Mark 2:7
This miracle is recorded also by Matthew and Luke. The former indicates its chronological position as occurring after the return from Gadara. Our gracious Lord "again entered into Capernaum," so slow is he to leave the most undeserving. The news of his arrival quickly spread; indeed, whenever he enters a home or a heart, he cannot be hid. True love and eager faith will surely find him, and in this passage we find an example of that truth.

I. THE COMING OF THE PARALYTIC is full of teaching for those who are now seeking the Saviour.

1. He had friends who helped him. Powerless to move, he was peculiarly dependent on their kindness. A sufferer from palsy not only needs much patience and resignation himself, but creates a demand for it in others, and so may prove by his presence in the home to be a means of grace to those called on to minister to him. To serve and help those who are permanent invalids is a holy service, to which many are secretly called, who therein may prove themselves good and faithful servants of the Lord. Such ministration needs a gentle hand, a patient spirit, a courageous heart, and a noble self-forgetfulness. Above all, we should endeavour to bring our sick ones to the feet of Jesus, that they may rejoice in his pardoning love. Our counsels, our example, and our prayers may do for them what these people did for their paralyzed friend.

2. He found difficulties in approaching Christ. The crowd was impassable. They ascended the staircase outside (Matthew 24:17), and so reached the fiat roof. Then they broke up the covering of the roof and let down the bed on which the sick of the palsy lay. These obstacles tried their faith, proved and purified it. There are difficulties in the way of our approach to Christ; some of which may be removed by our friends, others of which can only be overcome by our own faith and courage. Prejudices, easily besetting sins, evil companions, are examples.

3. The difficulties were victoriously surmounted. The fact that they were so was a manifest proof of the faith which animated this man and his friends. Some way is always open to those eager for salvation, though it may be one that seems unusual to onlookers.


1. He knew the man's deepest wants. Probably the paralytic was more troubled about his sin than about his sickness, although his friends did not know it. We ought to be more anxious about the soul than about the body. Christ Jesus reads our secret thoughts. "He knew what was in man." He noticed and exposed the unexpressed anger of his enemies (ver. 8). But while he discovers the secret sin, far more readily does he discern the silent longing for pardon.

2. He was willing and waiting to bless. There was no delay. The strange interruption to teaching was not resented but welcomed. At once he spoke the word of pardon for which the man's heart was hungering, although he foresaw the indignation and scorn which would follow on the declaration, "Thy sins be forgiven thee." Divine love is not to be restrained by human narrowness, whether in the Church or outside it.

3. He showed himself ready and able to forgive. Possibly our Lord saw a connection between this illness and some special sin. He guards us, however, against supposing that it is always so (Luke 13:15; John 9:3). Perhaps the secret pangs of conscience were in the way of physical restoration here. Sometimes pardon was given after cure (Luke 17:19; John 5:14). The scribes were right in their declaration that none but God can forgive sins. The Levitical priests, under the old dispensation, were authorized to announce Divine forgiveness, as God's representatives, after the offering of appointed sacrifices; but the scribes very properly recognized that Jesus claimed to do far more than that. He admitted that it was so, and as the Son of man (Daniel 7:13) he claimed the power they denied him, and at once gave a proof that the power was actually his. They might have argued that there was no evidence that the man's sins were forgiven; that Jesus was making a safe claim, which could not be tested. In order to meet this he said in effect, "I will now claim and exercise a power the result of which you can see; and it shall either brand me as an impostor, or else it shall be a sign that my former utterance had effect." Then said he to the sick of the palsy, "Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house." Like that man, may our recovered and redeemed powers be instantaneously used in obedience to Christ. - A.

But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins.
I think it is impossible not to be struck with this narrative. He not only shows His power here, but He shows an unrivalled and infinite ease in the exercise of it. For He lets His enemies themselves, as it were, choose the way in which it should be manifested; signifying that with Him it made no difference.

(J. Miller.)

I. Power to FORGIVE sin.

1. This Christ plainly assumes.

2. This power, without a Mosaic sacrifice, implies that Jesus was already a lamb slain — in the purpose of God.


1. This is a legitimate work of Jesus as Saviour, inasmuch as He undertook to bear our infirmities as well as our sins.

2. The resurrection will be the consummation of this power.


1. These cavillers were conquered.

2. When Jesus sits on His throne of judgment all cavillers will be put to shame.

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)

A poor cobbler, unable to read, was asked by an Arian how he knew that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. "Sir," he replied, "you know that when I first became concerned about my soul I called upon you to ask for your advice, and you told me to go into company and spend my time as merrily as I could, but not to join the Christians. Well, I followed your advice for some time, but the more I trifled, the more my misery increased; and at last I was persuaded to hear one of those ministers who came into our neighbourhood and preached Jesus Christ as the Saviour. In the greatest agony of mind I prayed to Him to save me and to forgive my sins; and now I feel that He has freely forgiven them; and by this I know that He is the Son of God!"

