5 Minute Read


Numbers 33:40–35:34
Luke 5:12-28
Psalm 65:1-13
Proverbs 11:23


Luke 5:23 (CSB): “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”


Our Verse for Today provides for us a very good question. It came from the mouth of Jesus as He confronted some self-righteous scribes and Pharisees.

Luke 5:23 (CSB): “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”

So, before we dive into the text, what would your answer be? Is it easier to say that someone’s sins are forgiven or to say to a crippled man to get up and walk?

Even more to the point, regardless how easy it is to say something, is it easier to forgive sins or to heal a crippled man?

(Seriously. Think about that question. Pick one that you think is easier.)

OK, let’s get into the story…

A crippled man had been brought to Jesus. As Jesus looked at those that had brought him, the Bible says:

Luke 5:20 (CSB): “Seeing their faith he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.'”

Jesus looked at the men who brought the crippled man. He saw faith in their eyes. The fact that they were willing to look like fools by tearing a roof apart to get their friend to Jesus made it clear that they believed Jesus could do something about their friend’s problem. Jesus, knowing that the crippled man’s most desperate problem was his separation from God, forgave the man’s sins right then and there.

But, in the same room were some scribes and Pharisees. When they heard Jesus say this, they went into a frenzy. They couldn’t believe what had just come out of His mouth!

Luke 5:21 (CSB): “Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to think to themselves: ‘Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'”

They rightfully ascribed to God alone the right to forgive sins. But, since they didn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah, nor acknowledge that He was God in the flesh, they accused Him of blasphemy.

This was a serious offense. In fact, they may have been prepared to take Jesus’ life for uttering such words.

Jesus maintained control of the situation by going on the offense. He wanted to correct their theology while demonstrating His deity. He began by asking a question.

Luke 5:22-23 (CSB): “But perceiving their thoughts, Jesus replied to them, ‘Why are you thinking this in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”?'”

So, what is your answer to Jesus’ final question? Is it easier to say “Your sins are forgiven” or to say, “Get up and walk”?

Honestly, both of them are easy to say. But, on its face, it would seem that saying “Your sins are forgiven” is easier.


Because when Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven,” nothing happened. There was no proof, no tangible evidence that anything had happened in the man’s life. His sins had been forgiven … but it couldn’t be observed by the scribes and Pharisees.

However, when Jesus said, “Get up and walk,” well that’s another story. The proof of Jesus’ authority to say such a thing would be evidenced by whether or not the crippled man got up and walked. Unlike the forgiveness of sins, that would be provable.

Even though healing the man physically would be easier than healing the man spiritually (which would require Jesus’ death on a cross), only one of these things had the ability to be provable.

So, while forgiving sins was definitely harder, the Pharisees thought that healing the man physically was harder.

That’s why Jesus felt compelled to heal the man physically after healing him spiritually. He wanted the scribes and Pharisees to see Him do what they thought was the harder thing (say that the man was healed) to demonstrate that He could do what they thought was the easier thing (say that sins are forgiven).

That’s exactly what we see Jesus doing in the next few verses…

Luke 5:24-25 (CSB): ” ‘But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ – he told the paralyzed man, ‘I tell you: Get up, take your stretcher, and go home.’ Immediately he got up before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God.”

Friend, upon reflection would would readily acknowledge that it required less of Jesus to heal the crippled man’s body than to heal his soul. Healing his soul, by forgiving his sins, would require Jesus to go to the cross to pay for that man’s sins that Jesus had so easily forgiven.

As we reflect on what this means for us, it should cause us to be much more grateful and much more serious when we sin and then ask for forgiveness. Sure, it’s easy for Jesus to say, “Your sins are forgiven.” However, it required His death on the cross to give Him the ability to actually make good on those words.

So, let’s Jesus words comfort you. He wants to forgive you if you will only ask.

But, let the cross spur you on to holiness, abstaining from sin, and being fill with seriousness and gratitude when you ask for forgiveness.