1.  And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house.
Notice that Jesus has a house in Capernaum.  The statement that He “has no place to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58) applies only when He is out on the road preaching.  We do not usually think about the fact that Jesus owned a house, but this is clearly stated here.

2.  Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door.  And He preached the word to them.

We notice that the Lord was very popular with the people.  Here, they crowded His house so much that there was no room for anyone else.  And notice what this crowd sought after: His words.  And He spoke them to them.  May we likewise be eager to seek after the words that the Lord has recorded in His Word for us!
3.  Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men.

This was another reason that men sought the Lord: for healing.  This group of five men, one paralyzed and four carrying him, come to the Lord for aid.

4.  And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was.  So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.

These men, having been preceded by the crowd that sought to hear Him, finds that there is no room for them to make their way to the Lord because of the crowd.  Yet so certain are they that the Lord can help the paralyzed man, and so determined are they to get him to Him, that they come up with this somewhat dangerous plan.  They climb up to the house roof.  Roofs at that time were flat, and made to be walked on.  It is likely that there was an outdoor stairway leading to the roof.  Once they are above where the Lord was teaching, they disassemble part of the roof lower the paralyzed man through it on his bed.  This could have been simply done at that time because of the way roofs were made.

5.  When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

Notice that the Lord is impressed by “their” faith.  Some seem to think that this was only the faith of the friends.  While it is true that their faith is included, it is obvious that they would not have been able to let this man down through the roof in such a risky manner if he had not been willing and had faith as well.  Yet notice that Jesus takes interest in their faith as a group, not just the faith of the man.  Often having friends who are strong in faith can not only help our faith grow but help it stand out.

Notice also that Christ first deals with the man’s sins, not his physical ailment.  Often our sin can be more crippling than any physical handicap, and the removal of that sin is a miracle that makes the healing of a paralytic seem small in comparison.

6.  And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts,

Some of those who had come to see Him were scribes, and they were sitting down.  Perhaps they had been accorded chairs, either because they got there first or as a sign of respect to their office.  Or perhaps those in the house were sitting on the floor in the traditional Eastern manner.  At any rate, they are sitting listening to the Lord’s teaching, and at this point they begin to reason in themselves about what the Lord has just said.

7.  “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this?  Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Of course, the scribes were absolutely correct that only God can forgive sins.  What they did not grasp is that it was God Himself standing before them in the form of man.  Thus they assumed His words to be blasphemy.

8.  But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?

Notice that the Lord perceived this “immediately.”  There are several things we can say about this.  First of all, a servant is required to respond quickly to situations and events in order to perform his duties.  Thus, the word “immediately” is a characteristic word speaking of our Lord’s actions in Mark.  Yet this also is a testimony to His Godhood.  Who but God could immediately perceive the thoughts of men’s hearts, even before they expressed them outwardly?
9.  “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’?

Of course, it is far easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven you,” than to say “Arise, take up your bed and walk.”  This is because failure to forgive sins cannot be seen, whereas failure to heal is immediately obvious.  There are those in our day who claim the power to do both these things, yet the ability to fake the former is far greater than the ability to fake the latter.  Yet to actually do the former is a great thing indeed, and one that can only be accomplished by God Himself.  Psalm 49:6-9 says,

“Those who trust in their wealth
And boast in the multitude of their riches,
None of them can by any means redeem his brother,
Nor give to God a ransom for him–
For the redemption of their souls is costly,
And it shall cease forever–
That he should continue to live eternally,
And not see the Pit.”

Yet Psalm 49:15 says,

“But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.”

Indeed, the redemption of a soul is an impossible thing for anyone but God!

10.  “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”–He said to the paralytic,

They might imagine that the Lord Jesus did not have the authority to forgive sins.  Thus, He will prove to them that He does by demonstrating to them another authority that He has from God: the authority to heal this man.

11.  “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

The greater miracle of forgiveness of sins is nevertheless not visible to the eye of man, but only the eyes of God.  Therefore, the Lord healed the man’s physical ailment to prove to these unbelieving scribes that He had the power to heal the spiritual ailment as well.  Once this miracle had been accomplished, the scribes had no excuse but to recognize that God Himself was indeed among them.

12.  Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

He responded immediately to the Lord, acting in faith and obedience.  Notice that he did not try to hang around and thank the Lord or stay and listen in on what He was saying to the crowd.  No, he had been given his marching orders to return to his house carrying his bed, and return he does.  His obedience is an example to us.  He no doubt felt like shouting or running around or doing SOMETHING besides just going home.  Yet that is what the Lord had told him to do, and so he did it without question.

The listening crowd is amazed by all this, declaring that they had never seen its like.  No doubt they had not seen the like of this, for such miracles were always rare, even in times past when God was working more openly than He is now in His secret dispensation.  Many wish they could see the like of this today, but those who try to accomplish healings in such a manner are always disappointed.  Unfortunately, we as believers have no more power to heal physical ailments than we do to forgive sins.

13.  Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them.

He leaves the house and goes down by the sea where all the multitude is able to listen to what He is saying.