Luke 5:17-26 is one of the most fascinating passages in the New Testament.
It is here that the Lord Jesus uttered some of the most unforgettable words as it relates to His deity, authority, and ability to forgive sins. Here we also observe the faith of a man and his friends as they come before Jesus in desperate need of forgiveness of sin (and not just a physical healing for the man on his mattress).
As I have read this text, and heard teachings on it, I have mostly heard an emphasis placed on the paralytic's friend's faith. This makes sense in a lot of ways because his friends were doing very observable things: they took him onto the roof, they tore the roof up, and they lowered their friend down. However, I would imagine that the paralytic was the driving force of all his friends’ actions. This man must have heard of all of Jesus' mighty works and was desperate to be healed of his condition. This man's faith, which couldn't be seen in his own actions, most certainly was seen in his friend’s actions on his behalf. What confirms this man had faith is in verse 20. It seems like a double confirmation of the man's faith as it says, "And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” So, we see here that Jesus saw the faith of them as a group of people, "their faith", then He saw the faith of the man specifically, "Man, your sins are forgiven". In addition, in vv.24, Jesus commands the man to get up, pick up his bed, and go home, and the man obeys Him. Obedience is a sign of faith in Jesus, so this man clearly had faith in Jesus and that faith resulted in the man being healed and forgiven. What beautiful words these must have been to this man who wanted a physical healing but got a spiritual one as well. What a tremendous beauty that this man to not only have good friends to carry him but now having the greatest friend in the world taking care of him and forgiving his sins?
So now we move to the most glorious part of this passage. Jesus utters in verse 20 "man your sins are forgiven". In our culture today, these words don't seem out of place if you think about it. If I said to someone today "man your sins are forgiven" no one would really bat an eye. They would mostly likely conclude that, I am saying this because I believe that the person has placed their faith in God, and they are therefore forgiven. However, in this culture and context the Jews, the pharisees, didn’t think Jesus came from God or had any part with God. Later, you would hear them saying that Jesus cast out demons by the power of Satan. I think what we can't really see and feel, unless the Spirit of the Lord reveals it through the text, is the great authority in which Jesus said these words. Several times in scripture we see how Jesus spoke with great wisdom and authority and amazed the masses beyond anything they have ever heard. But so that no man, then and now, could question what Jesus was saying, He utters these words in verse 24 "But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”. He is God blessed overall and yet came to live among us for a time. He also has the power and authority to forgive all the sins of any man, woman, or child that comes to him in faith. To Jesus be the glory forever.