And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
The contrast of reactions to a paralyzed man in this passage is so stark. The man's friends react with faith, Jesus reacts with compassion and the religious people react with judgment. Jesus senses the unspoken thoughts of the scribes and calls their thinking evil. My sense is that Jesus was not concerned about their questioning of his authority but of their indifference to a hurting man and his need to be forgiven.
The next thing Jesus does is breathtaking. He turns from the scribes and looks the hurting man in the eyes and simply says 'rise'. Reminds me of the passage when Jesus speaks to a dead man (Lazarus) and simply says 'come forth'. Christ's simple words have such power behind them. They are so unlike my words which are many and so often devoid of power. I wonder what it must have been like for a paralyzed man to hear Jesus say 'rise' and have your entire life change in a moment.
Help me to see hurting people with your eyes Lord. Give me words to help them rise.