Is it Easier to Say "Your Sins are Forgiven", or "Take up Your Bed and Walk?"



It has been recorded in the Gospels that, when Jesus healed a man with palsy by saying "Your sins are forgiven", the scribes accused Him of blasphemy because only God can forgive sins (Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:5-12, Luke 5:17-26). Of course, we now know that Jesus is God and He has the power to forgive sins, but in order to quiet the scribes, He said again to the man, "Take up your bed and walk", while leaving His observers this following question,

... is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? Mark 2:9

I believe most ministries would prefer to say "Your sins are forgiven", because no immediate evidence is required of them! However, Lord Jesus clearly indicated that saying "Your sins are forgiven' is harder. It is only because the crowd reacted so strongly that Lord Jesus changed to use the other words - "Take up your bed and walk" to quiet them down.


So, why is it more difficult to say "Your sins are forgiven?" This question was answered beautifully in Matthew 8:17

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. Matthew 8:17

By saying "Your sins are forgiven", Lord Jesus is actually bearing our sickness and infirmities, and all the results of the sins we have committed!


To illustrate with an example. an employee has stolen 10,000 dollars from a Company and was fired. Desperately in need of a job, the employee begged his company Director for forgiveness. The Director had compassion on him, and decided to give him a chance. To do this, he can either give a command to the Personnel Manager to "Restore his position", or in order to maintain justice in his company, he can say "His debt has been fully paid" by restoring the stolen money from his own pocket.


Which saying is more difficult? Of course the second one! In the first saying, the Director was simply using his given authority to give a command. Even if the employee has been restored in this way, he may still suffer other consequence like discrimination from other departments, or re-assignment of job duties by his department head. On the other hand, by paying all his debts, the Director fully restores the employee's position and all the privileges he used to have before he committed the crime!


In the same way, our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy, has chosen the more difficult path to restore us to what God has planned for us before the fall of humankind. Glory to the Father and Jesus Christ our Savior!