That the case must have been rather serious is however implied in the circumstance that the afflicted one was unable to move about and had to be carried. He is pictured as lying on a pallet or a sleeping pad. Jesus, on the basis of what he could observe with his eyes, namely, that this man was being brought to him, and also because of his power to read the secrets of men’s hearts (John 2:25), “saw” the faith of the entire little company, that is, of the paralytic himself and of those who had brought him.
Before attempting to explain Matt. 9:2–8 it may be well first of all to furnish a brief harmonized story, one that with a minimum of comment includes all the main features of the three reports: Matt. 9:2–8; Mark 2:1–12; and Luke 5:17–26.
As far as the record is concerned, in the New Testament, with a single exception, the only one who says “Take courage” or “Be of good cheer” (A.V.) is Jesus. In addition to 9:2 see verse 22; 14:27; Mark 6:50; 10:49 (the one exception)398; John 16:33; and Acts 23:11.
The inference seems altogether justified that the matter about which the paralytic was concerned more than about anything else was not the paralysis of his body but the perilous state of his soul.
But now their thinking arrives at the fork in the road, and they make the wrong turn. Either: a. Jesus is what by implication he claims to be, namely, God; or b. he blasphemes, in the sense that he unjustly claims the attributes and prerogatives of deity. The scribes accept b.
Not only do they commit this tragic error, but, as the following context indicates, they compound it by reasoning somewhat as follows, “It is an easy thing for him to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ for no one is able to disprove it, since no one can look into his neighbor’s heart or enter the throne-room of the Almighty and discover his judicial decisions as to who is, and who is not, forgiven.” As they see it, therefore, Jesus is both blasphemous and flippant.