Mark 2: 1-12 – Jesus Forgives Sins (First Conflict Story)

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The first controversy is occasioned by Jesus’ words of forgiveness to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven” (Mk 2: 5). The Scribes who hated these words could not believe their ears! To them the words of Jesus sounded like blasphemy because they knew that only God can forgive sins. For Jesus it is quite different. He makes use of this exclusive divine prerogative and forgives the sins of the paralytic. When challenged, Jesus demonstrates his authority to forgive sins by healing the paralytic (Mk 2: 10-12).

It is somewhat surprising that Jesus forgives the sins of the paralytic before he heals him of the physical malady. Is there a connection between sin and sickness? Apparently there is. Disease, disorder, both mental and physical, and death itself were believed to be the consequence of the sinful condition of humanity (Cf. Rom 5: 12-14; Jn 5: 14; 9: 2). Every healing is a form of the suppression of the dominion of sin and death. Human beings can be fully restored to wholeness only when sin is removed by forgiveness. This is what brings about a radical and total healing. By his double action of forgiveness and healing Jesus makes available here and now the unconditional and unmerited love of God. This is the concrete manifestation of the presence of the kingdom in Jesus.

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