“Analysis of the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 2 verses 1-12, Jesus
Heals a Paralytic,” by Andrew J. Schatkin
My dear Christians and non-Christians, and you of all faiths and thoughts and all views and opinions, I bid you and ask you to join with me in another voyage of intellectual discovery where those who may wish to engage in critical thinking and do not engage in and accept media lies, falsehoods, political code words, and hype can join in the effort to gain truth and facts amid the barrage of corruption and virtual darkness we are confronted with and befuddled and made effective fools of. I welcome you in this quest and task of attaining and coming to know intellectual honesty and honest discernment. Join with me in this voyage of discovery to get at and find what is valid and authentic in the world of confusion and to come with me in tearing apart the curtain of lies and darkness that hides from us what is truth and facts.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, I will be examining another passage in the gospels, this time found in the gospel of Mark chapter two vv. 1-12, the healing of a paralytic by Jesus. What I well know is a great honor and privileges given to me to comment on interpret and explain an event in the life of Christ and his words and I am humbled by the task and approach this matter with anticipation and hesitation knowing my human inadequacy and my mortal limits and pray as I do this for guidance and enlightenment.
The passage from Mark chapter 2 vv. 1-12 is as follows: “And when he returned to Capernaum it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together so that there was no longer room for them not even about the door and he was preaching the word to them And they came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him and when they had made an opening they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic ‘My son your sins are forgiven.’ Now some of the scribes were sitting there questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak thus? Who can forgive sins but god alone?’ And immediately, Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves said to them, ‘Why do you thus question in your hearts? Which is better to say, Your sins are forgiven, or to say rise take up your pallet and walk? But that may know that the son of man has authority to forgive sins he said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you take up your pallet and go home.’ And he rose and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all so that they were all amazed and glorified god saying we never saw anything like this.
There are a number of strands of thought to take hold of and understand here. First is the point that Jesus saw and noted their faith as the crowd came to him and they had to remove the roof, make an opening, and let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. The faith here was bringing the paralytic to Jesus for cure and healing. This was a great and significant exhibition of faith and is the beginning point of grasping the entire series of events and words of Christ. The second and equally important point is that Jesus, with a clear statement of his divine authority, says to the paralytic that his sins are forgiven and of course the religious leaders present question this divine claim of Jesus. Jesus responds that the forgiveness of sins and the healing are one and the same and makes clear to the Jewish hierarchy and religious elite that in fact he is god and has the authority to forgive sins and so can affect this healing and cure. There are other matters to note here; not only do the crowd bring this paralytic to Jesus in an act of faith trusting his divine power to heal, but Jesus approaches the entire situation with the claim to forgive sins and heal the paralytic and equates the illness and paralysis with sin and says his power to forgive comes from his divine nature and the event can be seen either as cure and healing and the forgiveness of sins. One may say that Jesus make the specific point here that illness and sickness are the result and outcome of sin and that he chooses to forgive sins to cure this paralytic, but can also simply can say to this sick afflicted person ‘rise and walk.’ Those present here, named the scribes, have an issue with a man claiming the power to forgive sins and so claiming divinity. I would note the claim to forgive sins is clearly a claim of divinity and one may speculate that claim to forgive sins and claim of divinity led to his crucifixion.
There is a double story and point of a healing miracle and act of forgiveness. The scribes correctly recognize that the forgiveness of sins and that claim belong to divine activity and is an offense against god. Jesus’s claim to forgive sins would qualify as blasphemy and is a claim to divine authority a most troublesome claim in Palestinian Jewish circles. The term ‘son of man’ refers to Jesus as god’s representative. Jesus heals by words alone and the amazement of the crowd at both his claim to forgive sins and the cure and healing are both noted and evident.
My dear friends and colleagues and Christians and non-Christians, I hope I have given you some benefit in this essay and urge you, if you are so inclined, to read and reread this essay and more important return again and again to the biblical text and gain in reading and rereading a grasp of this event in the life of Jesus and his words and claim to be god in forgiving sins.