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Luke 5:17-26

Context
Healing and Forgiving a Paralytic

5:17 Now on 1  one of those days, while he was teaching, there were Pharisees 2  and teachers of the law 3  sitting nearby (who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem), 4  and the power of the Lord was with him 5  to heal. 5:18 Just then 6  some men showed up, carrying a paralyzed man 7  on a stretcher. 8  They 9  were trying to bring him in and place him before Jesus. 10  5:19 But 11  since they found 12  no way to carry him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof 13  and let him down on the stretcher 14  through the roof tiles 15  right 16  in front of Jesus. 17  5:20 When 18  Jesus 19  saw their 20  faith he said, “Friend, 21  your sins are forgiven.” 22  5:21 Then 23  the experts in the law 24  and the Pharisees began to think 25  to themselves, 26  “Who is this man 27  who is uttering blasphemies? 28  Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 5:22 When Jesus perceived 29  their hostile thoughts, 30  he said to them, 31  “Why are you raising objections 32  within yourselves? 5:23 Which is easier, 33  to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? 5:24 But so that you may know 34  that the Son of Man 35  has authority on earth to forgive sins” – he said to the paralyzed man 36  – “I tell you, stand up, take your stretcher 37  and go home.” 38  5:25 Immediately 39  he stood up before them, picked 40  up the stretcher 41  he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying 42  God. 5:26 Then 43  astonishment 44  seized them all, and they glorified 45  God. They were filled with awe, 46  saying, “We have seen incredible 47  things 48  today.” 49 

1 tn Grk “And it happened that on.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

2 sn Pharisees were members of one of the most important and influential religious and political parties of Judaism in the time of Jesus. There were more Pharisees than Sadducees (according to Josephus, Ant. 17.2.4 [17.42] there were more than 6,000 Pharisees at about this time). Pharisees differed with Sadducees on certain doctrines and patterns of behavior. The Pharisees were strict and zealous adherents to the laws of the OT and to numerous additional traditions such as angels and bodily resurrection.

3 tn That is, those who were skilled in the teaching and interpretation of the OT law. These are called “experts in the law” (Grk “scribes”) in v. 21.

4 sn Jesus was now attracting attention outside of Galilee as far away as Jerusalem, the main city of Israel.

map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

5 tc Most mss (A C D [K] Θ Ψ Ë1,13 33 Ï latt bo) read αὐτούς (autous) instead of αὐτόν (auton) here. If original, this plural pronoun would act as the direct object of the infinitive ἰᾶσθαι (iasqai, “to heal”). However, the reading with the singular pronoun αὐτόν, which acts as the subject of the infinitive, is to be preferred. Externally, it has support from better mss (א B L W al sa). Internally, it is probable that scribes changed the singular αὐτόν to the plural αὐτούς, expecting the object of the infinitive to come at this point in the text. The singular as the harder reading accounts for the rise of the other reading.

6 tn Grk “And behold.” Here καὶ ἰδού (kai idou) has been translated as “just then” to indicate the somewhat sudden appearance of the men carrying the paralytic. The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1), especially in conjunction with the suddenness of the stretcher-bearers’ appearance.

7 tn Grk “a man who was paralyzed”; the relative clause in Greek has adjectival force and has been simplified to a simple adjective in the translation.

8 tn Traditionally, “on a bed,” but this could be confusing to the modern reader who might envision a large piece of furniture. In various contexts, κλίνη (klinh) may be translated “bed, couch, cot, stretcher, or bier” (in the case of a corpse). See L&N 6.106.

9 tn Grk “stretcher, and.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. Instead, because of the tendency of contemporary English to use shorter sentences, a new sentence was begun here in the translation.

10 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast implied in the context: They wanted to bring the man to Jesus, but found no way.

12 tn Grk “But finding.” The participle εὑρόντες (Jeuronte") has been translated as a causal adverbial participle.

13 sn A house in 1st century Palestine would have had a flat roof with stairs or a ladder going up. This access was often from the outside of the house.

14 tn This word, κλινίδιον (klinidion), is a different Greek word than the one used in the previous verse (κλίνη, klinh). In this context both may be translated “stretcher” (see L&N 6.106 and 6.107).

15 tn There is a translational problem at this point in the text. The term Luke uses is κέραμος (keramo"). It can in certain contexts mean “clay,” but usually this is in reference to pottery (see BDAG 540 s.v. 1). The most natural definition in this instance is “roof tile” (used in the translation above). However, tiles were generally not found in Galilee. Recent archaeological research has suggested that this house, which would have probably been typical for the area, could not have supported “a second story, nor could the original roof have been masonry; no doubt it was made from beams and branches of trees covered with a mixture of earth and straw” (J. F. Strange and H. Shanks, “Has the House Where Jesus Stayed in Capernaum Been Found?” BAR 8, no. 6 [Nov/Dec 1982]: 34). Luke may simply have spoken of building materials that would be familiar to his readers.

16 tn Grk “in the midst.”

17 sn The phrase right in front of Jesus trailing as it does at the end of the verse is slightly emphatic, adding a little note of drama: What would Jesus do?

18 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

19 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

20 sn The plural pronoun their makes it clear that Jesus was responding to the faith of the entire group, not just the paralyzed man.

21 tn Grk “Man,” but the term used in this way was not derogatory in Jewish culture. Used in address (as here) it means “friend” (see BDAG 82 s.v. ἄνθρωπος 8).

