When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” – Mark 2:5-7
In our first reading today from Leviticus 24:16, we saw what happens when a person blasphemes God; death by stoning. Now, members of the Sanhedrin, the Scribes, were present when Jesus spoke these words forgiving another’s sin. By doing so, he was making himself an equal with God.
The Jews believed that a person with an infirmity was a person who had sinned against God. The story of Job shows this attitude when his friends come to comfort him, and Zophar recommends to Job that it is his sin that has caused his current plight (Job 11:13-15).
Back to today’s gospel, the questioning of the Scribes is answered with Jesus’ action. It also makes us pause and ask, ‘Why did Jesus say his sins were forgiven if he planned to heal the man?’ Wouldn’t it have saved him a lot of trouble just to heal him and skip the dialogue?
Probably. But Jesus came to heal the souls of all men through His redemptive act of love on the Cross. His challenge to the understanding of the Scribes about sin and sickness, he antis up, when challenged about those whose company he keeps.
“Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said to them [that], “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” – Mark 2:16-17
If he calls sinners and offers forgiveness through his healing them, Jesus demonstrates he is a physician not only of the body but of the soul. His signs and wonders keep pointing to a reality that Jesus was more than a prophet; his words and his works manifested the truth of God among us. If only we have eyes to see and believe.
May God bless you!