Harmony of the Gospels, Paralytic Healed


Harmony of the Gospels

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(9) Paralytic Healed

(Romans 3:23) Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-12, Luke 5:17-26


Jesus treated both sickness and sin.  When He removed sickness and disease, it was evident that a person had been miraculously cured, because there was an immediate improvement in their condition. But with sin it was different.  He came to us because of our sin, and He forgave men their sins, but the result was not visible to the eye.  He could forgive sin because He was God and because He would pay the penalty for sin by His death on a cross.

The Bible tells us that sin is a problem for every man and woman that ever lived.  Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  The “glory” of God is the approval of God.  All of us fail to receive the approval of God, because we are all sinners.  So how can we attain righteousness, which will bring His approval?  Jesus was asked this question one day “…..what shall we do, that we might work to works of God?”  This was His answer; “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:28-29)  And the important thing to know about this righteousness is that you don’t secure it because there is any merit in your faith or any merit in just believing.  Faith is not a work on your part.  The important thing is the object of your faith.  Spurgeon put it this way: “It’s not thy hope in Christ which saves you. It’s Christ.  It’s not thy joy in Christ that saves you, though that be the instrument, it is Christ’s blood and merit.”  This is something very important to keep focused on.

In the following event, Jesus will treat a man’s sickness and his sin.


And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. (Matthew 9:1)

“His own city”, is now Capernaum, because He was rejected by Nazareth.  He had been away for a long time, but now that He was back, it does not take long for those with needs to find Him.

And, behold, they brought to him a man sick with the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy: Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.  (Matthew 9:2)

Palsy causes a man’s limbs to shake, so that he can’t stand or walk, making him helpless.  This man with the palsy is brought to Jesus by four of his friends.  Mark gives a more complete account of what happened, describing how they lowered him into Jesus’ presence through a hole that they made in the roof.  There is no petition made, but it says that Jesus saw their faith.  They may have seen Jesus heal before or they could have been told of His miracles, but Jesus knew that they believed that He could heal, because He could see into their hearts.  But instead of healing the man, Jesus said to him, “Son be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”  I don’t think that the man came for forgiveness; he came to be healed of the palsy.  Jesus will get to the man’s physical problem, and along the way He is going to teach a lesson to some scribes and Pharisees.

And behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. (Matthew 9:3)

The scribes knew that only God could forgive sins, but they did not speak up.  They thought that Jesus was blaspheming and that He could not make the sick man to walk. 

Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?  For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? (Matthew 9:4-5)

They wouldn’t answer His question, and so they remained silent.

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.  And he arose, and departed to his house. (Matthew 9:6-7)

Jesus referred to Himself as “Son of man”, because that sums up for Him His vocation as a servant.  When He said, “Arise, take up thy bed…..”, it was the same words that He spoke to the impotent man by the pool of Bethsaida. He is demonstrating, by healing the man, that He has authority to forgive sins.  When the palsied man got up and walked, it meant that the One who could make him walk was also the One who could forgive sins.


And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. (Mark 2:1)

Jesus had been gone for “some days”.  He had to leave and withdraw into some desert places, because a leper He had healed didn’t do as he was told, but had told everyone that Jesus had healed him.  As a result, the crowds forced Him to leave, because He couldn’t do His work.  The miracles were wonderful, and that was what drew the people, but in some ways it obscured the work that He had come to do, and the words that He spoke.  He came to die upon a cross for the sins of the world, and to Him saving men’s souls was more important than their physical needs.

I can’t forgive sins and neither can you.  Only Christ can forgive sins.  And I can’t heal anyone in a miraculous way, and neither can you.  But Jesus can.  I believe strongly that faith healers and tongues and those types of things are not for this age.  I believe that they take the emphasis off the Gospel.  Our business is primarily to preach the Gospel.  Look at any ministry before you join yourself to it.  Ask yourself, “Is it known for healing or for providing some type of emotional experience, or is it known for preaching the Gospel?”

This verse says that He returned to “the house.”  That would be the house that He was in before He left Capernaum.  And He had been in Peter and Andrew’s house, along with Peter’s wife and his mother-in-law.  Peter’s house was not small, but was one of the better middle class houses.  There were stairs along the side of the house that led up to a flat roof and that will be important to what happens later.

