“Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’?”
Jesus’ question is obviously rhetorical. It is easier to say that a person’s sins are forgiven, because there is no physical way to prove that what you have said has taken place. On the other hand, telling a paralyzed person to get up and walk requires that something physical transpire afterward. There is something else happening here, though.
Making a paralytic walk was merely physically impossible. The man had legs and all the other necessary biological hardware required to walk. The hardware was not, however, in working order. In the last fifteen years or so, there have been articles written about medical science finding ways to repair broken spines and give paralyzed people the ability to walk. Repairing the biological hardware is possible.
Forgiving sins is a spiritual transaction and can only be done by the person who has been wronged. Since I did not make the rules — i.e. the Ten Commandments — it is not my rules that are broken when someone wrongs me. It is God’s rules that have been broken. This means that all sin ultimately traces back to God. He is always the wronged party. This means that He is also the only One Who can truly forgive sins. And forgiveness requires something, viz. atonement. The Law had established that sin can only be forgiven by the shedding of blood and Jesus was here establishing that He had the authority to forgive sins, because His own blood would be poured out to accomplish it.
It is easy to say some things and more difficult to say others. It is easy to say that I believe in God and salvation and all the attendant things that come along with being a Christian. It is quite another to say that I am a Christian then to substantiate the statement with a life that backs it up. Saying that I believe is easy and requires no proof. Saying that I am a Christian must be accompanied by fruit that allows others to discern that my claim is true.
While it is easier to make claims and harder to substantiate them, it is the substantiation that really makes the claim more than wind. Let me examine myself and determine whether or not my life substantiates my claim of belief in Christ.