4

 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. (Luke 5:20–25, ESV)

The idea that the man was paralyzed as punishment for sin was apparently what the Pharisees believed. However, this seems inconsistent with what Jesus taught.

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1–5, ESV)

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. (John 9:1–7, ESV)

Thus, in Luke 5:20-25 did Jesus accommodate the Pharisees' belief that illness was punishment for sin to show that Jesus can forgive our sins?

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  • There is a big difference between punishment and consequence. Many sicknesses are the consequence of a sinful actions or way of life and that is just as true now as then. This is NOT to suggest that all personal sickness is the consequence of personal sin (eg, John 9) - far from it - but some is. For an example of this see John 5:14.
    – Dottard
    Nov 1 '21 at 9:16
  • Inconsistent how ? The first examples are understood as warnings (punishing only a few, so that the rest might learn, and avoid sharing the same fate), the latter as something else entirely; in neither case is it insinuated that (either of) these are the only possible causes; after all, the two passages do not contain the same cause either, but each a different one. See also John 5:14.
    – Lucian
    Nov 1 '21 at 11:28
  • @Dottard Even if this particular illness related to something the man did wrong, doesn't the way Jesus approach the healing seem to accommodate the Pharisees' belief about illnesses?
    – Perry Webb
    Nov 1 '21 at 13:34
  • I have to disagree that the idea of being affirmatively punished by God as a consequence of sinning is the same as karma, which I would characterize as attracting misfortune from the universe at large as a consequence of building up negative energy (bad karma) by behaving badly. There is a similar bad actions leading to bad personal consequences theme, but the context and mechanism matter. Nov 1 '21 at 18:43
  • @John deleted reference to karma.
    – Perry Webb
    Nov 1 '21 at 18:50
2

In Luke 5:

23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?

Jesus logically equated these two terms by using the English word "or" in this case.

24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—

That was what Jesus trying to prove.

he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”

i.e., if he rises and walks, then his sins are forgiven.

25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.

Therefore, his sins have been forgiven. End of proof according to Jesus.

In this incident, Jesus assumed the definitions and beliefs of the Pharisees and proved to them that even according to their conditions, He could forgive sins on earth.

On the other hand, John 9:

1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him,

Now, his listeners were not the Pharisees.

“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

This time, Jesus taught his disciples the proper terminologies and beliefs which were different from that of the incident with the paralyzed man.

In Luke 5:20-25 did Jesus accommodate the Pharisees' belief that illness was punishment for sin to show that Jesus can forgive our sins?

Yes, Jesus was being nice, gracious, and accommodating to the Pharisees. He showed another accommodation on another occasion in John 5:

33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved.

Paul picked this up in 1 Corinthians 9:

22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

Both Jesus and Paul tried to convince the unbelievers of the good news by beginning at where they were when such an accommodation was feasible.

3

The idea that the man was paralyzed as punishment for sin is the idea of karma and was apparently what the Pharisees believed. However, this seems inconsistent with what Jesus taught.

No, it is not inconsistent.

  • Jesus did not speak to whether this particular man's paralysis was a punishment for anyone's sin.

  • Jesus did not teach that God never inflicts physical ailment or harm as punishment for sin. There are many examples of exactly that in the Old Testament, so such a teaching would be contrary to scripture. For a particularly striking case, consider the consequences God inflicted on Korah and his followers because of their rebellion against Moses (Numbers 16):

    the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!”

    And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.

  • Jesus' actual teaching in the other scriptures presented in the question is rather that sometimes bad things happen to people without it being a punishment for sin. That's different from bad things never being punishment for sin.

But that is all largely irrelevant to the question at hand:

Thus, in Luke 5:20-25 did Jesus accommodate the Pharisees' belief that illness was punishment for sin to show that Jesus can forgive our sins?