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. (Mark 2:2)  

There was a great crowd gathered about the house.  They filled the doors, the windows and the streets around the house.  Verse 1, said that it was “noised about” that He was at Peter’s house, and it didn’t take long for a crowd to gather.

He preached the word of God to them.  And our emphasis today should be to give out the word of God.  It has the power to change hearts and lives.  We must remember that “…..it shall not return unto me void.”  (Isaiah 55:11)

And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was born of four, 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 where the sick of the palsy lay. (Mark 2:3-4)

The Lord must have abruptly stopped preaching, when the men began tearing up the roof.  That would have drawn everyone’s attention.  And when the palsied man was lowered into the room, there was silence and the crowd wondered; would He heal?  Could He heal?

When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. (Mark 2:5)

Whose faith is he talking about?  The four friends that brought him had faith that He would heal their friend, but their faith did not save him, even though that is what brought him into the presence of the One who can both heal and save.  It is wonderful to have a Christian mother that prays for you every day, but her faith will not save you.  You will have to have a personal faith in Jesus Christ. 

When Jesus saw the faith of the four men that brought him, He then dealt individually and personally with him and said, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”

Today our churches need stretcher-bearers, men and women of faith, to go out and bring the unsaved to hear the Gospel.  There are people who will never come to church, unless you personally ask them, because you have influence with them.  Some people are as paralyzed by indifference and prejudice as the palsied man was, so you need to take a corner of their stretcher and bring them to church.  That is what these men did.  They had the faith to bring the man to Jesus, so Jesus could deal with him personally and say, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”

But there were certain of the scribes setting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only? (Mark 2:6-7)

The presence of the scribes and Pharisees is an indication of their official criticism of Him.  They were jealous of Him, because of His popularity and because He could do things that they could not.  Their presence brought tension to the meeting.  They were probably seated close to Him, because of their prestigious position.  That, which is taking place here between Jesus and His enemies, can only be compared to the gathering of Israel to Mount Carmel, to watch the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal.

These religious men will not speak, but in their minds they are thinking; He speaks blasphemy, and only God can forgive sins.  They are wrong when they accuse Him of blasphemy, however they are correct in thinking only God can forgive sins.  God is the moral ruler of this universe.  He has made the laws and He defends His laws.  And one of those laws is that you will not get by with your sin.  You and I are guilty before God, because we are sinners.  We need forgiveness of our sins, and He does forgive.  But never get the idea that He forgives because He is big-hearted.  He forgives because Jesus paid the penalty for our sins!  The Lord Jesus is not speaking blasphemies, because He is God.  He will forgive sins because-He came to this earth to provide salvation for you and for me and for the man with the palsy.

And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason you these things in your hearts? (Mark 2:8)

These men will not speak out, because they had a run-in with Him before, and they came away with a bloody nose.  Jesus tries to drag them out, but they decide that the best thing to do is to just be quiet.

 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. (Mark 2:9)

They are not about to answer this question either, even though Jesus put them on the spot.  He is still going to deal with them.  He knew what they were thinking.  In John 2:25 it says, “Jesus…..needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.”  I am sure that they thought that it was just as impossible to forgive sins as it was for the paralytic to walk. 

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,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. (Mark 2:10-11)

In the Jewish mind, sin and suffering were tied together.  The only way to prove to them the reality of the forgiveness of sins was to remove what they believed to be the consequence of the sins.  So Jesus forgave his sins, and then told the man to get up and walk.

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 (Mark 2:12)

The man’s bed was probably a mat that he just rolled up and put under his arm.  He wouldn’t be coming back to the stretcher.  He’s going to walk from now on.  When our Lord healed, He did a good job.


And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law setting by, which were come out of every town in Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.  And behold, men brought in a man which had been taken in a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.  And when they could not find by what way they could bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.  And when he saw their faith, he said unto them, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. (Luke 5:17-20)

I am amazed at the strength and courage of Christ, during this incident.  He appears to stand alone; at least there is no mention of His disciples.  The scribes and Pharisees, His enemies, are setting on the front row.  He is surrounded by so many people, that escape is impossible for Him.  The air was thick with tension, however Jesus used this opportunity to demonstrate that He could not only preach the ethic, but that He also had the power to forgive sins.  The Pharisees said, “Only God can forgive sins.”  Little did they know how much truth was in those words?




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