I was reading Luke 5:17-26, and noticed Jesus made an interesting statement in verse 23, He said, “Which is easier, to say ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’, or to say, ‘get up and walk?'”
“One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, He said, ”Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, ‘Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?’ But Jesus, aware of their reasoning, answered and said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, -He said to the paralytic- I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.’ Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
When we think about the question Jesus posed to them, which is easier, to forgive or to heal, we automatically say to forgive sins because most of us have never said to a person, “Rise and walk,” and to have had it happen, but Jesus is saying to us that it is easier to heal someone than to forgive! When Jesus spoke to the man, He said your sins are forgiven and only healed him after He said, “In order that you may know I have authority to forgive…”
Why do you suppose then Jesus said it is easier to heal than forgive?
Because in healing someone there is no personal attachment. In fact is exciting for God to work through you. Verse 26 say’s, “They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God…” Jesus was able to do the more important thing by forgiving his inward sins, rather than the more outwardly glorious thing of healing. How can healing someone be easier for us than forgiving? Remember the teaching of the day was, “Eye for and eye,” but Jesus was bringing a new teaching, forgiveness. To forgive someone who has hurt you is humbling. It is to give up your right to get them back.
Think about whom you have not forgiven or the latest offence that you have forgiven someone, it was painfully hard to move past the feelings of hurt and betrayal. Much harder than praying for someone to be healed! The lesson I think Jesus wants us to grab a hold of, is for you to first think of their spiritual connection before God then reach out and heal them!
Father, help me to always remember that forgiveness of ones sins is far more important than their healing. Help me to be ready when the time comes to be like Jesus and put the spiritual before the physical. In His name, I pray, Amen.