A Study of: Matthew 9:2, Mark 2:5, 9, and Luke 5:20, 23
In this second part of our study of the forgiveness of sins without the need for an animal sacrifice, we will take a look at the story of a paralytic who was healed by Jesus. This story is recorded in three Gospels: Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-12, and Luke 5:17-26.
As we begin this portion of our study, it is important to remember that this account occurs while the animal sacrificial system was still in place in the Temple. And, Jesus grants this forgiveness prior to His death.
Furthermore, we need to remember what Jesus said about His mission and ministry in Matthew 5:17:
17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.
Thus, what is taking place must still be within the intent of the Law. With this in mind let's take a look at what we are told in Matthew 9:2.
2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, "Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.
Jesus healed this man and forgave his sins because of a combination of his and his friends' faith, alone. There was no animal sacrifice. Forgiveness was a gift of God's grace just as it had been with Abram in Genesis 15:6.
Such an incidence proves that the sacrificial system was not the true intent of God that leads to forgiveness, but only a concession, as it was when God granted it to Abram when he doubted the promise of possessing the land.
There is something greater at work here than the sacrifice of an animal and the shedding of blood. It is faith and love and compassion.