A leper came to Jesus kneeled down and begged him, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be clean.” The leprosy immediately left him, and he was clean.
If we do not know Hebrew/Aramaic, we will miss the important part of the passage. “וַיָּבוֹא אֵלָיו אִישׁ מְצרָע. Exodus 1:1, “ וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּאִים מִצְרָיְמָה.” “These are the names of the sons of Israel when they came to Egypt.” Notice the shape of the last letters of both passages. “מְצרָע.”
The word for Egypt and the word for Leprosy is the same word. The Hebrew word for Egypt is the word for Oppression, anywhere, at any time. The Hebrew word for a wasp is “מְצרָע.”
“Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I have come.” Jesus preaches freedom from oppression, and this healing points the way.
His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who deviated, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents deviated; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” He replied, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam (Sent/“let my people go) and wash.”
We see reference to the Exodus, just as we did in the healing of the leper. The Semitic origins of the Gospel are all through the Gospels when we know where to look for them. The important thing to notice, however are how there are other reasons for suffering than punishment.
One more story is required before discussing the paralytic, the story of the prodigal son, Luke 15: 11. Notice, the older son’s behavior.
In no place does the story relate how the older son came to know how the younger one lost his money. We, know it was squandered, but as far as the older son knows, he invested well, but lost anyway.
In Deuteronomy’s Ten Commandments, the word for “False,” as in, “Do not bear false witness,” is the same word used in “Vain,” as in “Do not take God’s name in vain.” Vain witness is saying something, improvable true or not. The older son does just that. He does not know how the younger son lost his money, but tells a tale anyway.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. When Jesus saw their faith, he told the paralytic, “Child, your errors are forgiven.” Some grammarians sat, asking, “Why does this man speak that way? He slanders. Who but God alone can forgive errors?”
Jesus said, “Why are you thinking such things? Which is easier, to tell the paralytic, ‘Your errors are forgiven,’ or, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’? That you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth, rise, pick up your mat; go home.” Many have undertaken to guess the sin/error of the paralytic. This presupposes he has one, just as the older son in the prodigal son story presupposes that his returning younger brother must have squandered the money.
In, “Rise, pick up your mat and go home,” Jesus plays the domineer role. “Do this; do that; do the next thing.” The process continues. Assuming the paralytic’s guilt, the grammarians also continue the process.
The paralytics paralysis would be from guilt, not error, if he were the victim of child abuse. The only cure would be to undo the decades of abuse for real and imagined faults. Jesus would be correct even if the child is guilty of no more than anyone else is. “Child, your errors are forgiven.” This addresses how guilt paralyzes the child.
For the healing to work, the paralytic must believe Jesus has the authority to forgive his real or imagined error. Whatever he did wrong in the past will succeed now. He must feel empowered. A third thing that is required is that he must know what to do next. With Jesus’ choice of empowerment, the child’s sense of gratitude will show him what to do next. No more directions are required. Love/gratitude for the weight of past abuse being lifted impels him ever forward.
“That you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins, rise, pick up your mat; go home.” In the Psalms and Ezekiel, “Son of Man” refers to all people. All have the authority to forgive sins/errors. “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I have come.” Jesus leaves the village. He cannot empower the child. If the paralytic is going to be empowered it is going to have to be by those who remain, us.