Preacher's Monthly.
What is the forgiveness of sins?

1. Two words in the New Testament denote this marvellous work. The meaning of the one is literally "to bestow grace — to grant undeserved favour." "Dealing out grace one towards another, as God, for Christ's sake, deals out grace towards you." The other means literally "to send away, to make to depart, to set out of sight by putting away." It fixes attention on the last element of the transaction, the release from penalties, the dread sentence of broken law. The other fixes attention on the first element of the transaction, that sovereign goodness in which it has its source. But what do we mean by the consequences of sin? Not outward inflictions. But

(a)Divine deprivations. Loss of spiritual privileges and their resulting benefits.

(b)Moral results of wrong-doing in its subject.As, for instance, increased disposition to sin; facility in transgression; the imprisonment and torment of evil habit; upbraiding of the guilty conscience; alienation from God; degradation from life; dread. Forgiveness lays an arresting, healing hand on each of these. It is gracious in its beginnings; free in its bestowment; complete in its influence. This fact reminds us —

1. That forgiveness comes to us out of the plenitude of the Divine nature. He is faithful and just to forgive. "I do it for My name's sake."

2. That this forgiveness reaches human hearts through the Son of Man. The phrase designates the Redeemer as having taken humanity into association with Divinity. The God-Man is the forgiving God. Coming to Him, and resting on Him, the chains are loosed. The Incarnate life bruises the serpent's head.

3. Spiritual activity is the manifestation and proof of redemptive forgiveness. Impotence was here visibly changed into strength; helplessness into self-helpful activity. Is the sinner forgiven? Behold he prayeth. Behold he walks. Behold he triumphs.

4. This great boon is freely bestowed.

(Preacher's Monthly.)

No wonder Christ's words made the scribes reason in their hearts, and ask this question. They were astonishing words, and strangely spoken.


1. Strange that Christ should speak to this man about his sins. He seemed to need bodily healing more than anything else, and it was for that he had been brought to Jesus. None but Christ could see that his need was deeper than this — that his moral powers were palsied, his soul in a state of guilt.

2. Christ's assumption of power to forgive sins appeared blasphemous. To pronounce another's sins forgiven, one must have access to his most secret thoughts. Such knowledge only God possesses, and he to whom God may reveal it.

II. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MIRACLES. They signify the special presence of God, and are warranted only as a seal to a most important Divine message. In this case the miracle established before those present the authority of Jesus to forgive sins. The Divine control over nature which He actually exerted testified to the truth of His claim rightfully to exercise another Divine prerogative, the effect of which cannot be discerned by the bodily senses.

III. THE EVIDENTIAL VALUE OF MIRACLES. Important to remember that Christ was always jealously watched by unfriendly critics, who would certainly have exposed Him had His pretensions to miraculous power failed.

IV. EFFECT OF THE MIRACLE. The out. casts were encouraged to come to one so powerful, and yet so merciful and kind.

V. THE OBJECT OF THE SAVIOUR'S MISSIONS. It is because our wants are so deep, that He has descended so low.

(G. F. Wright.)

Monday Club Sermons.
I. It is evident THAT CHRIST CONSIDERED HIS CHIEF CLAIM TO THE REVERENCE OF MEN WAS HIS POWER TO FORGIVE SIN. There is no want of man so central as his need to be rid of the power and guilt of sin. What costly expedients the world has adopted in the endeavour to free itself from the burden and the torture. That sense of unworthiness and ill-desert can neither be cajoled nor hunted cut of our being. It may not be an ever-present force. There are times when in the engrossments of business and the excitement of pleasure we forget what we really are. But in the depths of our nature the serpent lies coiled, only silent for a while, not destroyed, and in time we feel the old sting. Men exalt Christianity as the great civilizer, but it is the redemptive power of the gospel that sets it above all other agencies.

II. CHRIST EVIDENCES HIS POWER TO FORGIVE SINS BY VISIBLE MIRACLES. The transforming influence of grace is seen in individual character; also in the history of Christian missions.

