Which is easier – to forgive someone’s sins or to simply speak words that physically heal a man who is paralyzed?
It would seem that telling someone that their sins are forgiven is easier since the act cannot be measured by the naked eye. Telling someone who is paralyzed to get up and walk … well, when they don’t get up and walk, it just shows how difficult (impossible!) it is to heal someone with just a word.
Some of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day heard Jesus tell a paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven and they were shocked and appalled. They cried out that He was blaspheming because only God could forgive sins.
So, Jesus asked the question: “Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’?” (Matthew 9:5).
Honestly, as difficult (impossible!) as it is to heal a man with just a word, it is even more impossible to forgive sins. So, Jesus essentially told those religious leaders, “Since you think that physical healing is more difficult than forgiving sins, I’ll do the “difficult” thing and heal this guy. In doing so, I’ll show you that I can also do the “easier” thing – forgive sins.
Matthew 9:6-7 “‘So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.’ Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!’ And the man jumped up and went home!”
Jesus performed a physical miracle to show that He could easily do the spiritual miracle.
…which takes my thoughts to the cross…
What did Jesus do on the cross? He died to pay the sin debt of all who would believe. How do we know that He had the power to forgive the sins of everyone who looked to Him for salvation? He did the “difficult” thing and rose from the dead. In doing so, He showed that He had the power to do the “easier” thing and forgive our sins.