Jesus heals the man with the palsy

Jesus heals the man with the palsy

Paralytic at Capernaum.

(The Gospel History, Section 35)

And he entered into a boat and crossed over, and came unto his own city. And when he entered again into Capernaum after some days, it came to pass that he was teaching, and there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every village of Galilee and Judæa and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. And it was noised that he was in the house: and many were gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, no, not even about the door, and he spake the word unto them. And behold men bring unto him a man sick of the palsy lying on a bed, borne of four; and they sought to bring him in and to lay him before him. And not finding by what way they might come nigh unto him or bring him in because of the multitude, they went up to the housetop and uncovered the roof where he was; and when they had broken it up, they let down through the tiles the bed whereon the sick of the palsy lay into the midst before Jesus. And Jesus seeing their faith saith unto the sick of the palsy, Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee. But the Scribes and the Pharisees that were sitting there began to reason in their hearts, and to say within themselves, Why doth this man thus speak? Who is this that speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but one, even God? And straightway Jesus perceiving in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, answered and said unto them, Why reason ye these things? wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins are forgiven thee, or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (he saith to the sick of the palsy) I say unto thee, arise and take up thy bed, and go unto thy house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and went forth before them all, and departed to his house, glorifying God. And amazement took hold on all, and they glorified God which had given such power unto men, and they were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today. We never saw it on this fashion.

Jesus heals the man with the palsy

(The Saviour of the World, Vol II Book I Poem XII)

Beginning of the end, he brought to Christ,
That leper contumacious: lulled to rest
By His withdrawal, hatred lay awhile;
And after days had passed, again He sought
Capernaum by blue Gennesareth:
Not open teaching in the common ways
Was for Him now, but in a house he spake:
And doctors of the law were sitting by
From all the land and from Jerusalem;
Eager as sleuth-hounds following trail of blood,
They dogged His steps, laid wait upon His words,
From this time forth: the power of God to heal
The virulence of hatred and disease
Was present with them, and they heeded not.

That He was in their midst, the rumour spread;
Loyal Capernaum pressed to hear and see
Him whom the people loved, so was no room
Left, not so much as space about the door;
To them He spake the word, nor heeded He
That those were sitting by, savour of death
Drew from His words of life. A stir outside
Caused men to turn their heads: “Now, who comes in?”
None entered; by-and-by, above in roof,
The sound of tools, and lo, an open gap
Lets in the light of heaven; what is this?
A man let down on mattress by four cords,
Above, the hands of friends that lowered him,
Four eager faces, seeing all went right,—
And at the very feet of Christ he dropped,
This man with palsy; powerless he to move
Of his own wish, but by the grace of friends,
Sure, love for him made zealous in his cause;
Or else, content to turn from crowded door,
They’d borne their burden back, nor ever thought
Of breaking up the roof and through the tiles
Lowering the sick man to the very spot
Where Christ must needs behold him. Ever, He
Graces the plea of love; who cherisheth
Another’s weal is sure to win His ear;
Jesus, beholding, saw their faith, their love
For their poor fellow held in living death!
Tender He spake to the sick of palsy: “Son,
Be of good cheer”—thou art released, stand up?
Nay, for He knew the man had worse within—
The gnawing, silent, never-ceasing hurt
Of those sins he had done: pathetic eyes
Spake less of deprivation than remorse:
And Jesus, knowing all, yet called him “Son,”
Raised of His mercy that abasèd soul,
And spake the word rests not with men to speak—
“Thy sins are forgiven thee.” Authority
Spake once again as never in man’s ears!
The hearers, what thought they? The palsied man
Knew in himself how that his plague was healed,
In joy of His forgiveness knew no lack,
Not lack of power in those poor moveless limbs—
Not lack of anything—his God atoned!
Had secret sin his malady ensured,
God knowing, and he knowing, none beside,
No, not the four who loved him and had faith?

Something they knew, those doctors of the law;
Sincerely shocked, they heard the awful words
Which let a poor soul loose from all his sins;
Cried “Blasphemy!” nor had they said amiss
Had He who spake those words been less than God.
“For who,” said they, and therein they said well,
“Who but God only can forgive men’s sins?”
And Jesus knew their thoughts (as knows He ours),
Perceived that righteous indignation cloaked
Inveterate malice pursuing still His life;
“Why think ye evil in your hearts,” He saith,
“Not for God’s honour, but My ruin, lay
“Ye your heads together. Tell Me this,
“Whether is easier, to this poor man
“To say, Thy sins forgiven, or, Rise and walk?”
“Easy enough,” think they, with sneering lip,
“To say, Thy sins forgiven, for what’s to show?
“Why any man might deal out heart’s-ease thus,
“And none the wiser! But to claim this power
“Is blasphemy ’gainst God, and worthy death.”
“Nay then,” He saith, “and ye shall have a sign
“E’en for your condemnation; ye shall know,
“The Son of Man on earth can sins forgive!”
Then, turning to the sick of palsy, saith:
“I say to thee, arise, take up thy bed
“And walk, thus laden, to thy house.” He rose,
Before them all, took up his bed, went forth
To his house before them, glorifying God,
And the sweet grace of Him had set him free
From twofold bondage on that blessed day!
No more we know of him, but sure a man,
So apt in his response to Christ’s least word,
Forgat Him not, but followed Him and served,
Kept alway in the presence of that Power,
Knew to forgive his sin! All were amazed—
(The doctors of the law, people and priests,
Amazement held them fast), and, praising God
Who had given such power to men, and filled with fear,—
“We’ve seen strange things to-day! Never till now
Hath man forgiven sin,” they said, “and in sign
Of pardon, raised a palsied man to power!
This a new thing,—we never saw it thus!”

The sign we see not more; signs had their season,
Are there for us as for the men who saw;
Repeats He not the lesson He hath taught;
Ever as sign of the Kingdom, given by Christ
For men to con, remains it for all time;—
And paralytics are no more restored
As evidence that Christ forgiveth sin.

Above all grace, to Christ, dear was the Law,
Stern schoolmaster to whip poor souls to God!
While King may of his grace reprieve the wretch
Doomed for the coming morn, his clemency
Asserts, not abrogates, the general law:
Who sinneth he shall suffer—it is writ,
Else would men violate all sanctities!
The Law remains, no jot doth He forego;
But that best part, forgiveness, is for us,—
The Testament above the signature
Of witnesses who be of small account.

St. Mark ii. 1-12;
St. Luke v. 17-26;
St. Matthew ix. 1-8