Back Home in Capernaum
BY NOW Jesus’ fame has spread far and wide, and many people travel to the out-of-the-way places where he is staying. After some days, however, he returns to Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee. Quickly the news spreads through the city that he is back home, and many come to the house where he is. Pharisees and Law teachers come from as far away as Jerusalem.
The crowd is so great that they jam the doorway, and there is no room for anyone else to get inside. The stage is set for a truly remarkable event. What occurs on this occasion is of vital importance, for it helps us to appreciate that Jesus has the power to remove the cause of human suffering and restore health to all whom he chooses.
While Jesus is teaching the crowd, four men bring to the house a paralyzed man on a cot. They want Jesus to heal their friend, but because of the crowd, they cannot get inside. How disappointing! Yet they do not give up. They climb up on the flat roof, make a hole in it, and lower the cot with the paralyzed man on it down next to Jesus.
Is Jesus angry because of the interruption? Not at all! Rather, he is deeply impressed by their faith. He says to the paralytic: “Your sins are forgiven.” But can Jesus actually forgive sins? The scribes and the Pharisees do not think so. They reason in their hearts: “Why is this man talking in this manner? He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins except one, God?”
Knowing their thoughts, Jesus says to them: “Why are you reasoning these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and pick up your cot and walk’?”
Then, Jesus allows the crowd, including his critics, to see a remarkable demonstration that will reveal he has authority to forgive sins on earth and that he is indeed the greatest man who ever lived. He turns to the paralytic and commands: “Get up, pick up your cot, and go to your home.” And he immediately does, walking out with his cot in front of all of them! In amazement the people glorify God and exclaim: “We never saw the like of it”!
Did you notice that Jesus mentions sins in connection with sickness and that forgiveness of sins is related to the gaining of physical health? The Bible explains that our first parent, Adam, sinned and that all of us have inherited the consequences of that sin, namely, sickness and death. But under the rule of God’s Kingdom, Jesus will forgive the sins of all who love God and serve Him, and then all sickness will be removed. How fine that will be! Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26; Matthew 9:1-8; Romans 5:12, 17-19.
▪ What was the setting for a truly remarkable event?
▪ How did the paralytic reach Jesus?
▪ Why are all of us sinful, but how did Jesus provide hope that forgiveness of our sins and perfect health are possible?