“And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven’” (9:1,2). We know the details of this story, largely from Mark; this is one of the few instances in which he provides more detail: took place in Capernaum, great crowd gathered, the paralytic brought by four men and lowered through the roof. We all know the old proverb about “missing the forest for the trees,” or getting so caught up on all the details that we miss the most important matter.
Jesus, however, does not allow us, or his immediate audience, to miss the main point: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins -- he then said to the paralytic – ‘Rise, pick up your bed and go home’” (9:6). Perfectly consistent with the angel’s announcement to Joseph in Matthew 1:21: “[Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (1:21). So much does Jesus do for us! But there is this primary, most important thing he has done: he has saved us from our sins!
Sinners Jesus will receive:
Sound this word of grace to all
Who the heav’nly pathway leave,
All who linger, all who fall.
Sing it o’er and o’er again:
Christ receiveth sinful men.
Make the message clear and plain:
Christ receiveth sinful men. -- Erdmann Neumeister (1718)