RHYTHM: Easier to Forgive – Matthew 9

Lectionary for youth ministry Matthew 9Saturday before Proper 5: Matthew 9:2-8

Reading: Matthew 9:2-8

Easier to Forgive

I’ve always been fascinated with this question: “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”

I don’t know, Jesus. Both? Neither? About the same? I mean, if you’re just asking about saying it, I can do both. If you mean say it and have something actually happen, you’ve got me. The reason he went with forgiveness first wasn’t because he’s Jesus and he’s here to forgive us all, though that’s part of it. Sickness, disease, and disability were all associated with past sins of the person or their family. By saying, “your sins are forgiven,” Jesus was symbolically releasing the man from his affliction at the perceived root issue.

Not that Jesus’ healing was ever well received by the teachers of the law, but he pauses to address the elephant in the hearts in the room. He’s pointing out that from their point of view, healing was essentially forgiveness—it also released people from their past.

“OK fine,” Jesus continues, and proceeds to perform the physical miracle that had been requested. The cultural association between sin and physical impairment is undeniable. Jesus is simply pointing out that his power to deal with one indicates the power to deal with the other. Good one, Jesus.

For reflection:

Had you ever picked up on that correlation?

We don’t associate illness or disability with sin anymore. What does forgiveness of sins look like today? How would Jesus demonstrate his power over sin in modern times?


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