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.…
It is not so easy a matter as it might seem, to explain the multitude of the miracles that are narrated or referred to in these Gospels which give us all that we know of the life of Jesus the Messiah. The accounts of them make up a large part of the four Gospels. Why is it that the three brief years of Christ's miracles should have been so largely consumed in these hundreds, thousands of acts of healing men's bodily ailments and infirmities, and even inconveniences? What was the purpose, and what was the result, of all these mighty works?
1. If the one object of Christ's miracles was directly to reduce the sum of human misery, then they were a failure; for their result was inappreciably small and insignificant. What a mere drop of solace in an ocean of agony 1 What an atom of comfort beside the huge, mountainous mass of human woe.
2. Such an object as that of arbitrarily interrupting the general course of human suffering by miraculous interference, not only was not accomplished by the power of Christ, but it ought not to have been accomplished it would not have been a blessing. The notion that there was too much pain and suffering in the world — more than was right, more than was best, more than was needed by mankind for their own good — the notion that God our Father had dealt hardly by His children, and that the Son of God, with a superior love, came down to mitigate the hardship which the Father's too great severity had imposed — is quite too much like some other of the obsolete notions of a mediaeval theology, and quite too much unlike the Word of God. For it is not true. God tolerates no pain in the world that can be spared. It was not in revenge or cruelty, but in that justice which is another name for love, that He pronounced on the apostate race the curse of toil and suffering and death. His curse was the best blessing that mankind, sinful, apostate, were capable of receiving.
3. The real answer is declared in the text. When God interferes to break the dreadful chain of moral causes that binds penalty to sin, He gives sign and token of the same, by breaking also the chain of physical cause and effect that holds the creation groaning under bondage to bodily pain and weakness. When He sends His only-begotten into the world, He adopts this way to signalize Him to the wretched, the poor, the hungry, the sick, the palsied, the sinful and unhappy of every land and language and century, as God's authorized Commissioner.
4. Christ's works, moreover, set before us the way of salvation — the way in which He gives it, the way in which we are to receive it. The miracles are parables — not the less parables for being also facts. And this miracle, in particular, shows the order in which the devil's works are destroyed by the Holy One of God — not first pain and sorrow, and then sin; but first sin, and then the pain, sorrow, death that sin has wrought.
(Leonard W. Bacon.)
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.