The Easier and Impossible

“Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?”Mark 2:9 

When Jesus forgave the sins of the paralytic, the scribes were outraged. Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7, ESV). 

These scribes pondered what Jesus said, as every man should: “Why does this man speak like that?” The teachings of Jesus are heavenly words that have come to men on earth. We should listen closely. The words of Christ are so startling that we may miss His infinite truths with our finite minds. We should listen carefully. 

These scribes even had correct theology: “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Men can forgive sins and offenses wronged unto them but they cannot absolve sins against God. Popes and priests have no power to forgive in that way. No mere man does. It is impossible. 

Although they pondered the sayings of Christ, and though they were educated men dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s of their doctrine and theology, they came to the wrong conclusion: “He is blaspheming!” The truth the Lord conveys is sourced in eternal power. We should listen cautiously, taking care not to interpret incorrectly. 

It is certainly easier for someone to say that a man’s sins against God are forgiven. Who would know it except God alone? Though Jesus says the easier statement, in order to demonstrate that He has the power and authority to forgive men’s sins He tells the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home” (Mark 2:11, ESV). What happened? The man sick of palsy “rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’” (Mark 2:12, ESV). 

Too often we are so amazed at the miracle that corroborates the truth that we miss the greater miracle of seeing a man forgiven of his sins by the gracious God who condescended to become a man in order to save His people from their sins! 

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. —Matthew 1:21

About Jon J. Cardwell

"The Spirited Speaker" - Pastor of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Anniston, Alabama. Nationally recognized speaker and publisher. Author of several books, including the bestseller, Christ and Him Crucified.


  1. God alone can forgive sins. What a great foundation we rest on! Jesus is God and his shed blood continually cleanses us.

    It saddens me when our 9 yr old neighbor boy goes to confession. The Catholic church may say their anathema’s for faith, Christ and grace alone but we are not condemed. We are FREE. Free from the penalty of sin.

    There is one mediator, the perfect Lamb of God, who paid our debt in full, once and for all.
    Believers have so much to be thankful for. Praise God!
    Thanks for posting this Pastor Jon.

  2. How morbidly sad to have correct theology and yet miss Christ, the greatest miracle! May God continue to bless and use you!

    • The first time I had that thought on this passage, sister, it was very sobering. You’re so right. How sad to be theologically correct and yet miss Christ.

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