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.
When you doled out the pittance of bread to the starving poor, when you gave those flimsy garments to shield them from the biting frost, did you remember that you were giving to the Lord of glory? All the days of your life I was near you in the person of these afflicted ones, but you did not seek Me. You would not enter into fellowship with Me. I know you not. DA 640.1
Many feel that it would be a great privilege to visit the scenes of Christ's life on earth, to walk where He trod, to look upon the lake beside which He loved to teach, and the hills and valleys on which His eyes so often rested. But we need not go to Nazareth, to Capernaum, or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation. In doing as Jesus did when on earth, we shall walk in His steps. DA 640.2
All may find something to do. “The poor always ye have with you,” (John 12:8), Jesus said, and none need feel that there is no place where they can labor for Him. Millions upon millions of human souls ready to perish, bound in chains of ignorance and sin, have never so much as heard of Christ's love for them. Were our condition and theirs to be reversed, what would we desire them to do for us? All this, so far as lies in our power, we are under the most solemn obligation to do for them. Christ's rule of life, by which every one of us must stand or fall in the judgment, is, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Matthew 7:12. DA 640.3Read in context »
Faith grasped the promise, and the glad response was heard: “No more long pilgrimages to make; no more painful journeys to holy shrines. I may come to Jesus just as I am, sinful and unholy, and He will not spurn the penitential prayer. ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee.’ Mine, even mine, may be forgiven!” GC 75.1
A tide of sacred joy would fill the heart, and the name of Jesus would be magnified by praise and thanksgiving. Those happy souls returned to their homes to diffuse light, to repeat to others, as well as they could, their new experience; that they had found the true and living Way. There was a strange and solemn power in the words of Scripture that spoke directly to the hearts of those who were longing for the truth. It was the voice of God, and it carried conviction to those who heard. GC 75.2
The messenger of truth went on his way; but his appearance of humility, his sincerity, his earnestness and deep fervor, were subjects of frequent remark. In many instances his hearers had not asked him whence he came or whither he went. They had been so overwhelmed, at first with surprise, and afterward with gratitude and joy, that they had not thought to question him. When they had urged him to accompany them to their homes, he had replied that he must visit the lost sheep of the flock. Could he have been an angel from heaven? they queried. GC 75.3Read in context »
If a sanitarium connected with this closing message fails to lift up Christ and the principles of the gospel as developed in the third angel's message, it fails in its most important feature, and contradicts the very object of its existence.—The Review and Herald, October 29, 1914. MM 28.1
I have been instructed that we should lead the sick in our institutions to expect large things because of the faith of the physician in the Great Healer who, in the years of His earthly ministry, went through the towns and villages of the land, and healed all who came to Him. None were turned empty away; He healed them all. Let the sick realize that, although unseen, Christ is present to bring relief and healing.—Letter 82, 1908. MM 28.2Read in context »
God calls upon all who claim to be Christians to elevate the standard of righteousness, and to purify themselves even as He is pure. “Be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above.... Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.” “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance;” for you are to walk in the light, while you have the light; “but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”—Letter 6a, 1890. MM 147.1
The Christian physician is a minister of the highest order. He is a missionary. Those who through their skill and faithful, earnest effort, by wisdom from God, can relieve bodily pain, place themselves in such a relation to their patients that they can point them to the Soul Healer, who can say, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” ... MM 147.2Read in context »