Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
HEALING OF A
This incident, as remarked on
appears to follow next in order of time after the cure of the leper
1. And again he entered into Capernaum--"His own city"
and it was noised that he was in the house--no doubt of Simon Peter
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
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.
3. And they come unto him--that is, towards the house where He was.
bringing one sick of the palsy--"lying on a bed"
which was borne of four--a graphic particular of Mark only.
4. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press--or, as
"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
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.
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"
thy sins be forgiven thee--By the word "be," our translators perhaps
meant "are," as in Luke
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
6. But there were certain of the scribes--"and the Pharisees"
sitting there--those Jewish ecclesiastics who, as Luke told us
"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.
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
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
8. Why reason ye these things in your hearts--or, as in Matthew,
"Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?"
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
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
(he saith to the sick of the palsy),
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.
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
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
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!
CORN-EARS ON THE