“Which is easier, to say to the paralytic?

Mark 2:9 “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’?”

Read: Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26


his own city (Matthew), a house in Capernaum (Mark)

large crowd gathered, overflowed into street and surrounding area (Mark); Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem (Luke)

a paralytic, a disabled person (Matt., Mk, Luk) brought by four friends (Mark)

Person(s) being questioned:

some of the scribes (Matt, Mk) and the Pharisees (Luk) – some had traveled 60 miles from Jerusalem

large crowd listening, religious leaders singled out by Jesus

Question behind the question:

Is there truly a connection between sin and sickness? (John 9:2-3)

Do you not know who I am?

What do you think the paralytic’s greatest need is?

Expected response:

actually none – their theology put them between rock and hard place

believed, rightly, only God could forgive sin, only God could heal; believed, wrongly, if God forgave, then God healed

did not believe a mere man could give assurance of forgiveness, esp. when sickness persisted; yet, knew could say it and not be able to disprove – “get up and walk”… proof of effectiveness immediate

Jesus’ point:

their theology was wrong: sickness may or may not be related to personal or parental sin

many outrageous sinners the picture of health; many faithful devoted Christians suffer horrible illness

mankind’s greatest need – forgiveness of sin, not physical healing; true globally and individually

affliction can provide opportunity for God to demonstrate his God-ness

Modern Application:

should seek first for self and others – right relationship with God… spiritual healing; physical may/may not come later

praying for brothers and sisters in dangerous places – keep safe from spiritual harm; physical safety is secondary

forgiveness is source of joy regardless of physical condition

and, of course, don’t make mistake of religious leaders: suffering not necessarily caused by sin, not indicator of spiritual health


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