"When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven you'" (Mark 2:5). Jesus saw their faith through their works (cf. James 2:24). For Jesus to affectionately address the paralytic as "son" might have ordinarily surprised the scribes who were present, who didn't believe it was appropriate to speak with sinners in such a friendly way. But, the smaller surprise was swallowed up in the greater when they heard Jesus pronounce forgiveness of the man's sins (cf. Luke 7:48; 23:43)!
What was Jesus teaching here? He emphasized that it is more important to be spiritually healed (i.e., forgiven) than to be physically healed. This paralytic was not brought to Jesus for forgiveness but for physical healing. I can only imagine that if Jesus walked the Earth in bodily form today, people would primarily come to Him with their physical problems, not spiritual. Sadly, most people value the physical above the spiritual.
Some of Jesus' critics (i.e., some scribes) were present and did not think well of Jesus' words here (Mark 2:6,7). In fact, they believed He was blaspheming God by affirming that He could forgive sins--an attribute they believed belonged exclusively to God. Their mental accusation would have been just had Jesus not been deity Himself! Their mistake was in assuming that Jesus was not God. Consequently, Jesus did not deny their teaching that only God can forgive sins. He does, however, attempt to correct their misunderstanding concerning His identity.
Although the scribes had not spoken their thoughts out loud, to merely think them was enough for Jesus to be aware of them (2:8; cf. John 2:25). He responded to them by saying - "Why do you think evil in your hearts?" (Matt. 9:4). Their reasoning was "evil" because Jesus had already done more than enough to prove that God was with Him. Had their hearts been pure and honest, they would have been contemplating the possibility that Jesus was divine instead of automatically assuming that He must be sinning!
It is also possible the "evil" they were thinking was that Jesus was a fraud. They had heard of His miracles and were now likely present to see if He was legitimate or not. Perhaps Jesus' statement led them to think that He wasn't going to perform a miracle in front of them for fear of being exposed by them. Perhaps they thought that He, in order to maintain good standing with the people, simply made an extraordinary, yet safe, claim that couldn't be proven true or false.
Jesus immediately asked - "Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise, take up your bed and walk'? (Mark 2:9). Although no answer to His question is recorded, the implication is that it would be easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven you." Why? Because no man could prove or disprove if this man's sins had actually been forgiven; thus, it was a very simple statement to say. The same cannot be said regarding healing a person physically.
Jesus then referred to Himself as the Son of Man (2:10; cf. Dan. 7:13,14) and stated His power to forgive sins. He then spoke to the paralytic, and he was healed! The people would now "know" that Jesus had the forgiving power He claimed. How would they know? Because if Jesus was just an ordinary man, His previous words would have been blasphemous, and God would not have been with Him. If God had not been with Him, He would not have had the power to miraculously heal this man! But, He does have the power to heal this man. Thus, God is with Him, and He has a power (i.e., forgiveness of sins) that only God has. Therefore, Jesus is God; He is deity! That is the conclusion the people should have drawn.
As the narrative closes, the people are amazed, and they glorify God as the healed man did (Mark 2:12; Luke 5:25). Additionally, they "were filled with fear" (Luke 5:26). Who wouldn't rightly be afraid after witnessing this threefold miracle (i.e., sins forgiven, thoughts read, and paralysis healed)? Praise be to God for His power and mercy! May we humble ourselves before Him in reverence daily.