“But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…”
It is a familiar scene: a paralytic being brought in on a mat. We know what he is seeking. What most, if not all, in his situation would seek: physical wholeness. And yet Jesus chooses not to acknowledge that tacit request at first, instead telling him in verse 2 that his sins are forgiven. An unexpected initial outcome both for paralytic and reader, but there it is.
Some of Jesus’ opponents took umbrage at such a divine claim to mercy, however. Blasphemy, they call it in verse 3. And blasphemy it would be were this not Christ.
Yet rather than extensively debating this point with those arrayed against Him, he offers only a few words before simply upping the ante. He does something undeniable: he heals the paralytic. What gets me about this is not so much the healing itself (miraculous as it is), but that Jesus almost seems to do it as an afterthought. Kind of like: “OK, fine. I’m not up for debating this today, folks. How about I just show you? See. How about that?” I paraphrase humorously, but the point is taken.
God in Christ has so much power at His disposal that even things which are completely impossible for us are done by Him without the bat of an eyelash. His relatively nonchalant healing of this man implies the rich wellspring of God’s authority and might. Knowing as we do from the rest of the Scripture that this is all tied to the deep love of God for His broken Creation makes it even better.