Jesus is doing what he always does – teaching the people the word of God, whether in a synagogue, in a boat, on a mountain or as here in a house. Four men bring their lame friend to be healed. Not being able to enter the house because of the crowd, they use the external stairs to access the flat roof. Having remove the mud and sticks that comprise the roof they lower the lame friend before Jesus.
Jesus responds not to the lame man’s obvious problem but rather pronounces him forgiven of his sin. Clearly Jesus considers this the greater need. The religious leaders question how Jesus can claim the authority of God to forgive sins. To demonstrate his authority Jesus tells the man to “rise” which he then does.
Jesus can forgive sins but in telling the lame man to rise, the sign points to the fact that he can raise the dead (another of God’s prerogatives). Lame men begging for alms would lay in the dust, as do dead men. Jesus’ command “rise” is also the word that he speaks on the last day – the Day of Resurrection.
To be ready for that day we need forgiveness from the man who raises the dead.