And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into
his own city. 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.
And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man
blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said,
Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is
easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
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. And he arose, and departed to
his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled,
and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
St. John Chrysostom in his Homily on the Paralytic Let Down Through the Roof said:
"…why did He not first address Himself to the cure of the paralytic, but said, 'Son! Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you?' He did this very wisely. For it is a habit with physicians to destroy the originating cause of the malady before they remove that malady itself…when the eyes are distressed by some evil humour and corrupt discharge, the physician, abandoning any treatment of the disordered vision, turns his attention to the head, where the root and origin of the infirmity is: even so did Christ act: He represses first of all the source of the evil. For the source and root and mother of all evil is the nature of sin. This is which enervates our bodies: this is which brings on disease: therefore also on this occasion He said, 'Son! Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you.' …these maladies were the offspring of sin. And in the beginning and outset of the word disease as the consequence of sin attacked the body of Cain. For after the murder of his brother, after that act of wickedness, his body was subject to palsy. For trembling is the same thing as palsy. For when the strength which regulates a living creature becomes weakened, being no longer able to support all the limbs, it deprives them of their natural power of direction, and then having become unstrung they tremble and turn giddy…also Christ first removes the cause of the evil…uplifts the spirit and rouses the downcast soul…"
Irenaeus in his Against Heresies wrote…
"…when He had healed the man sick of the palsy, [the evangelist] says 'The people upon seeing it glorified God, who gave such power unto men.' (Matt.9:8) What God, then, did the bystanders glorify? Was it indeed that unknown Father invented by the heretics? And how could they glorify him who was altogether unknown to them?…The Israelites glorified Him who has been proclaimed as God by the law and the prophets, who is also the Father of our Lord; and therefore He taught men, by the evidence of their senses through those signs which He accomplished, to give glory to God. If, however, He Himself had come from another Father, and men glorified a different Father when they beheld His miracles, He [in that case] rendered them ungrateful to that Father who had sent the gift of healing….He did both stir up the incredulous by the miracles…to give glory to the Father, and to the Pharisees, who did not admit the advent of His Son, and who consequently did not believe in the remissions [of sins]…He said, 'That you may know that the Son of man has power to forgive sins.' (Matt.9:6) And when he had said this, He commanded the paralytic man to take up the pallet upon which he was lying, and go into his house. By this work of His He confounded the unbelievers, and showed that He is Himself the voice of God, by which man received commandments, which he broke, and became a sinner; for the paralysis followed as a consequence of sins…"