Which is easier to say? Your sins are forgiven or arise and walk?

Which is easier to say? Your sins are forgiven or arise and walk? May 22, 2018

“They opened up the roof above him, and let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying” because so many had gathered, there was no longer room.  Jesus was preaching in Capernaum, according to Mark 2:1-12, and when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”

Knowing what was in the hearts of the scribes who were seated there and that they were calling him a blasphemer, since they believed only God can forgive sin, Jesus also said, “so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth, I say to the paralytic, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and go  home.”  Immediately, in sight of everyone, the paralytic picked up his mat and walked away.

“Pick up your mat and go home” was believable, as this happened right before their eyes.  A man known by the community as paralytic is surely not fraudulently walking away.  This is visible proof.

But “Child, your sins are forgiven”?  This presents a problem.  This is not something they could see, or feel, or touch, or even understand.  Only God could forgive sin.  But Jesus explained by saying that “the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”.

Was the fact that Jesus could heal the paralytic really enough to convince them of Jesus’ power to forgive sin, just because he said so?

“The Son of Man has the authority?”  Who is the Son of Man?  I think Jesus made some pretty serious assumptions back then.  Did they understand that as sons of man we are all members of the mystical body of Christ?  That since we are all made in the likeness of God that then Jesus can forgive sin?  And if Jesus can, then we can too?  Sometimes I find it hard to realize that first century followers of Jesus could understand his mysterious pronouncements.  And yet I must believe that they did since two thousand years later Jesus’ words are still teaching us lessons.  Jesus showed us the marvelous abilities we have as human beings, as sons of man.

At the time of Jesus, healing afflictions was not unheard of.  The apostles also healed the sick.  Today healings are commonplace – some of which were even hopeless not too long ago.  Medicine is phenomenal now, where it must have been pretty bleak back then.  Some healings must surely have been looked upon as a miracle.  But then, Mark says, “when Jesus saw their faith” he healed the paralytic.  Faith.  That’s the key word!

Jesus healed afflictions and forgave sin.  One definition of sin is missing the mark.  Sin takes you to the Ten Commandments and the word sin has evil connotations.  I remember as a child going to confession and saying the same thing over and over again for years, as I could not think of such a bad thing I would do that I could consider a sin.

We don’t talk about sin anymore – not even missing the mark, which is simply an expression to downplay the evil we think of as sin.

I see so much corruption.  I myself have fallen into the apathy of acceptance.  I have joined the rest of the world and look the other way.

Do we forgive sin?  Yes, we do.  Do we, say arise and walk?  Yes, we do.  Jesus was teaching us a lesson in advance 2000 years ago.

Which is easier?  I don’t think it’s a matter of “easy”.  I think it’s a matter of faith.




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