Mark 2:7-9 "Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question thus in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, Rise, take up your pallet and walk'?
The gospel of Mark begins with the powerful statement: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But the story unfolds gradually, little by little the pieces fall together and we get a clearer picture of who Jesus is. A powerful preacher with authority, who hasts our demons, heals the sick, cures lepers, and now who forgives sins, and makes the lame to walk. And if we get to this point, we should be remembering Isaiah 35:4-6 Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you." Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;
There are times when things should unfold little by little, and there are times when the best plan is to just tell the whole story - when you were a child, and your parents left you at home, they expected to come home and find the house as they left it - they didn't expect to come how and find things "changed" - and when they do, they are liable to ask, who did this? This is not the time for things gradually to unfold - it is time to say you're sorry, and ask forgiveness.
However in the gospel, there is a reason why things unfold little by little - because one of its tasks is to change people's point of view. If you talk about the Messiah, the Christ or the Savior, before you get any further than that, the title, everyone has an opinion, everyone thinks they know what it means, everyone thinks they know the rest of the story - that's why Mark lets it unfold slowly, because he knows that they don't know it all.
If there is a special event in town, chances are you'll need tickets, chances are the tickets will be hard to get, chances are the performances will sell out, so that if you really want to go, you'll do just about anything to get there - from waiting in long lines all day, to paying a premium to a ticket broker. And in the Gospel, Jesus was the hot ticket - everyone wanted to see him so much, that people would do whatever was necessary to see him. In our lesson, friends of a paralyzed man want to bring their friend to Jesus, but the crowd is so great they can't get near - are they going to go home and give up? No, they come up with a novel plan, to go to the roof, and open a hole, and lower their friend to Jesus. Jesus saw their faith, and said to the paralytic, My Son, your sins are forgiven.
That shouldn't have been a problem, but the scribes are offended, they say, who can forgive sins but God alone? So Jesus says to the paralytic - Rise take your bed and go home. So what have we learned about who Jesus is? If only God can forgive sins, who is Jesus?