Have any of us ever been in such demand that someone dug through the roof to reach us? Robbers aside! Would that Jesus were in such demand today! Haven't we become more used to him as an optional extra? In the case of today's paralytic (let's give him a name & a face: Chaim) & the friends who precipitate Chaim into his presence, Jesus makes a two-edged response: compassion (Chaim) & validation (for the faith of friends so keen to see Chaim healed they'll go to the extent of digging their way in to reach Jesus). Jesus' forgives & heals (in that order.) Maybe your need of forgiveness, & mine, is a pre-requisite for the healing we need too?
Acting as he does exposes Jesus to close scrutiny. The 'scribes' aren't stupid. They see the issue clearly: no one except God can forgive sins. Can we blame them for jumping to the (wrong) conclusion they do, even though jumping to conclusions is still not a productive exercise?
Jesus enters the fray not on theological or philosophical grounds, but because he 'knows in his spirit' what they're wrestling with. More, 'so you may know the Son of Man has authority....' Jesus may well be suspect before he does anything at all because of his earlier association with John the Baptiser. John's 'out in the desert, out of the reach of religious heavies' approach to religion makes many enemies among the inside-religion people. Are we tuned in enough to Jesus / faith issues people around us are wrestling with? Outsiders & insiders?
So far as the Son of Man, Adam, Humanity, etc. is concerned, we do well to remember it's Jesus' own preferred way of referring to himself. We also need to unpack the diametrically opposed (if paradoxically true) earthly & apocalyptic threads. Does the apocalyptic figure loom larger & more attractively for us, as for early Christians, the harder the going gets living out the earthly, earthed life of Jesus the Christ?
Which leads me to ask whether our churches have a problem not unlike that faced at the house in the story. Are those of us who've managed to cram 'inside' blocking the approach of 'outsiders' like Chaim to Jesus. Is there some 'digging through the roof' we need to do to make room for others who need to reach Jesus, but can't get to him? We often talk about 'out-reach', but do we also need to develop effective in-reach provisions, symbolised by the pallet Chaim's friends use to lower him?
Ending the passage we're told that 'they were all amazed, glorified God, admitted they'd never seen anything like this'. Even, including the sideline critics? I reserve my judgment on that one. But we mustn't ever give up on them. Outside critics too, not least those who can make a persuasive case, need to be encouraged to break through & discover for themselves WHO this Jesus is, & find forgiveness & healing in recognizing his authority. (Remember too, that critics inside need to be free to put their case.)