Which Is Easier

Which Is Easier

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:20 NIV).

 

I wonder what the paralytic man on the mat thought when he heard these most likely unexpected words. Perhaps he thought, “Well, thanks, Lord, but I still would like to walk.”

Hearing this pronouncement may have been enough of a shock, but now he found himself the center of attention as the Pharisees stared in disapproval, their inner thoughts heard only by the Messiah. “Blasphemy! Does this man think he has authority to forgive sins?”

While the Pharisees stewed in the angst, the man and his friends felt the heat of Jesus’s critics’—their cold, unspoken questions.

And what of the man’s friends? What prompted them to bring their friend to Jesus? Had they witnessed a previous healing? We know that these men went to extraordinary efforts when conventional methods of carrying their comrade to Jesus were blocked. Their faith that this miracle worker could help their friend caused th

em to pursue other problem-solving techniques.  They found a creative solution but hardly one that could go unnoticed. All eyes were front and center wondering what Jesus would do. And now, after all, they endured to bring him to a new hope, this marvel of the known world simply said, “Your sins are forgiven.”

What?  No spitting on the ground?  No hands lifted to heaven? No instruction to bathe in the river? Those who labored to bring their friend hope must have wondered why the Savior acted in such a manner.

The Bible does not fill us in on the private thoughts of the man and his friends. The story leaves the scene to describe the ire of the Pharisees. Jesus seized this opportunity to reveal to the populous that He was more than a medicine man. Through these authoritative words, He revealed His part in the Holy Trinity. What a pity these learned men of God’s Word failed to get the connection.

Our Lord understands the human need for tangible evidence of God’s intervention. Perhaps that is why most prayer meetings are mostly comprised of petitions for the sick and perhaps why Jesus’s ministry included a high priority on healing. And so, the challenge was put forth: which was easier, to forgive sins or to heal a man of an incurable disease? The Pharisees knew they could do neither.

Their noisy criticism was replaced with thunderous praises when Jesus simply told the man to get up and go home (Luke 5:24). Whether for a moment he forgot he was paralyzed and was in a hurry to escape or his mustard-seed faith was instantly rewarded, the man stood in obedience to Christ’s command, picked up his former bedding, and left by the power of his own two legs. The important finish was that he departed “praising God (Luke 5:25).”

In fact, everyone praised God. The “WOWS!” went around the room like a wave at a ball game. Cynicism and criticism were replaced by awe and wonder. No different than any miracle witnessed today. The petitions go up, the Lord reaches down, and we are still amazed that with forgiveness, comes healing. Perhaps we are freed from the pain of our past, or released from guilt, or God heals us physically.

The truth is that God is sovereign over both our soul and our body. God still manifests His supremacy through acts of miraculous healing. Friends continue to petition Heaven for that which man cannot do. And the Lord continues to put

forth the question, “Which is easier, to forgive your sins for which you cannot pay the price, or to vanish your aches and pains?  You are helpless to do either. Rise up and walk, for your sins are forgiven.”

 

About Linda Wood Rondeau

Award-winning author Linda Wood Rondeau writes blended contemporary fiction that demonstrates, once surrendered to God, our worst past often becomes our best future. Retired from her long career in human services, she enjoys being able to play golf year around. Readers may visit her website and blog, called Snark and Sensibility.

Comments

  1. “The “WOWS!” went around the room like a wave at a ball game. Cynicism and criticism were replaced by awe and wonder. No different than any miracle witnessed today.” I love thinking of WOWs as praise. You helped me hear the sizzle of the crowd as this miracle occurred before their eyes. Thanks. Good job, you!

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