“Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?” (Matthew 9:5)
This sentence is full of the searching wisdom of Jesus, and may not be what it appears at first blush. Which IS easier, to say that a person’s sins are forgiven, or to make them rise and walk? There are a couple of layers of truth here:
The fact is, it is easier to “say” that a person’s sins are forgiven — who knows if they really are or not? — than to make someone rise and walk, which no human has the ability to do. But on the other hand, who really CAN say that people’s sins are forgiven? No mere human has the ability to do THAT, either. Mankind has rebelled against God in sin, and has separated themselves from His absolute holiness. And what can clean us from the guilt of this sin? NOTHING that we can say or do! “With men this is impossible!” The fact is, it is easier for us to make a paralyzed man rise and walk than it is for us to have our sins forgiven!
This is the lesson here. That Jesus can tell this man “Your sins are forgiven” is a miracle from God, only made possible because He did what NONE of us could ever do: perfect God became man, and died on the cross bearing the wrath of God for our sins. Yes, “with men it is impossible — but with God all things are possible” — including the forgiveness of our sins.
The takeaway for us here is that we need to make sure that we do not treat our sin — and the forgiveness of our sins — casually, as if it were no big deal. When we sin lightheartedly, and think, “Oh, God will just forgive me”, we betray our lighthearted attitude about sin. Our sins are grievous; they are rebellion against Holy God. They bring the penalty of death and eternal separation from His glory — and the fact is, there is only ONE ultimately costly, excruciatingly painful means of forgiving it; ONE: the death of Jesus on the cross for us.
Thus we must never take our sins lightly: either the committing of them, or the forgiveness of them. Jesus reminds here how weighty that whole matter is: it is easier to make a paralyzed man rise and walk, than it is to forgive sins! He deserves our most sincere worship and wholehearted service, that He did indeed provide that one, costly, “impossible for men” sacrifice that made it possible for Him to say to us: “Your sins are forgiven.”