In Mark 2:5, it seems that the paralytic's sins were forgiven because of his friends' faith. This this seems contrary to other scrptures that teach we are saved by our own faith.  What do you think?  I've read that most people attributed physical maladies to sinful behaviour, and that Jesus' pronouncement of forgiveness not only revealed his authority and glory, but served to go to the heart of people's beliefs, by curing the cause (sin) as well as the result (paralysis). What do you think?

Nothing says the man did not have faith too. Usually when people find Christ there is an interplay between their faith and the convictions of others. In other words, no one becomes a Christian in a vacuum.

I think you may be right in your point about the root cause. In John 9:2 even Jesus' disciples shared this common misconception. Of course if this were the main point of the passage, forgiveness could have come after healing (to show that his physical condition did not depend on his spiritual condition). I think the real point is that Jesus is God, who alone has the power to forgive us our sins.

Incidentaly, such a passage in no way justifies the later practices of infant baptism with the sponsorship of godparents. Yet it does show us that God may answer our prayers for others whom we love.

This article is copyrighted and is for private use and study only. © 2003. Reprints or public distribution is prohibited without the express consent of Douglas Jacoby.