And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing[a] their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. Matt. 9:2-8 ESV
In this powerful lesson on healing, it would appear that Jesus was just ‘messin’ with religious crowd that day to get a reaction out of them. But after a closer examination, we must conclude that although this was (and still is) upsetting for those of a religious mindset, this question must be answered in order to understand and receive the healing that God so desires us to have. The paralytic was brought to Jesus by his friends to be healed, but Jesus saw their faith and told the man that his sins were forgiven. Judging from the fact that Jesus always cut through the chase and got to the root of the problem, we know that his mention of sin was not a mistake, but in fact, it was the real problem. But still, we would be missing the point if we stopped there. At this point, doubts and questions from the crowd must have risen to a crescendo. Having located the paralytic, now Jesus locates the crowd by asking, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?”
One astute preacher pointed out that the mindset of Jesus’ crowd was reverse of the mindset of most church-goers today. In that day, after probably witnessing thousands being healed through Jesus’ ministry, the thinking was that it was much easier to be healed than to have your sins forgiven. Today, on the other hand, most wouldn’t even flinch to stand in the gap for the worst of sinners if they were simply ready to repent and ask Jesus to come into their hearts to save them. But to believe God to heal a paralytic would be quickly swept under the religious rug of questioning whether or not God wills to heal them. The question we must still answer is which is easier?
From God’s perspective things have not changed since the day the paralytic was placed at the feet of Jesus. Notice that Jesus interchanges healing and forgiveness of sins to make his point. First the man comes for healing and he tells him to be encouraged, your sins are forgiven! Next, he says, “That you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, he then said to the paralytic, ‘Rise, pick up your bed and go home.'” The obvious answer to Jesus’ question is that, for us today, it is just easy to heal as it to forgive sins. For the benefit of Jesus’ crowd, it is just as easy for God to forgive sins as it is for him to heal sick bodies.
As we celebrate Passion Week, now would be the perfect time to make this point. In the same payment that Jesus paid for our sins, he paid the price for our healing too! The price required to redeem us from sin and all of its results, was nothing less than the precious blood of Jesus. The same blood paid for your sins and your healing.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5 KJV
Take a look at verse four in a good reference Bible or a Hebrew dictionary and you will find ‘diseases’ substituted for ‘griefs’ and ‘pain’ substituted for ‘sorrows.’ So we could read it this way, “Surely he hath borne our diseases, and carried our pains.” If you need further proof that Jesus not only paid for your sins but your healing also, look at how Matthew translated verse four from Isaiah: “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matt. 8:17). We know this is speaking of physical healing for Matthew’s response to Peter’s mother-in-law being healed of a fever, the demon oppressed being set free, and the crowd that was healed of their diseases that day was “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet.” In other words these healings and deliverances are the fulfillment of what Isaiah prophesied seven hundred years prior.
So to the question, Which is easier? The answer is first think about who we are dealing with here! For with God it makes no difference; one is no more difficult than the other with Him. Through the prophet Jeremiah God asks, “Is there any thing too hard for me” (Jer. 32:27)? So the real question is rather to us, Is it harder for us to believe God to heal us or to forgive us of our sins? If we can believe God to forgive us of our sins and take us to heaven when we die, then believing for God to heal us should be a small thing in comparison! Jesus purchased them both with his very own blood.