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Mark 2:9

ESV Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’?
NIV Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'?
NASB Which is easier, to say to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’?
CSB Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat, and walk'?
NLT Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’?
KJV 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?

What does Mark 2:9 mean?

Jesus declares the sins of a paralyzed man forgiven because of his strong faith. He then confronts the scribes who determine that Jesus has no right to forgive and that He must be blaspheming. The scribes know that Jesus has healed many, and now they hear Him reveal their innermost thoughts.

Jesus challenges them, basically asking them if they will believe if He performs yet another miracle. The Greek root from which "say" is taken is lego. It means to affirm or teach, but it also means to command. If Jesus can command the obvious miracle of healing a paralytic so that he can walk, a situation everyone can see right in front of them, what right will the scribes have to disbelieve that He also has the authority to declare the man's sins are forgiven, a situation no one but God can see?

The rest of the New Testament picks up on this theme that our relationship to God is made evident through what we do. Later, Jesus will say that a good tree produces good fruit while a bad tree produces bad fruit (Matthew 12:33). "Fruit" is the works, attitude, and results that come naturally as a person lives out their heart. Jesus heals people (Mark 1:33–34), gets rid of demons (Mark 1:23–27), and teaches with authority (Mark 1:22). This "good fruit" should indicate to the scribes that Jesus is a "good tree" and that His more challenging statements should at least be seriously considered, if not trusted right away.
What is the Gospel?
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