Mark 2:5-12. When Jesus saw their faith The faith of the bearers of the paralytic, as well as of the paralytic himself, manifested by their making these extraordinary efforts to bring him to Jesus, he had compassion on the afflicted person, and, previously to his cure, declared publicly that his sins were forgiven. But there were certain of the scribes, &c. See whence the first offence cometh! As yet not one of the plain, unlettered people, were offended. They all rejoiced in the light, till these men of learning came, to put darkness for light, and light for darkness. We to all such blind guides! Good had it been for these if they had never been born. O God, let me never offend one of thy simple ones! Sooner let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth! These scribes, hearing what Christ said, were exceedingly provoked. And though they did not openly find fault, they said in their own minds, or, perhaps, whispered to one another, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? “The word βλασφημια , blasphemy, in profane writings, signifies slander, calumny, or any kind of opprobrious language. But in Scripture it denotes opprobrious speeches against God’s being, attributes, or operations, such as when we ascribe to God the infirmities of men, or to men the perfections and operations of God; it signifies also irreverent speeches, addressed immediately to God, such as when we curse God, as Job’s wife desired him to do.” Macknight. The meaning of the word here is, Why doth this fellow arrogantly assume to himself what belongs to God? a sense which it has 16:65, and in other passages. These Pharisees and teachers of the law, being ignorant of our Lord’s divinity, thought he was guilty of blasphemy in pretending to forgive the man his sins, because it was an assuming of what God had declared to be his incommunicable prerogative, Isaiah 43:25. Whereupon Jesus, knowing all that passed, immediately reasoned with them on the subject of their thoughts, by which he gave them to understand that it was impossible for any thought to come into their minds without his knowledge, and consequently proved himself to be endued with the omniscient Spirit of God. He next demonstrated, by what he said to them, that the power he claimed did really belong to him, demanding, Whether is it easier to say Namely, with authority, so as to effect what is said; Thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say, ( to command, as the word ειπειν often signifies,) Arise and walk That is, whether is easier, to forgive sins, or to remove that which is inflicted as their punishment? The Pharisees could not but be sensible that these things were one and the same, and therefore they ought to have acknowledged that the power which did the one could really do the other also. If it be objected to this, that the prophets of old wrought miraculous cures of diseases, but never claimed the power of forgiving sins, neither could claim it; the answer is, that the cases are widely different; none of the prophets ever pretended to work miracles by his own power, as Jesus did. The Pharisees making no answer, Jesus, without troubling himself any further, (except to tell them, that what he was about to do would demonstrate his power on earth to forgive sins,) turned to the paralytic, and bade him rise up and carry away his bed. And the words were no sooner pronounced, than the cure was accomplished: the man was made active and strong in an instant. He arose, took up his bed with surprising vigour, and went off, astonished in himself, and raising astonishment in all who beheld him. The Pharisees indeed, it seems, were only confounded; but the rest of the people were not only struck with amazement, but affected with a high degree of reverence for God, and admiration of his power and goodness, glorifying him, and saying, We never saw it on this fashion!
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