17 One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
In Luke 5, a paralysed man comes through the roof to be lowered right before Jesus – the owner of the house couldn’t have been happy about that! But what Jesus says next is extraordinary, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” To our ears, Jesus demonstrates a staggering lack of priority and appears politically incorrect? How can He say such a hurtful thing to a paralysed person? Why doesn’t He heal this man? Why does He talk about sin?
We often don’t understand why because we have a small view of sin. Many think of it as just a spot of grown-up naughtiness; not very serious; a bit of fun on the side. But, there’s nothing nice about it.
Jesus shows that sin is this man’s biggest problem; is our biggest problem. Not paralysis but sin! Sin is not just doing naughty things; it is not just lust or laziness or whatever. No, sin is ignoring God in the world He has made. It’s rebelling against Him by living without reference to Him. And, it has consequences. The Bible links sin with death – not just physical death, but eternal death. Sin matters.
The staggering claim Jesus makes is that He has the authority to forgive sin.
You can see the shock from the way the religious leaders react. They don’t mind the paralytic being called a sinner; they know everyone’s a sinner. Their problem is with what Jesus’ words reveal about Him (v21).
That’s the point! As He provides an abundance of fish, as He casts out demons, heals the sick, and as He forgives sins; He acts in God’s world with God’s authority. He acts as the Ruler of God’s world because He is!
And because He is, it gets very personal. Will I recognise Him? Will I recognise that He has authority over my death because He has the authority to forgive my sin or leave it unforgiven? Will I turn to Him? Will I recognise that He is my Lord (v8) too?
If Jesus is who He shows Himself to be then it is a scandal that we haven’t lived under his authority. But, if we have submitted to Him as our Lord, then the good news is that we too can hear those words: Friend, your sins are forgiven! What good news for sinners; what good news for me!