1. And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came
into his own city.
2. 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."
3. And, behold, certain of the Scribes said within themselves, "This
4. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, "Wherefore think ye evil
in your hearts?
5. For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or
to say, Arise, and walk?
6. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth
to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) "Arise, take
up thy bed, and go unto thine house."
7. And he arose, and departed to his house.
8. But when the multitude saw it, they marvelled, and glorified
God, which had given such power unto men.
Chrys., Hom. xxix: Christ had above shewn His excellent power by teaching,
when "he taught them as one having authority;" in the leper, when He said,
"I will, be thou clean;" by the centurion, who said to Him, "Speak the
word, and my servant shall be healed;" by the sea which He calmed by a
word; by the daemons who confessed Him; now again, in another and greater
way, He compels His enemies to confess the [p. 332] equality of His honour
with the Father; to this end it proceeds, "And Jesus entered into a ship,
and passed over, and came into his own city." He entered a boat to cross
over, who could have crossed the sea on foot; for He would not be always
working miracles, that He might not take away the reality of His incarnation.
Chrysologus, Serm. 50: The Creator of all things, the Lord of the world,
when He had for our sakes straitened Himself in the bonds of our flesh,
began to have His own country as a man, began to be a citizen of Judaea,
and to have parents, though Himself the parent of all, that affection might
attach those whom fear had separated.
Chrys.: By "his own city" is here meant Capharnaum. For one town, to
wit, Bethlehem, had received Him to be born there; another had brought
Him up, to wit, Nazareth; and a third received Him to dwell there continually,
Aug., De Cons. Evan., ii, 25: That Matthew here speaks of "his own city,"
and Mark calls it Capharnaum, would be more difficult to be reconciled
if Matthew had expressed it Nazareth. But as it is, all Galilee might be
called Christ's city, because Nazareth was in Galilee; just as all the
Roman empire, divided into many states, was still called the Roman city.
[margin note: civitas] Who can doubt then that the Lord in coming to Galilee
is rightly said to come into "his own city," whatever was the town in which
He abode, especially since Capharnaum was exalted into the metropolis of
Jerome: Or; This city may be no other than Nazareth, whence He was called
Aug.: And if we adopt this supposition, we must say that Matthew has
omitted all that was done from the time that Jesus entered into His own
city till He came to Capharnaum, and has proceeded on at once to the healing
of the paralytic; as in many other places they pass over things that intervened,
and carry on the thread of the narrative, without noticing any interval
of time, to something else; so here, "And, to, they bring unto him a paralytic
laying on a bed."
Chrys.: This paralytic is not the same as he in John. For he lay by
the pool, this in Capharnaum; he had none to assist him, this was borne
"on a bed."
Jerome: "On a bed," because he could not walk.
Chrys.: He does not universally demand faith of the sick, as, for example,
when they are mad, or from any other sore sickness are [p. 333] not in
possession of their minds; as it is here, "seeing their faith;"
Jerome: not the sick man's, but theirs that bare him.
Chrys.: Seeing then that they shewed so great faith, He also shews His
excellent power; with full power forgiving sin, as it follows, "he said
to the paralytic, Be of good courage, son, thy sins are forgiven thee."
Chrysologus: Of how great power with God must a man's own faith be,
when that of others here availed to heal a man both within and without.
The paralytic hears his pardon pronounced, in silence uttering no thanks,
for he was more anxious for the cure of his body than his soul. Christ
therefore with good reason accepts the faith of those that bare him, rather
than his own hardness of heart.
Chrys.: Or, we may suppose even the sick man to have had faith; otherwise
he would not have suffered himself to be let down through the roof as the
other Evangelist relates.
Jerome: O wonderful humility! This man feeble and despised, crippled
in every limb, He addresses as "son." The Jewish Priests did not deign
to touch him. Even therefore His "son," because his sins were forgiven
him. Hence we may learn that diseases are often the punishment of sin;
and therefore perhaps his sins are forgiven him, that when the cause of
his disease has been first removed, health may be restored.
Chrys.: The Scribes in their desire to spread an ill report of Him,
against their will made that which was done be more widely known; Christ
using their envy to make known the miracle. For this is of His surpassing
wisdom to manifest His deeds through His enemies; whence it follows, "Behold,
some of the Scribes said among themselves, This man blasphemeth."
Jerome: We read in prophecy, "I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions;"
[Isa 43:25] so the Scribes regarding Him as a man, and not understanding
the words of God, charged Him with blasphemy. But He seeing their thoughts
thus shewed Himself to be God, Who alone knoweth the heart; and thus, as
it were, said, By the same power and prerogative by which I see your thoughts,
I can forgive men their sins. Learn from your own experience what the paralytic
has obtained. "When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he said, Why think
ye evil in your hearts?"
