This Gospel story is a story as familiar as the story of Cinderella or Ebenezer Scrooge, but like those old stories it is one we don’t mind hearing again.
The synagogue in Capernaum was not only packed out, but it was surrounded by crowds anxious to hear any word of Jesus that escaped out. Four men carrying a paralytic on a stretcher fought their way through the crowd behind the synagogue, then they hosted the stretcher up onto the building’s flat roof. Setting their patient down, they made an estimate of where Jesus was standing below. Moving five feet in front of that spot, they began removing the roofing tiles.
Inside the people listening to Jesus teach were distracted by the noise from above that got worse as bits of straw and clay began falling in from of Jesus. Our Lord, though, went on telling his Father’s word, paying no heed until the man on the rice sack stretcher was lowered down before his face.
Jesus said, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” You can imagine how people took those words. The men holding the four corner ropes would have been disappointed that they didn’t get their cure. The half ring of scribes sent up from Jerusalem as spies would have been happy because Jesus had committed the capitol sin of blasphemy by claiming to forgive sins, something only God can do.
I think the paralytic might not have been disappointed. It might have been that he felt his sinful excesses had brought on his paralysis; and his biggest fear was of the consequences that would follow from his dying in his sins.
Jesus turned on the scribes. And he overturned their intent of accusing him of blasphemy. By working a cure that could only be done by God’s power he spoiled their fun. He told the man to fold up his stretcher, and walk out of there, which he did to everyone’s amazement.
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