Sick of the palsy - See Matthew 4:24.
Lying on a bed - Κλινης, a couch or sofa, such as they reclined on at meals.
Seeing their faith - The faith of the paralytic person, and the faith of those who brought him; see on Mark 2:4; (note).
Be of good cheer - Θαρσει τεκνον, Son, take courage! Probably he began to despond, and Christ spoke thus to support his faith.
Thy sins be forgiven thee - Moral evil has been the cause of all the natural evil in the world. Christ goes to the source of the malady, which is sin; and to that as the procuring cause we should refer in all our afflictions. It is probable that this paralytic person had, in the earnest desires of his heart, entreated the cure of his soul, leaving his body to the care of others, as the first miracle of healing is wrought on his soul. In a state of helplessness, when we seek above all things to please God, by giving him our hearts, he often inspires others with the care of our temporal necessities. It may be necessary to be observed, that it was a maxim among the Jews that no diseased person could be healed till all his sins were blotted out. See Nedarim, fol. 41. Hence our Lord first forgives the sins, and then heals the body of the paralytic person. This appears to have been founded on Psalm 103:3. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, and healeth all thy diseases. Here pardon precedes health. See also Psalm 41:3, Psalm 41:4. It may be observed, also, that most people are more in earnest about their souls when in sickness than in health, and therefore are more earnest in prayer for salvation.
A man sick of the palsy - See the notes at Matthew 4:24.
Lying on a bed - This was probably a mattress, or perhaps a mere blanket spread to lie on, so as to be easily borne. Being light, Jesus might with propriety command him to take it up and walk, Matthew 9:6.
Mark says “they uncovered the roof,” Mark 2:4. Luke says “they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling,” Luke 5:19. To us it would appear that much injury must have been done to the house where Jesus was, and that they must be much incommoded by the removal of tiles and rafters, etc. An acquaintance, however, with the mode of building in the East removes every difficulty of this nature. Houses in Eastern countries are commonly square in their form, and of a single story. On approaching them from the street a single door is seen in the center, and usually, directly above it, a single latticed window. This destitution of doors and lights from the streets, though it gives their dwellings a sombre appearance, is yet adapted to the habits of retirement and secrecy among the people of the East, where they are desirous of keeping their “females” from observation. See the notes at Matthew 6:6. On entering the only door in front, the first room is a small square room, surrounded with benches, called the “porch.” In this room the master of the family commonly transacts business, and on private occasions receives visits. Passing through the porch, you enter a large square room directly in the center of the building, called the court. Luke says that the “paralytic” was let down “into the midst;” not in the midst of the “people,” but of the “building” - the “middle place” of the house. This “court” is paved commonly with marble; and, if possible, a fountain of water is formed in the center, to give it beauty, and to diffuse a grateful coolness. This room is surrounded by a gallery or covered walk on every side. From that covered walk doors open into the other apartments of the house.
This center room, or court, is commonly uncovered or open above. In wet weather, however, and in times of great heat of the sun, it is covered with an awning or canvas, stretched on cords and capable of being easily removed or rolled up. This is what Mark means when he says “they uncovered the roof.” They “rolled up” or removed this awning.
From the court to the roof the ascent is by flights of stairs, either in the covered walk or gallery or in the porch. The roof is nearly flat. It is made of earth; or, in houses of the rich, is a firmly; constructed flooring, made of coals, chalk, gypsum, and ashes, made hard by repeated blows. On those roofs spears of grass. wheat, or barley sometimes spring up; but these are soon withered by the sun, Psalm 129:6-8. The roof is a favourite place for walking, for repose in the cool of the day, for conversation, and for devotion. See the notes at Matthew 6:6. On such a roof Rahab concealed the spies Joshua 2:6, Samuel talked with Saul 1 Samuel 9:25, David walked at eventide 2 Samuel 11:2), and Peter went up to pray Acts 10:9. This roof was surrounded with a “balustrade,” or railing, breast-high, on the sides; but where a house was contiguous to another, and of the same height, the railing was lower, so as to walk from one roof to another. In cities where the houses were constructed in this manner, it was possible to walk through a considerable part of the city on the roofs. A breastwork or railing was of course built in the same manner around the “open space” in the center, to prevent persons from falling into the court below. This railing, or breastwork, is what Luke Luke 5:19 says they let him down through. They removed it, probably, so that the couch could be conveniently let down with cords; and, standing on the roof “over” the Saviour, they let the man down directly before him. The perseverance they had manifested was the evidence of their faith or confidence in his power to heal the sick man.
Be of good cheer: thy sins be forgiven thee - It may seem remarkable, since the man came only to be “healed,” that Jesus should have first declared his sins forgiven. For this the following reasons may be suggested:
1. The man might have brought on this disease of the palsy by a long course of vicious indulgence. Conscious of guilt, he may have feared that he was so great a sinner that Christ would not regard him. He therefore assured him that his offences were pardoned, and that he might lay aside his fears.
2. Jesus might be willing to show his power to forgive sins. Had he stated it without any miracle, the Jews would not have believed it, and even his disciples might have been staggered. In proof of it, he worked a miracle; and no one, therefore, could doubt that he had the power. The miracle was performed in “express attestation” of the assertion that he had power to forgive sins. As God would not work a miracle to confirm a falsehood or to deceive people, the miracle was a solemn confirmation, on the part of God, that Jesus had the power to forgive sins.
3. The Jews regarded disease as the effect of sin, John 9:2; James 5:14-15. There is a “real” connection between sin and suffering, as in the case of gluttony, intemperate drinking, lewdness, debauchery. Jesus might be willing to direct the minds of the spectators “to this fact;” and, by pointing them to a manifest instance of the effect of sin, to lead them to hate and forsake it. Diseases are sometimes the direct judgment of God for sin, 1 Corinthians 5:3-5; 1 Corinthians 11:30; 2 Samuel 24:10-14. This truth, also, Christ might have been desirous of impressing on the people.
Christ desires to work in many ways through the men of His appointment. Every worker in our sanitariums should regard himself as Christ's minister to teach and to comfort, to let the light shine forth in word and deed. Those who are blessed with the light of truth are to reflect light. In taking the name of Christ upon them they have pledged themselves to become laborers together with God, and a spirit of consecrated labor should be manifest in working out the Lord's plans. They are to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, presenting the beauty of His life in their own example of earnest, self-sacrificing labor. MM 196.1
I pray that the Holy Spirit may lend its sanctifying power to the workers in our institutions. My brethren and sisters, arouse, and become laborers together with Him who gave His life for the saving of the world. We must not lessen our efforts at this time. Christ asks you to labor with all the energies of heart and soul and mind. If you will lend the aid of your influence and effort to the work of Christ, angels will unite with you, making you a saving power for Christ.—Manuscript 57, 1912. MM 196.2Read in context »
Now do not worry yourself out of the arms of the dear Saviour, but rest trustingly in faith. He loves you; He cares for you; He is blessing you, and will give you His peace and grace. He is saying to you, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” You may be depressed with bodily infirmities, but that is no evidence that the Lord is not working in your behalf every day. He will pardon you, and that abundantly. Gather to your soul the sweet promises of God. Jesus is our constant, unfailing Friend, and He wants you to trust in Him.... UL 212.5Read in context »
The words falling from the lips of Jesus, “Thy sins be forgiven thee” (Matthew 9:2), are worth everything to us. He saith, I have borne your sins in My own body on Calvary's cross. He sees your sorrows. His hand is laid upon the head of every contrite soul, and Jesus becomes our Advocate before the Father, and our Saviour. The lowly, contrite heart will make very much of forgiveness and pardon.... TMK 235.4Read in context »