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MATT. ix. 1, 2.
And He entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city. And, behold, they brought to Him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
By His own city here he means Capernaum. For that which gave Him birth was Bethlehem; that which brought Him up, Nazareth; that which had Him continually inhabiting it, Capernaum.
This paralytic however was different from that one who is set forth in John1. For he lay at the pool, but this at Caper-1 John naum; and that man had his infirmity thirty and eight years, but concerning this, no such thing is mentioned; and the other was in a state destitute of protectors, but this had some to take care of him, who also took him up, and carried him. And to this He saith, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee, but to that He saith, Wilt thou be made whole?? And the other He John 5, healed on a sabbath day, but this not on a sabbath, for else the Jews would have laid this also to His charge; and in the case of this man they were silent, but in that of the other they were instant in persecuting him.
And this I have said, not without purpose, lest any one should think there is a discrepancy, from suspecting it to be one and the same paralytic.
But do thou, I pray thee, mark the humility and meekness of
HOMIL. Our Lord. For He had also before this put away the multitudes *from Him, and moreover when sent away by them at Gadara, He withstood not, but retired, not however to any great distance. And again He entered into the ship and passed over, when He might have gone over afoot.
For it was His will not to be always doing miracles, that He might not injure the doctrine of His Humanity".
Now Matthew indeed saith, that they brought him, but the 1 Mark others, that they also broke up the roof, and let him down'. And they put the sick man before Christ, saying nothing, but committing the whole to Him. For though in the beginning He Himself went about, and did not require so much faith of them that came unto Him; yet in this case they both approached Him, and had faith required on their part. For, Seeing, it is said, their faith; that is, the faith of them that had let the man down. For He doth not on all occasions require faith on the part of the sick only: as for instance, when they are insane, or in any other way, through their disease, are out of their own control. Or rather, in this case the sick man too had part in the faith; for he would not have suffered himself to be let down, unless he had believed.
Forasmuch then as they had evinced so great faith, He also evinces His own power, with all authority absolving his sins, and signifying in all ways that He is equal in honour with Him that begat Him. And mark; He implied it from the beginning, by His teaching, when He taught them as One having authority; by the leper, when He said, I will, be thou clean 2; by the centurion, when upon his saying, Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed, He marvelled at him, and celebrated him above all men; by the sea, when He curbed it with a mere word; by the devils, when they acknowledged Him as their Judge, and He cast them out with great authority.
Here again in another and a greater way He constrains His very enemies to confess His equality in honour, and by their own mouth He makes it manifest. For He, to signify His indifference to honour, (for there stood a great company of spectators shutting up the entrance, wherefore also they let him down from above,) did not straightway hasten to heal τῷ τῆς οἰκονομίας λόγω.
Two Signs of Christ's Equality with the Father.
the visible body, but He takes His occasion from them; and MATT. He healed first that which is invisible, the soul, by forgiving his sins; which indeed saved the other, but brought no great glory to Himself. They themselves rather, troubled by their malice, and wishing to assail Him, caused even against their will what was done to be conspicuous. He, in fact, in His abundance of counsel, made use of their envy for the manifestation of the miracle.
Upon their murmuring, then, and saying, This Man blasphemeth; who can forgive sins but God only 121 v. 3. let us see what He saith. Did He indeed take away the Mark suspicion? And yet if He were not equal, He should have 2, 7. said, "Why fix upon Me a notion which is not convenient? I am far from this power." But now hath He said none of these things, but quite the contrary He hath both affirmed and ratified, as well by His own voice, as by the performance of the miracle. Thus, it appearing that His saying certain things of himself gave disgust to his hearers, He affirms what He had to say concerning Himself by the others; and what is truly marvellous, not by His friends only, but also by His enemies; for this is the excellency of His wisdom. By His friends on the one hand, when He said, I will, be thou clean, and when He said, I have not found so" Matt. great faith, no, not in Israel3; but by His enemies, now.ib.v. For because they had said, "No man can forgive sins but 10. God only," He subjoined,
But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power to v. 6. forgive sins upon the earth, (then saith He to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, and take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
And not here only, but also in another case again, when they were saying, For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God: neither in that instance did He put down this 4 John opinion, but again confirmed it, saying, If I do not the 10, 33. works of My Father, believe Me not; but if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works.
