What could have our Lord Jesus meant by this statement?


Wishes in the Love of God

In Mark 2:1-12, our Lord Jesus heals a crippled (or paralyzed) man.

Jesus says (Mark 2:9):
Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?

Does this mean, our Lord thinks to say “Your sins are forgiven” as easier compared to saying “Getup, take your mat and walk”?
If this is true, why is the former easier than the latter?
What is easy in this context?



I haven’t looked it up in a commentary, but it sounds like it is easier to heal the body than healing the soul.


My study Bible notes said that it’s Jesus’ way of showing everybody else that he has the authority he claims to have. He can say, “Your sins are forgiven.” and skeptics will just think, “Oh, he can say that but it’s not true.” But to say, “Take up your mat and walk” and instantly heal someone proves that he’s not just talk.


It is easier to say “your sins are forgiven”, because the mercy of God is well-known and easily obtained. If my neighbor speaks to me about a past grave sin that he deeply regrets, I can tell him that God forgives him due to his repentance (with perfect contrition as we say).

It is harder to say “take up your mat and walk”, since this type of miracle is much less common than the forgiveness of repentant sinners. But Jesus performs the miracle, the harder thing, to prove that God forgives sins.


Interesting comments. I always thought, from a purely literal point of view, that this was a trick question. Neither statement is hard to say. They’re just words, and I can say either of them without any difficulty.:shrug:

Not always a deep thinker, I know. :stuck_out_tongue:


This is one of the statements that is used to prove that Jesus was God himself - that Jesus himself claimed that he was God.

Please consider for the moment that someone has wronged you, and that you are hurt. Can some third party forgive the person who wronged you? Does that even make sense? No. The only way that the person who wronged you can be forgiven is by you. It must be you.

Therefore, for Jesus to say that your sins are forgiven, sins being an offense against God, means that he is God.

Saying to someone to take up your mat and walk requires only a skilled healer, not God himself.

But he was noting that they saw things differently. They saw the proof that he was God in the healing. But it is in the forgiving of sins that we see that Jesus is God himself actually. That is the point of this teaching.


I think that Christ was making the point that neither of them is easy to say and have it be done.

Part of what was going on was Christ was being challenged for forgiving sins when “who but God can do this?” They challenge Christ’s authority over man.

At this point, Christ has forgiven the paralytics sins, but this was not something others could see, so His authority was easily challenged. But Christ takes it a step further as a way to show His command and power. Sort of like, “Oh, you don’t think I can do that, forgive some sins? Well, do you think I could make him walk? Let me show you what I can do.”

And, of course, the forgiveness of sins is actually the greater act since you can get to heaven with no legs but not with mortal sins, but the healing of the body is enough to demonstrate Christ’s authority.

I shouldn’t be putting words in Chirst’s mouth, and that’s not what I mean to so here, but that’s always how I’ve seen it. Neither one of them is easy, but the healing of the body is apparent and points to the healing of the soul, which is less apparent but much more necessary.


It was much harder for Jesus to forgive than to heal.

To heal was really quite easy…being creator and master of the universe. But to forgive not so easy…being the suffering redeemer for all sin.


In the scripture passage Jesus knew they were murmuring and accusing him of blasphemy because only God can forgive sins. The statement to those murmuring was a question “Which is easier to forgive a mans sins or heal the person”? The crowd of doubters would have no doubt said, “Well it is much easier to say something you cannot prove after all anyone can say your sins are forgiven, I could say that to the person next me, what proof is there that you, Jesus actually did forgive that mans sin”. Then they would say, “now if you told a cripple man to get up and walk that would be something, and we could see that.”

Jesus, healed the cripple so that the crowd knew the Son of Man had the authority to forgive sins, and afterwards they glorified God.


The Jewish religion teaches that only a burnt offering in the temple can earn the forgiveness of sins.

Remember the sign jesus gave about destroying this temple and he will raise it up in three days?

By saying he could forgive sins he was putting himself on par with God, he was also challenging the authority of the priesthood as they were the administers of the old covenant.

Jesus was announcing something theologically new that challenged the social order.

The Jewish leadership should have recognized Jesus as the messiah because there were over 300 prophecies about him, but they were blind to the truth because they loved their power and position more then the promise of the messiah. They assumed the messiah would restore Israel from Roman rule and justify the Jewish priesthood.

They were so blind that even the proof of miracles did not convince them because their hearts were worldly and did not love god. This is a sad commentary on the state of fallen man that even when the miraculous happens men choose not to believe.

This is also a sign of gods disapproval of pride and his pattern of bringing down the proud and raising up the weak and lowly. This is a God who serves and loves.

By first forgiving the man his sin then healing him miraculously he proved he could do the former and revealed his divinity. Jesus was also doing this in the presence of his apostles who were learning what the new covenant was about, and this would serve as a teaching point to them of what Jesus true mission was, to heal the relationship between man and god by the forgiveness of sin. Jesus was likely also exposing his apostles to the outrage and persecution they would endure for following him, but why it was important to do so, and how to handle it.

Each of the gospels also was targeting a particular audience.


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