By now the “secret” has spread so much that at Jesus’ next stop there’s a standing room only crowd. Jesus doesn’t take it all in for himself, though. Instead he preaches the logos to them. That’s a loaded term. Even in that day, the term was loaded with connections to Hebrew Scripture and Greek philosophy, but that’s not what grabs the Gospel writer’s attention. It’s the side story that does. Four men, who love their own friend so much, they dig up the roof to set him before Jesus.
“Seeing their faith”
The Gospel says that Jesus “seeing their faith” forgives the sins of the paralyzed man. Can you pray someone into the kingdom? Or does Christ declare a reality that has already happened outside of anything these people have done? Is the declaration of forgiveness, instead, Jesus making plain the hope for which he came, the reality he had already, and would later, secure by his incarnation? Is it possible that Jesus looks upon the faith of the four friends, and decides to peel back the secret just a bit, for the sake of all five of them? “Your sins are forgiven” he declares.
“In full view of them all”
At this point, and still in response to the faith of the friends, Jesus wants to make his person clear. There is no mention of a secret this time. Jesus heals the man, and the evidence is plain to everyone. The man gets up, in public, and is obviously healed. This healing acts as evidence of the already present truth that Jesus has come to forgive sins.