When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
I think this might be one of the most important stories in the whole Bible. Not necessarily because of what happens – Jesus healing somebody and schooling the scribes is not uncommon – but because of what Jesus says. Although, in terms of what happened, the men lowering the paralytic through the roof is pretty cool. They had so much faith is Jesus’s ability to heal!
But when Jesus sees the paralytic man, He doesn’t heal him. Not right away. First He forgives his sins. That is so important! No matter how terrible our bodily hurts are, they are nothing compared to the hurt that sin does to our soul when we aren’t forgiven. Nothing, no cure, is more necessarily to our lives than forgiveness. The sort of forgiveness that only God can give.
And then Jesus points out to the scribes, it is a much simpler task to forgive someone’s sins than it is to heal them. Therefore, if Jesus has the power to heal, wouldn’t it logically follow that He has the power to forgive? Thus, through a combination of action and words, each backing the other up, Jesus proves who He is. Only God can forgive sins, and Jesus can forgive sins. Therefore Jesus must be the Son of God, the Messiah. Mark loves to use Jesus’s deeds as proof of His identity, probably because, as humans, we respond better to deeds and events than to words. Anyone can say words, but only Jesus could back those words up with His actions.