Jesus has gotten famous enough at this point that the religious elites, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, have come to hear what Jesus is saying. And they have come from all over, so Jesus’s fame has spread throughout the Jewish provinces. These men are the ones who have dedicated their lives to knowing the Scriptures so well that they do its requirements perfectly, and thus can be accepted by God.
As always, a crowd had gathered to hear Jesus and get healing, but on this day, there were some friends who couldn’t get a paralyzed man through the press of people to get him to Jesus. But they could manage to get him on the roof by the stairs outside, and pull the roof tiles away in order to lower him down to where Jesus was.
And because of their faith, Jesus forgives the paralyzed man’s sins. Probably not what he expected, but it’s hard to tell. The scribes and Pharisees hear all this and start asking the proper questions. “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (v. 21) If some teacher starts acting as if they are God, it is right and proper to stop listening to them and proclaim them a false teacher to everyone who will listen. Except when that teacher actually is God, as Jesus is.
Jesus knows what they are thinking, and why, so He does something to let them know that they are wrong about Him. He acknowledges that anyone can say, “Your sins are forgiven.” After all, there’s no outward, physical sign of that spiritual reality. Then He heals the man of his paralysis and has him walk out the door in front of everybody.
Give us discernment to know true teachers of Your word from false ones, and let us glorify You when You heal ourinfirmities.