III. If Christ has "power on earth to forgive sins," THEN CHRIST IS DIVINE. No man and no wisdom of men can ever effect the pardon and deliverance of the transgressor. Science has no remedies strong enough to expel the poison from the spiritual nature. By doing this Christ makes good His claim to be Divine.


(Monday Club Sermons.)

Monday Club Sermons.
One of our modern novelists has written the story of a man who was haunted with remorse for a particular sin, and though sometimes weeks would pass without the thought of it, yet every now and then the ghost of the old transgression would rise before him to his infinite discomfort. It is the story of almost every human life. Sin is not something which a man commits and has done with it. It becomes a part of his being. His moral fibre is changed, his moral stamina is weakened. A traveller soon drives through the malarious air of the Roman Campagna and is out of the poisonous atmosphere; but during his brief transit disease has found its way into his blood, and even though he sits under the cool shadow of the Alps, or on the shore of the blue Mediterranean, the inward fever rages and burns. A man sins, and in sinning introduces disease into his moral nature, and even though he abandons his evil courses the old malady works on. The forgiveness of sin which is so thorough and central that it rids a man of the power and guilt of sin — who is competent to give us that? No specific of man's devising, no course of moral treatment, can effect that. There is only One, Jesus Christ, who has power on earth to forgive sin in that complete and efficient fashion. And that is His chief glory and constitutes His principal claim upon us. It is to say but little of Him, to say that He is the wisest and purest and best that ever lived; that He is the perfect example; that He is the Teacher who makes no mistakes. I do not know Jesus Christ until I know Him in my experience as the One who has "power on earth to forgive sins." And that also is the glory and the commendation of the religion of Christ's gospel.

(Monday Club Sermons.)

Monday Club Sermons.
Some man who is not only morally corrupt, but also a mere negative quantity in society, experiences the renewing grace of God and comes into the consciousness of redemption and pardon. Vastly more than a transformation of moral character is effected. Numberless dormant powers of manhood are developed. Unsuspected strata of capacity are uncovered. Thrift and intelligence and enterprise are born, and the whole nature experiences a transformation akin to that wrought in the physical world by the coming of the springtime. There are numbers of such men in every community. So long as they were fettered with the consciousness of sin, all their powers and faculties were cramped; but when Christ spoke deliverance from guilt, their whole affectional and intellectual being felt the thrill and stir of a new life, and widened out and blossomed in most marvellous fashion. There is an infinite breadth to the assurance: "If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." What the Scripture calls the "liberty" of the children of God is not the little narrow ecclesiastical matter which so many people think it. It means affluence and opulence of life and possibility, and when one who has long been a mere cipher in the community branches out into all manner of healthy and handsome growths under the quickening of the pardoning love of Christ, the greatest of miracles is wrought before our eyes. We count it a stupendous achievement of genius when under the cunning hand of the artist the rough block of marble grows into the perfect statue; but what is that compared to the transfiguration of the living man which is so often effected by the Divine love manifesting itself in full and free and felt forgiveness? It is quite as marvellous as a new creation.

(Monday Club Sermons.)

Monday Club Sermons.
The legend runs that there once stood in an old baronial castle a musical instrument upon which nobody could play. It was complicated in its mechanism, and during years of disuse the dust had gathered and clogged it, while dampness and variations of temperature had robbed the strings of their tone. Various experts had tried to repair it, but without success, and when the hand of a player swept over the chords it woke only harsh discords and unlovely sounds. But there came one day to the castle a man of another sort. He was the maker of the instrument, and saw what was amiss and what was needed for its repair, and with loving care and skill he freed the wires from the encumbering dust and adjusted those which were awry and brought the jangling strings into tune, and then the hall rang with bursts of exquisite music. And so with these souls of ours, so disordered by sin that everything is in confusion and at cross purposes: it is not until their Divine Maker comes and attempts the task of repair and readjustment that they can be set right and made capable of the harmonies for which they were originally constructed. Men weary themselves in vain with their various expedients for securing peace of mind and riddance from the sense of guilt. Only God can give that, and when Jesus Christ accomplishes that in us we must needs cry out to Him, "My Lord and my God."

(Monday Club Sermons.)

