“Some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven. . . Stand up and go home. And the man stood up and went home” (Matt. 9:2, 6-7)
The blind see, the deaf hear, the mute speak, and the lame walk.
This is good news indeed! Worthy of celebration!
But not everyone was ready to pop the champagne. The scribes contended that Jesus was blaspheming (disrespecting God) when He forgave the men’s sins.
They believed only God could forgive sin (and they were right – because Jesus is God; they just didn’t want to admit it).
As Jesus perceived the scribe’s thoughts, He asked them directly, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” (Mt. 9:4)
Then He hits them with a riddle: “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk?’” (v.5)
And then, for good measure, Jesus adds, “So you will know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” [He turns to the paralytic] “Stand up, take your mat and go home.” (v.6)
Essentially Jesus says, “Which is easier: to forgive sins or heal the sick? Well, I can do both. Watch.”
And he proves it.
The man was thrilled and grateful to be healed. The people were amazed. God was glorified. Everybody wins! There’s no downside here.
So why were the scribes so upset?
It is something we see all too often today, and it was predicted by the prophet Isaiah in about 740 BC: “There will come a time when people will call evil good, and good evil.” (Isa 5:20)
Seek God’s wisdom and discernment in all matters of life to determine whether something is true or false; good or bad; right or wrong; positive or negative. Hold it up to the Word of God. He will show you the way.