No. The reason for the man's paralysis has nothing in particular to do with it. Jesus demonstrated his authority to forgive sins, and in fact his identity with God, by showing that he had power from God to perform a healing miracle despite claiming to forgive the paralytic's sins -- a claim that would be blasphemous if in fact God had not given him that authority. The Pharisees would have been challenged to reconcile Jesus' manifest exercise of God's power with him being a blasphemer, and since the miracle was irrefutable, it is the charge of blasphemy that must fail.

This is also a repeating theme throughout the Bible, as the Pharisees would have been well aware. There are many examples of angels and prophets providing miraculous signs to establish their Godly bona fides in support of the messages, predictions, and / or promises they delivered.

3
  • Maybe accommodate is the wrong word. It seems you are still saying Jesus used the Pharisees' sin causing illness thus healing = forgiveness Pharisee logic that Jesus doesn't actually agree with from the standpoint of personal sin causing all personal illness.
    – Perry Webb
    Nov 1 '21 at 23:46
  • Thinking about it I removed the reference to karma. While people may use sin causing illness belief to excuse helping the ill. Karma extends this to the extent that people are afraid to help the ill for fear that bad karma might rub off on them.
    – Perry Webb
    Nov 1 '21 at 23:52
  • @PerryWebb, as this answer already says, the reason for the man's paralysis has nothing to do with it. It makes no difference why he was paralyzed -- not to us, not Jesus, and not to the Pharisees. The point is that Jesus' miraculous healing of the man provides evidence of his own right standing with God. He is not relying in any way on the Pharisees' opinion of the reason for the man's paralysis. Nov 1 '21 at 23:54
1

In this passage Luke 5:20-25 we see that The Christ improves the law from Torah however the definition of sin is given by Isaiah 59:2:

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. (ESV)

So, a sin is nothing more than an act of G'd clothing Himself, what is very known in judaism. In Deuteronomy 5:9 (and also confirmed by Exodus 20:5 and also Numbers 14:18) we read:

9 You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, (ESV)

What's written here is that He (G'd) visits the עון (transgression or sin) to third and fourth generations, however with the Perfect Sacrifice (Romans 5:8):

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (ESV)

And the sacrifices of animals is less acceptable than To do righteousness and justice as it says by King Solomon in (Proverbs 21:3):

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. (ESV)

However this doesn't mean that sacrifices need not to be done in order to fulfill the law, it's a proportional system of weights. In judaism it's pretty known that to act in justice is to obey the Holy Word, and Samuel (1 Samuel 15:22) confirms to us this:

And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. (ESV)

So even though Christ has made the Perfect Sacrifice the notion of pleasing G'd with heart more than burnt offerings were very much known. However Sacrifice only stands for those who really repent (so the jewish law continues to have effect not those concerning karma, this is, (...)iniquity of the fathers on the children (...), and this only in this specific situation, for those that don't accept Christ continue to live in that System of Karma), so what the Messiah (for many Christ) did was to open a path for Salvation not by work even though dead works are bad, but comes from the Lord as Jonah 2:9 explains:

But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!” (ESV)

And more, the sacrifices (of animals, for example) are not made today simply because there is not a temple, when it's built, it will go back to have. The Perfect Sacrifice isn't about these things. What happened was a reintroduction to the Torah that many didn't comprehend so well, that's why some of it (of the Torah) was hidden, including those that we were very sure we knew. When Jesus go and say that these galileans are equally sinners as others (other galileans), he tells us that as a community or society, all of the whole is responsible for the sin, so he uses concept borrowed from karma, and in the case of the blind man this is isn't true at all, for it's an specific situation not general, in other words, G'd permitted it to happen, and in the same way as one can be cured in specific (making the miracle to be something out of the reality we are familiarized with) as in general. So there can be still iniquity to third and forth as there can't be, and the choice was made more clear after the Perfect Sacrifice.

Our conclusion is that it's true that everything was an acommodation for Lord to manifest His miracles, as G'd He Himself in the Adam and Eve wanted them to eat the fruit as in https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/70691/45929.

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