5 ib. v.
[2.] In this case indeed He discloses also another sign, and 37, 38. that no small one, of His own Godhead, and of His equality in honour with the Father. For whereas they said, "To unbind. sins pertains to God only," He not only unbinds sins, but also
430 Our Lord gradually disclosed His Authority.
HOMIL. before this He makes another kind of display in a thing which XXIX. pertained to God only; the publishing the secrets in the heart. For neither had they uttered what they were thinking.
v. 3, 4.
For behold, certain of the Scribes, it saith, said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts, said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? But that it belongs to God only to know men's secrets, 1ovára-hear what saith the Prophet, Thou most entirely alone1 know22 Chron. est the hearts2; and again, God trieth the hearts and reins3; 6, 30. and Jeremiah too saith, The heart is deep above all things, Ps.7,9. 4 Jer.17, and it is man, and who shall know him? and, Man shall 9.LXX. look on the face, but God on the hearts. And by many things one may see, that to know what is in the mind belongs to God alone.
6 rò anπαχθές v. 4.
Implying therefore that He is God, equal to Him that begat Him; what things they were reasoning in themselves, (for through fear of the multitude, they durst not utter their mind,) this their opinion He unveils and makes manifest, evincing herein also His great gentleness.
For wherefore, saith He, think ye evil in your hearts?
And yet if there were cause for displeasure, it was the sick man who should have been displeased, as being altogether deceived, and should have said, "One thing I came to have healed, and amendest Thou another? Why, whence is it manifest that my sins are forgiven ?"
But now he for his part utters no such word, but gives himself up to the power of the Healer; but these being curious and envious, plot against the good deeds of others. Wherefore He rebukes them indeed, but with all gentleness. "Why, if ye disbelieve," saith He, "what went before, and account my saying a boast; behold I add to it also another, the uncovering of your secrets; and after that again another." What then is this? The giving tone to the body of the paralyzed.
And whereas, when He spake unto the sick of the palsy, He spake without clearly manifesting His own authority: for He said not, "I forgive thee thy sins," but, thy sins be forgiven thee: upon their constraining, He discloses His authority more clearly, saying, But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins.
His Care to give clear Proofs of His Miracles. 431 Seest thou, how far He was from unwillingness to be Matt. thought equal to the Father? For He said not at all, "The Son of Man hath need of another;" or, "He hath given Him authority," but, He hath authority. Neither doth He say it for love of honour, but "to convince you," so He speaks, "that I do not blaspheme in making Myself equal with God."
Thus every where His will is to offer proofs clear and indisputable; as when He saith, Go thy way, shew thyself to c.8, 4. the priest; and when He points to Peter's wife's mother ministering, and permits the swine to cast themselves down headlong. And in the same manner here also; first, for a certain token of the forgiveness of his sins, He provides the giving tone to his body: and of that again, his carrying his bed; to hinder the fact from being thought a mere fancy. And He doeth not this, before He had asked them a question. For whether is easier, saith He, to say, Thy sins be ver. 5, 6. forgiven thee? or to say, Take up thy bed, and go unto thine house? Now what He saith is like this, "Which seems to you easier, to bind up a disorganized body, or to undo1 the1 àūras sins of a soul? It is quite manifest; to bind up a body. For by how much a soul is better than a body, by so much is the doing away sins a greater work than this; but because the one is unseen, the other in sight, I throw in that, which although an inferior thing, is yet more open to sense; that the greater also and the unseen may thereby receive its proof;" thus by His works anticipating even now the revelation of what had been said by John, that He taketh away the sins of the world.
Well then, having raised him up, He sends him to His house; here again signifying His unboastfulness, and that the event was not a mere imagination; for He makes the same persons witnesses of his infirmity, and also of his health. For I indeed had desired, saith He, through thy calamity to heal those also, that seem to be in health, but are diseased in mind; but since they will not, depart thou home, to heal them that are there.
digicuivo, literally, "distributed into different habitations;" as when the population of Mantinea was broken up by the Lacedæmonians, dixion à Mar
i: see Xen. Hellenic. v. 2.7. comp. Dem. de Pace, i. 59. ed. Reiske; de Fals. Leg. i. 366.