- JESUS HEALS A PARALYTIC AT CAPERNAUM. Matthew 9:2-8 ; Mark 2:1-12 ; Luke 5:17-26
- And when he entered again into Capernaum after some days. Luke uses the general expression "those days" ( Luke 5:17 ), referring to the earlyportion of our Lord's ministry in Galilee. Mark says, "some days",which implies the lapse of a considerable interval.
- It was noised that he was in the house. The healing of the leper created such excitement that for some time, several weeks, Jesus keptout of the cities. He now, after the excitement has subsided, quietlyenters Capernaum, and probably goes to the house of Simon Peter, nowlooked upon as his head quarters in Capernaum ( Mark 1:29 ). His entranceinto Capernaum marks the end of his first missionary tour throughGalilee.
2:2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room [for them], no, not even about the door1: and he spake the word unto them2.
- And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room [for them], no, not even about the door. Oriental houses are one ortwo storied structures, built in the form of a square, or rectangle,with an open space in the center called the court. They have one doorwhich opens from the street into an open space called the porch, andthis porch in turn opens upon the court. In this porch there is usuallya stairway leading to the roof. The roofs are invariably flat, and aresurrounded by a breastwork or parapet to keep those on them fromfalling off. Roofs or housetops are used as we use yards, only they aresomewhat private. Some think that this house was a two-storiedstructure, and that Jesus was teaching in the upper room or secondstory. If this were so, there would have been little profit to thepeople who clung about the street door, for they could neither see norhear. Besides, a two-storied house would probably have been beyond themeans of Simon Peter. It is more likely that Jesus was in the roomopposite the porch across the court. If so, the crowd at the door mightcatch an occasional word, or by tiptoeing obtain a momentary glance;and thus fan the hope of some ultimate satisfaction.
- And he spake the word unto them. The gospel is here called the "word", for it is the Word among words, as the Bible is the Book amongbooks.
2:3 And they come, bringing unto him a man sick of the palsy1, borne of four2.
- And they come, bringing unto him a man sick of the palsy. "Palsy" is an abbreviation of the word "paralysis". It is caused by a cessationof the nervous activities. See Matthew 4:24.
- Borne of four. In the East bedsteads were practically unknown. An Oriental bed is a thin mattress, or pallet, just large enough for a manto lie upon; and those generally used by the poor today are made ofsheepskin with the wool on it. Such a bed could be easily carried byfour men, if each took hold of a corner.
2:4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the crowd1, they uncovered the roof where he was2: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed whereon the sick of the palsy lay3.
- And when they could not come nigh unto him for the crowd. To these four who sought Jesus it seemed a case of now or never. If they waitedtill another season, Jesus might withdraw himself again for "somedays", or the palsied man might die. "Now" is always the day ofsalvation.
- They uncovered the roof where he was. Some have thought that removing the roof merely means that they took away the awning over thecourt, and also that the removal of the tile merely means that theytook down the parapet or wall which prevented people from falling fromthe roof into the court. But the language is strongly against such aconstruction. An awning is not a roof, and it is rolled up, not "brokenup". Moreover, the man was let down "through the tiling" ( Luke 5:19 ),which seems to indicate that the remaining tiles encased an openingthrough which he was lowered. The tiles were plates of burnt clay,suitable for roofing rather than for building walls or parapets.
- And when they had broken it up, they let down the bed whereon the sick of the palsy lay. We are not told in what part of the house Jesusstood, but evidently an opening was made in the flat roof above him,and the man was lowered to the floor in front of Jesus by means ofshort straps or pieces of rope fastened to the four corners of the bed.A stout parapet would have aided rather than hindered, if the body hadbeen lowered into the court.
2:5 And Jesus seeing their faith1 saith unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins are forgiven2.
- And Jesus seeing their faith. The four friends of the sick man showed their faith by those bold and persistent efforts which tookliberties with the house of a neighbor; and the palsied man showed hisfaith by consenting to the extraordinary means employed in his behalf.
- Saith unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins are forgiven. The affectionate address, "Son", might have ordinarily surprised the Jewishdoctors, who held themselves too far removed from sinners to speak thus