Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And again he entered into Capernaum, after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
Mr 2:1-12. Healing of a Paralytic. ( = Mt 9:1-8; Lu 5:17-26).
This incident, as remarked on Mt 9:1, appears to follow next in order of time after the cure of the leper (Mr 1:40-45).
1. And again he entered into Capernaum—"His own city" (Mt 9:1).
and it was noised that he was in the house—no doubt of Simon Peter (Mr 1:29).
And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
2. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door—This is one of Mark's graphic touches. No doubt in this case, as the scene occurred at his informant's own door, these details are the vivid recollections of that honored disciple.
and he preached the word unto them—that is, indoors; but in the hearing, doubtless, of the multitude that pressed around. Had He gone forth, as He naturally would, the paralytic's faith would have had no such opportunity to display itself. Luke (Lu 5:17) furnishes an additional and very important incident in the scene—as follows: "And it came to pass on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town," or village, "of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem." This was the highest testimony yet borne to our Lord's growing influence, and the necessity increasingly felt by the ecclesiastics throughout the country of coming to some definite judgment regarding Him. "And the power of the Lord was [present] to heal them"—or, "was [efficacious] to heal them," that is, the sick that were brought before Him. So that the miracle that is now to be described was among the most glorious and worthy to be recorded of many then performed; and what made it so was doubtless the faith which was manifested in connection with it, and the proclamation of the forgiveness of the patient's sins that immediately preceded it.
And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
3. And they come unto him—that is, towards the house where He was.
bringing one sick of the palsy—"lying on a bed" (Mt 9:2).
which was borne of four—a graphic particular of Mark only.
And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
4. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press—or, as in Luke (Lu 5:19), "when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude," they "went upon the housetop"—the flat or terrace-roof, universal in Eastern houses.
they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed—or portable couch
wherein the sick of the palsy lay—Luke (Lu 5:19) says, they "let him down through the tilling with his couch into the midst before Jesus." Their whole object was to bring the patient into the presence of Jesus; and this not being possible in the ordinary way, because of the multitude that surrounded Him, they took the very unusual method here described of accomplishing their object, and succeeded. Several explanations have been given of the way in which this was done; but unless we knew the precise plan of the house, and the part of it from which Jesus taught—which may have been a quadrangle or open court, within the buildings of which Peter's house was one, or a gallery covered by a veranda—it is impossible to determine precisely how the thing was done. One thing, however, is clear, that we have both the accounts from an eye-witness.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
5. When Jesus saw their faith—It is remarkable that all the three narratives call it "their faith" which Jesus saw. That the patient himself had faith, we know from the proclamation of his forgiveness, which Jesus made before all; and we should have been apt to conclude that his four friends bore him to Jesus merely out of benevolent compliance with the urgent entreaties of the poor sufferer. But here we learn, not only that his bearers had the same faith with himself, but that Jesus marked it as a faith which was not to be defeated—a faith victorious over all difficulties. This was the faith for which He was ever on the watch, and which He never saw without marking, and, in those who needed anything from Him, richly rewarding.
he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son—"be of good cheer" (Mt 9:2).
thy sins be forgiven thee—By the word "be," our translators perhaps meant "are," as in Luke (Lu 5:20). For it is not a command to his sins to depart, but an authoritative proclamation of the man's pardoned state as a believer. And yet, as the Pharisees understood our Lord to be dispensing pardon by this saying, and Jesus not only acknowledges that they were right, but founds His whole argument upon the correctness of it, we must regard the saying as a royal proclamation of the man's forgiveness by Him to whom it belonged to dispense it; nor could such a style of address be justified on any lower supposition. (See on Lu 7:41, &c.).
But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
6. But there were certain of the scribes—"and the Pharisees" (Lu 5:21)
sitting there—those Jewish ecclesiastics who, as Luke told us (Lu 5:17), "were come out of every village of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem," to make their observations upon this wonderful Person, in anything but a teachable spirit, though as yet their venomous and murderous feeling had not showed itself.
and reasoning in their hearts.
Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
7. Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?—In this second question they expressed a great truth. (See Isa 43:25; Mic 7:18; Ex 34:6, 7, &c.). Nor was their first question altogether unnatural, though in our Lord's sole case it was unfounded. That a man, to all appearances like one of themselves, should claim authority and power to forgive sins, they could not, on the first blush of it, but regard as in the last degree startling; nor were they entitled even to weigh such a claim, as worthy of a hearing, save on supposition of resistless evidence afforded by Him in support of the claim. Accordingly, our Lord deals with them as men entitled to such evidence, and supplies it; at the same time chiding them for rashness, in drawing harsh conclusions regarding Himself.
And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?
8. Why reason ye these things in your hearts—or, as in Matthew, (Mt 9:4) "Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?"
Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
9. Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee—or "are forgiven thee";
or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed and walk?—"Is it easier to command away disease than to bid away sin? If, then, I do the one which you can see, know thus that I have done the other, which you cannot see."
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
10. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins—that forgiving power dwells in the Person of this Man, and is exercised by Him while on this earth and going out and in with you.
(he saith to the sick of the palsy),
I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.
11. I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house—This taking up the portable couch, and walking home with it, was designed to prove the completeness of the cure.
And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.
12. And immediately he arose, took up the bed—"Sweet saying!" says Bengel: "The bed had borne the man: now the man bore the bed."
and went forth before them all—proclaiming by that act to the multitude, whose wondering eyes would follow him as he pressed through them, that He who could work such a glorious miracle of healing, must indeed "have power on earth to forgive sins."
We never saw it on this fashion—"never saw it thus," or, as we say, "never saw the like." In Luke (Lu 5:26) it is, "We have seen strange [unexpected] things to-day"—referring both to the miracles wrought and the forgiveness of sins pronounced by Human Lips. In Matthew (Mt 9:8) it is, "They marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men." At forgiving power they wondered not, but that a man, to all appearance like one of themselves, should possess it!
And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.
Mr 2:13-17. Levi's (OR Matthew's) Call and Feast. ( = Mt 9:9-13; Lu 5:27-32).
See on Mt 9:9-13.
And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?
Mr 2:18-22. Discourse on Fasting. ( = Mt 9:14-17; Lu 5:33-39).
See on Lu 5:33-39.
And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.
And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.
Mr 2:23-28. Plucking Corn-ears on the Sabbath Day. ( = Mt 12:1-8; Lu 6:1-5).
See on Mt 12:1-8.
And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.