22 tn Grk “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” Luke stresses the forgiveness of sins (cf. 1:77; 3:3; 24:47). In 5:20 he uses both the perfect ἀφέωνται and the personal pronoun σοι which together combine to heighten the subjective aspect of the experience of forgiveness. The σοι has been omitted in translation in light of normal English style.

sn The passive voice here is a divine passive (ExSyn 437). It is clear that God does the forgiving.

23 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

24 tn Or “Then the scribes.” The traditional rendering of γραμματεύς (grammateu") as “scribe” does not communicate much to the modern English reader, for whom the term might mean “professional copyist,” if it means anything at all. The people referred to here were recognized experts in the law of Moses and in traditional laws and regulations. Thus “expert in the law” comes closer to the meaning for the modern reader.

25 tn Or “to reason” (in a hostile sense). See G. Schrenk, TDNT 2:97.

26 tn The participle λέγοντες (legontes, “saying”) has not been translated because it is redundant in contemporary English.

27 tn Grk “this one” (οὗτος, Joutos).

28 sn Uttering blasphemies meant to say something that dishonored God. To claim divine prerogatives or claim to speak for God when one really does not would be such an act of offense. The remark raised directly the issue of the nature of Jesus’ ministry.

29 sn Jesus often perceived people’s thoughts in Luke; see 4:23; 6:8; 7:40; 9:47. Such a note often precedes a rebuke.

30 tn Grk “reasonings.” This is the noun form of the infinitive διαλογίζεσθαι (dialogizesqai, “began to reason to themselves”) used in v. 21. Jesus’ reply to them in the latter part of the present verse makes clear that these reasonings were mental and internal, so the translation “thoughts” was used here. On the hostile or evil nature of these thoughts, see G. Schrenk, TDNT 2:97.

31 tn Grk “answering, he said to them.” This construction with passive participle and finite verb is pleonastic (redundant) and has been simplified in the translation.

32 tn The Greek verb διαλογίζεσθε (dialogizesqe, “you reason”), used in context with διαλογισμούς (dialogismous, “reasonings”), connotes more than neutral reasoning or thinking. While the verb can refer to normal “reasoning,” “discussion,” or “reflection” in the NT, its use here in Luke 5:22, alongside the noun – which is regularly used with a negative sense in the NT (cf. Matt 15:19; Mark 7:21; Luke 2:35, 6:8, 9:47; Rom 1:21; 1 Cor 3:20; G. Schrenk, TDNT 2:96-97; D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 1:484) – suggests the idea of “contention.” Therefore, in order to reflect the hostility evident in the reasoning of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, the verb has been translated as “raising objections.”

33 sn Which is easier is a reflective kind of question. On the one hand to declare sins are forgiven is easier, since one does not need to see it, unlike telling a paralyzed person to walk. On the other hand, it is harder, because for it to be true one must possess the authority to forgive the sin.

34 sn Now Jesus put the two actions together. The walking of the man would be proof (so that you may know) that his sins were forgiven and that God had worked through Jesus (i.e., the Son of Man).

35 sn The term Son of Man, which is a title in Greek, comes from a pictorial description in Dan 7:13 of one “like a son of man” (i.e., a human being). It is Jesus’ favorite way to refer to himself. Jesus did not reveal the background of the term here, which mixes human and divine imagery as the man in Daniel rides a cloud, something only God does. He just used it. It also could be an idiom in Aramaic meaning either “some person” or “me.” So there is a little ambiguity in its use here, since its origin is not clear at this point. However, the action makes it clear that Jesus used it to refer to himself here.

36 tn Grk “to the one who was paralyzed”; the Greek participle is substantival and has been simplified to a simple adjective and noun in the translation.

sn Jesus did not finish his sentence with words but with action, that is, healing the paralytic with an accompanying pronouncement to him directly.

37 tn This word, κλινίδιον (klinidion), is the same as the one used in v. 19. In this context it may be translated “stretcher” (see L&N 6.107).

38 tn Grk “to your house.”

39 tn Grk “And immediately.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

40 tn Grk “and picked up.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because contemporary English normally places a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series.

41 tn Grk “picked up what he had been lying on”; the referent of the relative pronoun (the stretcher) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

42 sn Note the man’s response, glorifying God. Joy at God’s work is also a key theme in Luke: 2:20; 4:15; 5:26; 7:16; 13:13; 17:15; 18:43; 23:47.

43 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

44 tn Or “amazement.” See L&N 25.217, which translates this clause, “astonishment seized all of them.”

45 tn This imperfect verb could be translated as an ingressive (“they began to glorify God”), but this is somewhat awkward in English since the following verb is aorist and is normally translated as a simple past.

46 tn Grk “fear,” but the context and the following remark show that it is mixed with wonder; see L&N 53.59.

47 tn Or “remarkable.” The term παράδοξος (paradoxos) is hard to translate exactly; it suggests both the unusual and the awe inspiring in this context. For the alternatives see L&N 31.44 (“incredible”) and 58.56 (“remarkable”). It is often something beyond belief (G. Kittel, TDNT 2:255).

48 tn The word “things” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied because the adjective παράδοξος (paradoxos) is substantival. Other translations sometimes supply alternate words like “miracles” or “signs,” but “things” is the most neutral translation.

49 sn See the note on today in 2:11.



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