Today we have one of the most delightful stories in all four Gospels; and we can do no better than to picture it from the beginning.
There were four men in Capernaum who had been part of the crowds on a previous Sabbath evening when Jesus cured all the sick people who came to him. They had a buddy who was completely paralyzed, and so they were on fire with the scheme of bringing him to Jesus.
The trouble was that Jesus had become so popular that when the four brought their buddy on a stretcher, not only was the synagogue packed, but people were ten deep surrounding it.
The four friends of the paralytic were not lacking in resourcefulness. Pushing their stretcher through the crown, they forced their way up a stairway to a roof garden above the synagogue. Then, with no worry about the laws against such behavior, they one by one removed the floor tiles, and from below them, the ceiling tiles of the synagogue.
We still have the foundations of that synagogue. It as a little bigger than a good-sized classroom, and it had a divider down the middle, separating the men from the women.
Jesus was standing, addressing the assembly, as the dust and straw began showering the people in the front rows. As the man on his canvas descended on its four ropes, Jesus had the composure to continue with his words to the assembly.
Then, he looked the paralytic in the eyes. Perhaps Jesus there saw deep remorse for the sins of youth that had brought the paralysis on the man. Responding to that, Jesus said, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”
For the four friends those five words were an unsatisfactory reward for the trouble, and for Our Lord’s enemies those words were great evidence they could use against Jesus in charging him for acting like he was God.
To silence both groups, Jesus told the man to hop down, to fold up his stretcher, and to carry it home. The joyous man made his way out, with everyone touching him.