And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.…
We learn from these words -
I. CHRIST'S CONSCIOUSNESS OF HIS OWN GREATNESS. He assumes the right to forgive men their sins (ver. 20), and, when this right is challenged by those present, he asserts it (ver. 24). And he does not dispute that this is a Divine prerogative. When it is claimed that only God can forgive sins (ver. 21), his reply is one that confirms rather than questions that doctrine. To a very large extent our Lord's Divinity was in abeyance. Fie was voluntarily accepting limitations which caused him to be numbered among the human and the finite. But his authority and power were in him, potentially; they were under a commanding restraint. Here and there, now and again, as on this occasion, it seemed fitting that they should be put forth. And it magnifies "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," that all the while that he was stooping to such lowliness, such poverty, such endurance, he was conscious of the fact that Divine right and Divine power were within him, to be exercised when he would. The Son of man had power on earth to forgive sins.
II. HIS AUTHENTICATION OF IT. His greatness was often questioned, sometimes denied; and often our Master allowed men to think of him as the Teacher or the Prophet whom they were to judge by his life or by his doctrine. But sometimes he vindicated his claims in a way that completely silenced, if it did not convince, his critics. He authenticated himself by some deed of mighty power. He did so now. Not that the exercise of healing power was one whit more Divine an act than the forgiveness of sin; not that an act of pity for bodily incapacity was greater or worthier than one of mercy and succour to the soul. That could not be. But that the working of the miracle was a more obvious and signal indication of the Divine than an act of forgiveness. And by this gracious and mighty work our Lord proved himself to be the One who had a right to say, "Thy sins be forgiven thee." We may say that the gospel of Jesus Christ is now authenticated by its power. We are sure that the message of grace and mercy which we preach does come from God because (among other reasons for our assurance) we witness the mighty power of Christian truth. We find it doing what nothing else ever tried to do - enlightening multitudes of dark minds, redeeming and restoring foul hearts, transforming evil lives, lifting men up from the dust and the mire of sin and shame and bidding them walk in the ways of righteousness.
III. OUR APPROACH TO THE SAVIOUR. It was the approach of this man to the Lord that led to Christ's words of mercy and then to his deed of power. The man could not and would not keep away from his presence; he was resolved to make his appeal to the great Healer, cost what it might to reach his ear. This is the approach that is successful - seeking the Lord with the whole heart, with a fixed intent to seek until he is found. Not a languid interest in Christ, not a pursuit of righteousness which may be turned aside by the first curiosity or indulgence that offers itself; but a holy earnestness which will not be denied, which, if one entrance is blocked, will find another, which knocks till the door is opened, - this is the search that succeeds. Not, indeed, that Christ is hard to find or reluctant to bestow; but that, for our sake, he does often cause us to continue in our seeking that our blessedness may be the fuller and our faith the firmer and our new life the deeper for our patience and our persistency.
IV. THE SUPERABUNDANCE WHICH IS IN CHRIST. This poor paralytic sought much of the Lord, but he found a great deal more than he sought; seeking healing for his body, he found that, and with that mercy for his soul. Christ has more to give us than we count upon receiving. Many a man has gone to him asking only for present relief from a burden of conscious guilt, and he has found that salvation by faith in Jesus Christ means vastly more than that. He finds that the forgiveness of sin is the initial step of a bright and blessed future, that it is the earnest of a noble inheritance, In Christ our Lord are "unsearchable riches;" and they who have received the most have only begun to find what a world of excellency and blessedness they have gained by hearkening to his voice and hastening to his side and entering his holy service. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.