And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy…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 him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. – Luke 5:18-20
The case which the narrative brings before us, is that of a man stricken down with paralysis…and, as I look at the case, I think I perceive with equal clearness that this paralysis was in some way or other, at least in the man’s own judgment, connected with his sin. He was evidently penitent, as well as paralytic. His mind was as much oppressed as his bodily frame. It is most probable that being burdened with a sense of sin he had a feeble hope in divine mercy…The affliction for which his friends pitied him was in his body, but he himself felt a far severer trouble in his soul, and probably it was not so much with the view of being healed bodily, as in the hope of spiritual blessing, that he was willing to be subjected to any process by which he might come under the Savior’s eye. I gather that from the fact that our Savior addressed him in these words, “Be of good cheer;” intimating that he was desponding, that his spirit sunk within him, and, therefore, instead of saying to him at once, “Rise, take up thy bed,” our tender-hearted Lord said, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” He gave him at the outset a blessing for which the patient’s friends had not asked, but which the man, though speechless, was seeking for in the silence of his soul. He was a “son,” though an afflicted one: he was ready to obey the Lord’s bidding when power was given, though as yet he could neither lift hand nor foot. He was longing for the pardon of sin yet could not stretch out his hand to lay hold upon the Savior.
Shall I need to appeal to my brethren who love their Lord, and say, band yourselves together to win souls? Your humanity to the paralytic soul claims it, but your desire to bring glory to God compels it. ~ C.H. Spurgeon