing to Christ, and prevailing with him. Give us, Lord, the same kind of faith with respect to thy ability and willingness to heal our souls. Give us to desire the pardon of sin more than any earthly blessing, or life itself. Enable us to believe thy power to forgive sins; then will our souls cheerfully arise and go where thou pleasest.
    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 202

    While upon this earth, the Son of God was the Son of man; yet there were times when His divinity flashed forth. Thus it was when He said to the paralytic: “Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” Matthew 9:2. 8T 202.1

    “But there were certain of the scribes sitting there,” who “began to reason,” not openly, “but in their hearts, “saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” Mark 2:6; Luke 5:21. 8T 202.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 71

    But let us follow the history of the men whom the Jewish priests and rulers thought so dangerous, because they were bringing in new and strange teaching on almost every theological subject. The command given by the Holy Spirit, “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life,” was obeyed by the apostles; “they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. Then came one and told them, saying Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.” If the priests and rulers had dared act out their own feelings toward the apostles, there would have been a different record; for the angel of God was a watcher on that occasion, to magnify His name if any violence had been offered to His servants. TM 71.1

    “And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood upon us.” (See Matthew 23:34, 35.) “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.” TM 72.1

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    Ellen G. White
    The Desire of Ages, 267-71

    In the healing of the paralytic at Capernaum, Christ again taught the same truth. It was to manifest His power to forgive sins that the miracle was performed. And the healing of the paralytic also illustrates other precious truths. It is full of hope and encouragement, and from its connection with the caviling Pharisees it has a lesson of warning as well. DA 267.1

    Like the leper, this paralytic had lost all hope of recovery. His disease was the result of a life of sin, and his sufferings were embittered by remorse. He had long before appealed to the Pharisees and doctors, hoping for relief from mental suffering and physical pain. But they coldly pronounced him incurable, and abandoned him to the wrath of God. The Pharisees regarded affliction as an evidence of divine displeasure, and they held themselves aloof from the sick and the needy. Yet often these very ones who exalted themselves as holy were more guilty than the sufferers they condemned. DA 267.2

    The palsied man was entirely helpless, and, seeing no prospect of aid from any quarter, he had sunk into despair. Then he heard of the wonderful works of Jesus. He was told that others as sinful and helpless as he had been healed; even lepers had been cleansed. And the friends who reported these things encouraged him to believe that he too might be cured if he could be carried to Jesus. But his hope fell when he remembered how the disease had been brought upon him. He feared that the pure Physician would not tolerate him in His presence. DA 267.3

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    Ellen G. White
    Faith and Works, 67

    I will refer to the paralytic who had not used his limbs for many years. There he was. The priests, the rulers, and scribes examined his case and pronounced it hopeless. They told him that by his own sin he had brought himself into this condition, and there was no hope for him. But the word was brought to him that there was a man called Jesus who was doing mighty works. He was healing the sick, and He had even raised the dead. “But how can I go to Him?” he said. FW 67.1

    “We will carry you to Jesus,” his friends replied, “right into His presence; we have heard He has come to such a place.” FW 67.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Faith and Works, 68

    But that mighty evidence given to the Pharisees did not convert them. Men can so encase themselves in unbelief, doubt, and infidelity that the raising of the dead would not convict them. Because of their unbelief they would be in the same unbelieving position, unconvicted, unconverted. But all those who have hearts to receive the truth and ears to hear, glorify God. They exclaim, “We have never seen it on this wise before!” FW 68.1

    There was the impotent man, and as Christ talked with him, he told the pitiful story of how, just as soon as he would go down into the water to be healed, somebody else would step in before him. Christ asked him, “Wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5:6). What a question! That was what he was there for, but Christ wanted to call forth the expression of desire in that man's heart to be made whole. And when Christ bade him to rise, take up his bed and walk, he did just as Christ told him to do. He did not say, “Why, I have been here thirty years and have not taken a step during that time.” He did not stop to argue, but did just as he was bidden. He took up his bed and walked out and was healed from that time. FW 68.2

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