“Which is easier: to say to the paralytic ‘Your sins are forgiven’, or to say ‘Get up, take up your mat and walk’?...He (the paralytic) got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. Mark 2:9,12 NIV
I always feel that my head gets a little twisted around when I read this passage. Some men brought a paralytic man to Jesus for healing. It was very crowded and the friends decided the only way to get into the house was through the roof so they removed some shingles and lowered their friend down so that he would be near Jesus. After remarking on their faith, Jesus tells the paralytic that his sins are forgiven. The teachers of the law were furious because only God could forgive sins. Jesus had already been healing many people so that was nothing new but here he was somehow equating the healings with his authority to forgive sins. Jesus told the paralytic man to get up which he did and he was healed. The observing crowd was amazed and praised God, so they seemed to be directly tying Jesus’ healing power to God or God working through Jesus.
I’m not sure how faith, forgiveness and healing all fit together and yet in this passage they appear to be tightly linked. Perhaps faith brings us to Jesus and healing opens our hearts to be forgiven. But what is abundantly clear is that Jesus has the authority to heal and to forgive.