[17] On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. [18] And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, [19] but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. [20] And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” [21] And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” [22] When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? [23] Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? [24] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” [25] And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. [26] And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

Luke 5:17 – “… Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem …”
Why were all the Pharisees from the region and others from further afield coming to listen to Jesus? They had no doubt heard the reports about Jesus and had come to check things out. There is nothing inherently wrong about that, if the goal behind their investigation is to determine if Jesus is being biblical and fits the office that so many are claiming that he has, that of promised Messiah. There were no doubt many such claims being made in the face of the Israel’s oppression and it was not evil in itself to check to see if this one was as bogus as the rest. From what we know of the Pharisees however, it is likely that not all of them had pure motives. There were those who simply wanted to see if their power was going to be threatened, if Jesus was willing to tow their line and submit to their leadership. Jesus’ popularity was so great at this time that to have Him on your team would be a great asset. We know that Jesus did get genuine followers from the ranks of the Pharisees and so there would be some in this number who were genuinely open to the possibility that this was a man worth following, and that He was who He said He was.

Then the text says that the power of God was with Jesus to heal people. All the Pharisees are there and Jesus has the power to heal. In other words, they are going to see a display of power that will help them see that Jesus is no usurper, that He is the genuine article. And the miracle that we have recorded for us shows Jesus doing what He did in order to demonstrate to this fairly large assembly of Pharisees, just who He is. It is the well known account of a paralysed man being let down through the roof of a house so that Jesus can heal him. The firs thing that Jesus says is “your sins are forgiven”. He says this because it is evident from what is happening that they believe in Jesus.

But Jesus did not always pronounce forgiveness before He healed. He does so here so that the Pharisees can witness it. Jesus is about to show great mercy and grace. When the Pharisees grumble that a man dares to pronounce the forgiveness of sin, Jesus then heals the man to prove that He is indeed the One who can legitimately grant forgiveness. This healing is a statement that He is the Son of God. This is what Jesus says “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”. This is a clear statement that He is God.

He proves to them with the miracles that He has the right to forgive. The Pharisees have just said that only God can forgive and Jesus does not contradict them. He does not say “Oh no you are wrong. God can forgive sins and I can too.” Not at all. He agrees with them that only God can forgive sins and then He demonstrates why it is that He can. Conclusion? There is only one. Jesus is God.

The Pharisees will not accept this because their preconceived notions are more important to them than the truth. The supreme issue is always Jesus; who He is, what He is, what He did. They are crucial questions. The Pharisees valued their power, the ir popularity, their influence, both over people and with political leaders, more than they valued the Truth. There is so much that can ba applied to believers today from this but suffice it for now to conclude this. If a person’s understanding of Jesus is flawed, the rest just does not matter.

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