I. THE ASTOUNDING PREROGATIVE THAT CHRIST JESUS ASSUMED. The despised and rejected man says, "The Son of Man hath power," etc., "Who can forgive sins but God only?" In the nature of things, it is only He against whom the crime is committed, it is only He whose majesty is violated, it is only He whose law is broken, that hath power to remit the penalty that He has imposed on the transgression of His law, the infringement of His majesty and the infraction of His authority. Even amongst the children of men this is held as a sacred and inalienable right; insomuch that mercy is the appropriate and inalienable prerogative of the Crown; and no subject, however exalted he may be in place or power, presumes to arrogate to himself — it would be high treason were he to arrogate to himself — the power to remit the sentence of the law. The judge may commend to mercy, the influential may interpose their interest; but it belongs to the sovereign to exercise the prerogative of the Crown, and to remit the sentence that is passed. But if this prerogative even among the children of men be inalienable, how much more must the prerogative of the King of kings and Lord of lords, who "is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent" — how much more must His prerogative be incommunicable, indefeasible, inalienable? "Who can forgive sins, but God only?"

II. THE EVIDENCE THAT HE GAVE in demonstration of His claim is clear as the noon-day sun, and as irresistible as the very power of God. Let us, then, see how He could substantiate so stupendous a claim as to forgive sins — all sins; forgive them in His own right, in His own name, of His own authority. The position was laid down, and the argument for its establishment was obvious. It was not intricate and dark, requiring a mighty intellect to grasp it, or a penetrating understanding to enter into its process. It was an appeal to every mall, that had an eye to see and a mind to understand.

III. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE HUMAN NATURE OF CHRIST AND THIS WONDROUS PREROGATIVE THAT HE EXERCISED — "The Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins." One might have imagined that He would rather have said in this connection, "The Son of God hath power on earth to forgive sins;" for surely it was only as He was "very God of very God," that He could have wielded the sceptre of the eternal Jehovah. But there is a beautiful propriety, there is a touching and exquisite fitness, in thus designating Himself "the Son of Man." Therefore it was not simply or so much as the Son of God alone, that the Saviour had this wondrous prerogative, but as the Son of Man, who became the Surety for sinners, who took the manhood into Godhead that He might be the Daysman between His fallen brethren and His unchangeable Father — that He might put His hand on both and so make peace — that He might bring God and man to one, and yet maintain His law inviolate, His majesty unsullied, His truth unimpeached, His justice uncompromised, and all His attributes invested with a new and nobler lustre than the universe had ever before beheld, or could have entered into created mind to conceive. Therefore, brethren, it was not by a simple act of sovereignty that the Saviour forgave sins. As the Centurion said to Paul, "With a great price bought I this freedom," so with a great price the incarnate God bought the glorious and benign prerogative of forgiving sins. He bought it with His agony and blood. He bought it by His meritorious and spotless obedience — by His glorious resurrection and ascension. By all these He bought this glorious prerogative of forgiving sins. So that "we are not redeemed with corruptible things as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Perceive you, brethren, the momentousness and meaning of this distinction? Let me by a simple illustration make it more clear to the plainest mind. It is conceivable that when a sovereign had arrived at an age to assume the sceptre of a nation, and wished to grace his accession to the throne by some act of regal munificence and clemency, he might proclaim an universal exemption from all debts contracted by any inhabitants of that land in days gone by. It is conceivable that he might do this; but if he did so, to the wrong and robbery of all the creditors of that land, would his clemency, do you think, add to his glory? would it give any pledge of his justice, integrity, or even common honesty towards his subjects? So far from it, his clemency would be lost sight of in the injury and the wrong he had done. But if that prince, being desirous to grace his accession to the throne by an act of clemency, in which justice should likewise shine, were from his own private resources to liquidate all the debts of all those imprisoned for debt throughout the length and breadth of the land, and then throw open the prison doors, all would applaud the deed; all would admire the exercise of sovereign clemency in perfect harmony with unimpeachable justice. So, if we may venture by low and earthly things to illustrate things sublime and heavenly, the blessed Son of God, the Prince and Saviour of mankind, "exalted to give repentance unto Israel, and the remission of sins," did not set the sinful debtors free, that owed to their Father an infinite debt which they had no power to pay — which they would throughout eternity have been paying and yet had throughout eternity to pay — He did not set them free by a simple exercise of His own authority, violating the obligations of law, the demands of justice, and the claims of the unfallen portion of the subjects of an everlasting Father. But He paid the debt; He became Surety, and He met the claim; He paid it to the uttermost farthing, till He could say with His expiring breath, "It is finished" — till He had "finished transgression, made an end of sin and brought in everlasting righteousness." The Father, well pleased in the full expiation accomplished by the Son, delights to forgive through that Saviour's name — "for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Christian brethren, if the Son of Man had "power on earth to forgive sins," how much more, if it be possible, hath He power in heaven to forgive sins?

(H. Stowell, M. A.)

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