Chrys.: He did not indeed contradict their suspicions so far as they
had supposed Him to have [p. 334] spoken as God. For had He not been equal
to God the Father, it would have behoved Him to say, I am far from this
power, that of forgiving sin. But He confirms the contrary of this, by
His words and His miracle; "Whether is it easier to say, Thy sins are forgiven
thee, or to say, Arise, and walk?" By how much the soul is better than
the body, by so much is it a greater thing to forgive sin than to heal
the body. But forasmuch as the one may be seen with the eyes, but the other
is not sensibly perceived, He does the lesser miracle which is the more
evident, to be a proof of the greater miracle which is imperceptible.
Jerome: Whether or no his sins were forgiven He alone could know who
forgave; but whether he could rise and walk, not only himself but they
that looked on could judge of; but the power that heals, whether soul or
body, is the same. And as there is a great difference between saying and
doing, the outward sign is given that the spiritual effect may be proved;
"But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive
Chrys.: Above, He said to the paralytic, "Thy sins are forgiven thee,"
not, I forgive thee thy sins; but now when the Scribes made resistance,
He shews the greatness of His power by saying, "The Son of Man hath power
on earth to forgive sins." And to shew that He was equal to the Father,
He said not that the Son of Man needed any to forgive sins, but that "He
Gloss, ap. Anselm: These words "That ye may know," may be either Christ's
words, or the Evangelist's words. As though the Evangelist had said, They
doubted whether He could remit sins, "But that ye may know that the Son
of Man hath the power to remit sins, he saith to the paralytic." If they
are the words of Christ, the connexion will be as follows; You doubt that
I have power to remit sins, "but that ye may know that the Son of Man hath
power to remit sins" = the sentence is imperfect, but the action supplies
the place of the consequent clause, "he saith to the paralytic, Rise, take
up thy bed."
Chrysologus: That which had been proof of his sickness, should now become
proof of his recovered health. "And go to thy house," that having been
healed by Christian faith, you may not die in the faithlessness of the
Chrys.: This command He added, that it might be seen there was no [p.
335] delusion in the miracle; so it follows to establish the reality of
the cure, "And he arose, and went away to his own house." But they that
stood by yet grovel on the earth, whence it follows, "But the multitude
seeing it were afraid, and glorified God, who had bestowed such power among
men." For had they rightly considered among themselves, they would have
acknowledged Him to be the Son of God. Meanwhile it was no little matter
to esteem Him as one greater than men, and to have come from God.
Hilary: Mystically; When driven out of Judaea, He returns into His own
city; the city of God is the people of the faithful; into this He entered
by a boat, that is, the Church.
Chrysologus: Christ has no need of the vessel, but the vessel of Christ;
for without heavenly pilotage the bark of the Church cannot pass over the
sea of the world to the heavenly harbour.
Hilary: In this paralytic the whole Gentile world is offered for healing,
he is therefore brought by the ministration of Angels; he is called Son,
because he is God's work; the sins of his soul which the Law could not
remit are remitted him; for faith only justifies. Lastly, he shews the
power of the resurrection, by taking up his bed, teaching that all sickness
shall then be no more found in the body.
Jerome: Figuratively, the soul sick in the body, its powers palsied,
is brought by the perfect doctor to the Lord to be healed. For every one
when sick, ought to engage some to pray for his recovery, through whom
the halting footsteps of our acts may be reformed by the healing power
of the heavenly word. These are mental monitors, who raise the soul of
the hearer to higher things, although sick and weak in the outward body.
Chrysologus: The Lord requires not in this world the will of those who
are without understanding, but looks to the faith of others; as the physician
does not consult the wishes of the patient when his malady requires other
Rabanus: His rising up is the drawing off the soul from carnal lusts;
his taking up his bed is the raising the flesh from earthly desires to
spiritual pleasures; his going to his house is his returning to Paradise,
or to internal watchfulness of himself against sin.
Greg., Mor. xxiii, 24: Or by the bed is denoted the pleasure of the
body. He is commanded now he is made [p. 336] whole to bear that on which
he had lain when sick, because every man who still takes pleasure in vice
is laid as sick in carnal delights; but when made whole he bears this because
he now endures the wantonness of that flesh in whose desires he had before
Hilary: It is a very fearful thing to be seized by death while the sins
are yet unforgiven by Christ; for there is no way to the heavenly house
for him whose sins have not been forgiven. But when this fear is removed,
honour is rendered to God, who by His word has in this way given power
to men, of forgiveness of sins, of resurrection of the body, and of return