Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." (Matt. 9:1-2)
The key element here is that Jesus was not immediately concerned about the paralysis of the man. He was focused upon the spiritual life of the man and those who brought the man over. This why it says, "when Jesus saw their faith."
Furthermore, one might wonder why the sins of a paralyzed person were connected to his healing? Jesus did not say "I've healed your paralysis." Rather, Jesus said, "your sins are forgiven." Why?
Jesus was teaching them that this is because a person’s current physical situation is the result of our past activities. We are each subject to the consequences of our prior activities.
The fact that Jesus taught the law of consequences was also communicated by this question by Jesus' disciples:
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2)
This illustrates that Jesus was teaching the law of consequences. The disciples were questioning whether the child's being born blind was a consequence of his parent's activities, or a consequence of the man's prior activities.
This law of 'as you sow, so shall you reap' (Gal 6:7 King James) is a central component of the living being's learning experience in the physical body.
Each of us can make choices in life. Do we help others? Or do we hurt others? Do we give of our selves? Or do we take from others? Do we serve God or do we serve ourselves?
Those actions done with self-centered motives are called "sins."
Every action and decision we make has a consequence. Our actions and decisions are each stored up until they are expressed as physical responses. Sometimes our actions have immediate consequences. Maybe we will go to jail if we steal, for example. Sometimes our actions have delayed responses.
Some consequences are expressed in our next lifetimes if we do not return to the spiritual realm. They will become part of the next body's DNA and will be expressed as particular diseases or handicaps. In fact, every part of our physical body is a consequence of our past activities - good and bad.
This scenario - and the fact that it was being taught by early followers of Jesus - was confirmed in Galations 6:7:
"A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; for one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."
This is why Jesus saw the sins of the paralyzed man as so important, and why forgiving those sins was vital to the man's physical recovery. Out of his mercy upon the man, Jesus wanted to relieve the person of his past transgressions. This allowed the consequences of his actions to be lifted.
The ability to forgive sins comes from the Supreme Being. And should the Supreme Being’s confidential servant and representative request it of God, a person’s sins can be wiped clean. The true devoted servant of God never claims to be the Supreme Being. The representative of God continually harkens God’s power, and he desires to please the Supreme Being. This was expressed clearly by Jesus:
"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." (John 5:30)
(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Book of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus - translated from the original Greek texts.)