Today’s Gospel story contains another “epiphany” of who Jesus is and his mission – Jesus not only heals with the power of God, he forgives sins as God does.
We should not ignore the faith and effort of the paralyzed man’s friends in finding a way to get him to Jesus who is surrounded by such a crowd that the friends have to open up the roof above where Jesus sits in order to get their helpless friend the healing they know Jesus can give. In addition to the physical healing, there is the spiritual healing from the power of sin.
I do not believe Jesus is saying that the man is paralyzed because he committed some terrible sin in his life. That perspective was a popular misconception among some Jewish people, and may still exist today in the thinking of some – that one’s physical illness, sickness, or physical limitations is because of a personal sin committed by the one suffering.
What I do think Jesus is teaching in this story is reminding people that there is spiritual illness and deformity as well as physical illness and deformity, and that he has the power to conquer those as well. In fact, spiritual sickness is what Christ came to deal with first and foremost – the sin that separates us from full union with God. The story in today’s Gospel reminds us that while Jesus’s power is very able to deal with physical sickness, his main purpose is to cure us and save us from the spiritual sickness of sin. It is well worth remembering that our English word “salvation” comes from the Latin word for “healing.” Thus, the healing that Jesus comes to bring above all is the spiritual healing of sin which keeps us from being the children of God he has created us to be.