Mk 2:9


Hi, I’m reading through Mark. Jesus speaks to the Pharisees:

“Which is easier to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgivin’, or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?” -Mk 2:9

At face value, It seems that it would be easier to forgive someone’s sins than to miraculously heal thier body. Any solutions?


I think the point was he can do both. 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Sure, anyone can say your sins are forgiven because ther eis no proof that the sins are forgiven.

But, "Rise, pick up your mat and walk’. And that he proves.


That’s exactly Jesus’ point. It is easier to say to someone your sins are forgiven than to say you’re healed, get up and walk. To prove that He is really forgiving sins, He heals the man’s body. He does the harder of the two to prove He can do the easier one also.


It actually seems as if it would be easier to say “rise and walk” because of the fact that some people are capable of healing one another’s bodies. Yet at the time of Jesus, no one could forgive sins except god, so therefore it would be more difficult to say that “your sins are forgiven.”


It’s very easy to say the words “Your sins are forgiven you” - everyone can say it. But why would others believe it since there would be no way to show it really had occurred - all they would have is your word…

Jesus was interested in having people believe the truth and power of His words. So He says something where they can see the proof - see the power and truth of what He says.

Mark 2:10 10 But **that you may know that the Son of man hath power **on earth to forgive sins


I think that is a big part of the problem today, people want to believe, and they have heard all these miraculous things Jesus did while on earth, but it happened SOOO long ago, its not relevant to them, I think if Jesus were to do something similar in modern times, there would be alot more christians!

It doesnt seem to be a case of Jesus being unwilling to prove himself, as he did it many many times when he walked the earth back then, and in front of large audiences, so…he was not shy about doing these things, but in modern times, i think a large majority of people need to be ‘refreshed’.


The point is that a hidden sign is proved by a manifest one. Commentary:

Psuedo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: And because it is easier to say than to do, there was still manifestly something to say in opposition, for the work was not yet manifested.

Wherefore He subjoins, “But that ye may know, &c.” as if He said, Since ye doubt My word, I will bring on a work which will confirm what was unseen.

But He says in a marked manner, “On earth to forgive sins,” that He might shew that He has joined the power of the divinity to the human nature by an inseparable union, because although He was made man, yet He remained the Word of God; and although by an economy He conversed on the earth with men, nevertheless He was not prevented from working [p. 41] miracles and from giving remission of sins.

For His human nature did not in any thing take away from these things which essentially belonged to His Divinity, nor the Divinity hinder the Word of God from becoming on earth, according to the flesh, the Son of Man without change and in truth.

Theophylact: Again, He says, “Take up thy bed,” to prove the greater certainty of the miracle, shewing that it is not a mere illusion; and at the same time to shew that He not only healed, but gave strength; thus He not only turns away souls from sin, but gives them the power of working out the commandments.

Bede: A carnal sign therefore is given, that the spiritual sign may be proved, although it belongs to the same power to do away with the distempers of both soul and body.

Whence it follows: “And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all.”

Chrys.: Further, He first healed by the remission of sins that which He had come to seek, that is, a soul, so that when they faithlessly doubted, then He might bring forward a work before them, and in this way His word might be confirmed by the work, and a hidden sign be proved by an open one, that is, the health of the soul by the healing of the body.


You know there have been miracles in this day and age – and throughout the years. Quite a few people on CAF have noted this for you - and as I recall, even provided some links. Just as a starter - 70,000 people saw the miracle at Fatima.


Thank you. The issue between Jesus and the Pharisees seems to be whether or not he has the authority to forgive sins. And he proves that he does through a physical healing. Here is the verse in context,

“Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”” Mk 2:8-11

The thing that I wish to understand is what would be the authentic answer to Jesus’s question? How would the Pharisees answer? And why would Jesus pose this question to the Pharisees?


This should be quite clear. Naturally it is easier to “say” that sins are forgiven since men cannot see the result. It seems that Christ simply asked the question in order to demonstrate a point to people who doubted Him.


I am getting your point now - that saying “take up your pallet and walk” would have been easier to say. My take had always been the opposite before, but now I’m leaning toward your view given in Post #3. Thanks.

If we look at the whole purpose for which Our Lord spent 3 years in public ministry, it was to teach us God’s will and to lead us to faith in Himself - that He is God Incarnate.
So if Jesus wanted the easiest way to visibly prove to the crowd that His power was supernatural - that He might be more than just an ordinary man, He would have said “Take up your pallet and walk”. Jesus knew it would happen and there wouldn’t be subjected to challenges, doubts, misunderstandings, etc, about who did it, whether it occurred, etc.

But to say “your sins are forgiven you” that could present all sorts of questions and challenges for Jesus to deal with (which is of course what happened immediately with the scribes),.

In addition, forgiveness of sins required Our Lord’s passion and death. Without that, the whole human race would still be their sins. Forgiveness of sins is definitely not the easier for Our Lord that ordering a man’s legs to be healed.


oops - Post #4


I dont know about that, no one here knows the ‘logistics’ involved in healing someone, we know Jesus said it and the person was immediately healed, but we still dont understand HOW it actually happened, this may have been more taxing on him than forgiveness…?

With the degree of suffering that Jesus went thru during his last days here, it seems to me, even original sin should have been ‘bought and paid for’ as well, and basically done away with. just my opinion though.


??? Are you saying you think healing the paralytic’s limbs may have required more from Our Lord (mentally, physically, emotionally,…) than His atoning suffering & death for the forgiveness of sin?


I had a discussion with my parents on this verse last evening, and I’m sure that I have it right now:

It is easier to say that your sins are forgiven than to say rise and walk. This is because these men were operating in public, and one option is manifested physically, while the other is hidden. However, It was more difficult in Jesus’s time for a man to actually forgive sins than to actually heal bodies. The key word here is “to say.” My original issue was that I confused what would be easier to say and what would be easier to perform in actuality.

Responding to Jesus’s question, the Pharisees would answer: “To say that your sins are forgiven.” and Jesus anticipated this.

Because saying “your sins are forgiven” is the easier of the two options, Jesus will then say and perform the more difficult, and thus reinforce his ability to actually perform the easier. Jesus poses the question to bait the Pharisees and cause their eventual conversion, and to reinforce his universal ability to actually forgive sins.

Issue resolved, thank you for contributing.


In order to be healed, one has to have faith in the healer. The same thing goes with the forgiver of sins, if one doesn’t not believe the other has the power to forgive sins, they won’t believe their sins are truly forgiven.

Once your body is healed, it is healed and that’s that. But to know that your sins are truly forgiven requires more faith.

So I say it is easier for the man to take up his mat and walk, than to accept that his sins were forgiven. Although Jesus of course can do both - heal and forgive.


Yes, this is the main theme in all the gospels, you have to have faith in the healer, to be healed, only then the power of the healer will work for you.


Yes I guess that is what faith is.


A thought:
for Jesus to “say” something is equivalent to “performing it in actuality”.
He is the Word of God - what He declares/says, IS. (Eg. “Let there be light.” And there was light.)

I don’t dispute that the scribes thought it was easier to say “your sins are forgiven”. But I wonder if Jesus might have meant His question to be pondered not just by those scribes, but by all of us who would read of this event down through the ages. Perhaps He wants us to stop and think about which of the two truly is the easier for Him.
Jesus didn’t ask, "Which do you think is easier?..
Rather, He asked, "Which is easier?..


So, for a christian who is ‘on the fence’, going to confession is useless?

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