Mark 2:1-12 Authority To Forgive Sin

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Authority To Forgive Sin

It is possible that Jesus comes home to his own house in Capernaum, but the house may have also been one that he just used as a base.  Jesus told them the good news that he had to tell them, but then an opportunity occurs where he can settle an issue with regard to his authority.  Four men climb up the sturdy walls to the fragile thatched roof and rip it back.  Then they lower their friend in who has been paralyzed.  The man has both a spiritual and a physical component to his illness and the two were connected.  Illness has always got something to do with sin in the system.  It wasn’t the role of priests to directly heal such people.  God healed them and priests just confirmed his actions. The teachers of the law rightly point out that a person shouldn’t go around proclaiming that they forgive sins.  However, Jesus counters by showing that a prophet is proved right by his actions.  The sins are forgiven because the man is healed.  Then all the people, possibly even the teachers of the law, accept the conclusion.  The man was healed because his sins were forgiven.  Jesus had that authority.


Jesus, you showed to the teachers of the law that you had authority to forgive sin.  Thank you for forgiving mine.


  1. Where does Jesus return?
  2. What happens to the roof?
  3. How does Jesus demonstrate his authority to forgive?
  4. How has Jesus proven the words of scripture to be true for you?
  5. What is your response to Jesus’ authority to forgive sin?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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