Matthew 9:5
For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
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(5) Whether is easier, . . .?—The form of the question implies what we call an argument à fortiori. It was easier to say, “Thy sins are forgiven thee,” for those words could not be put to any outward test, and only the consciousness of the sinner could attest their power. It was a bolder and a harder thing to risk the utterance of words which challenged an immediate and visible fulfilment; and yet He was content to utter such words, without fear of the result. Measured in their true relation to each other, the spiritual wonder was, of course, the greater; but here, as so often elsewhere, He puts Himself, as it were, on the level of those who hear Him, and vouchsafes to speak to them according to their thoughts.

9:1-8 The faith of the friends of the paralytic in bringing him to Christ, was a strong faith; they firmly believed that Jesus Christ both could and would heal him. A strong faith regards no obstacles in pressing after Christ. It was a humble faith; they brought him to attend on Christ. It was an active faith. Sin may be pardoned, yet the sickness not be removed; the sickness may be removed, yet the sin not pardoned: but if we have the comfort of peace with God, with the comfort of recovery from sickness, this makes the healing a mercy indeed. This is no encouragement to sin. If thou bring thy sins to Jesus Christ, as thy malady and misery to be cured of, and delivered from, it is well; but to come with them, as thy darlings and delight, thinking still to retain them and receive him, is a gross mistake, a miserable delusion. The great intention of the blessed Jesus in the redemption he wrought, is to separate our hearts from sin. Our Lord Jesus has perfect knowledge of all that we say within ourselves. There is a great deal of evil in sinful thoughts, which is very offensive to the Lord Jesus. Christ designed to show that his great errand to the world was, to save his people from their sins. He turned from disputing with the scribes, and spake healing to the sick man. Not only he had no more need to be carried upon his bed, but he had strength to carry it. God must be glorified in all the power that is given to do good.For whether is easier to say - Thy "sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise and walk?" The one involves divine "power," the other divine "authority," and neither can be done but by God. One is as easy as the other; and to be able to do the one, involves the right and the power to do the other. CHAPTER 9

Mt 9:1-8. Healing of a Paralytic. ( = Mr 2:1-12; Lu 5:17-26).

This incident appears to follow next in order of time to the cure of the leper (Mt 8:1-4). For the exposition, see on [1239]Mr 2:1-12.

See Poole on "Matthew 9:6".

For whether is easier to say,..... Christ proceeds to clear himself of the charge of blasphemy, and to prove his power to forgive sins, by putting a case to them, of which he makes themselves Judges, and is this: which is easiest to be said,

thy sins are forgiven thee? or to say, arise and walk? Neither of them were easy to a mere creature, but both of them easy to God; and he that could say the one with power and efficacy going along with his word, could say the other as effectually: and whereas it was a plain case, and out of all question, that he could bid this "paralytic" man, though in this weak condition, arise from his bed, stand upon his feet, and go home of himself; and since he had already healed many that were sick of the palsy, and particularly the "centurion's" servant, by a word speaking, he must have equal power to forgive sin. For to heal the diseases of the body in such a wonderful manner, was a very sensible proof of his power to heal the maladies of the soul; and though these are greater than those of the body, yet since both require divine power, he that is able to do the one, is able to do the other. And that it might appear he did not say this in a boasting manner, he adds,

For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
Matthew 9:5. Γάρ] gives a reason for the thought expressed in the preceding question,—the thought, namely, that they were not justified in thinking evil of Him.

τί ἐστιν εὐκοπώτερον] The meaning is unquestionably this; the latter is quite as easy to say as the former, and conversely; the one requires no less power than the other; the same divine ἐξουσία enables both to be done; but in order that you may know that I was entitled to say the one, I will now add the other also: Arise, and so on. The result of the latter was accordingly the actual justification of the former. For τί in the sense of πότερον, comp. Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phil. p. 168.

ἔγειρε (see the critical remarks) is not a mere interjection, like ἄγε, ἔπειγε (Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 55 f.), seeing that it is followed by καί, and that the circumstance of the arising has an essential connection with the incident (see Matthew 9:2, ἐπὶ κλίν. βεβλημένον; comp. Matthew 20:6-7); but the transitive is used intransitively (Kühner, II. 1, p. 81 ff.), as is frequently the case, especially in verbs denoting haste (Bernhardy, p. 340). Eur. Iph. A. 624: ἔγειρʼ ἀδελφῆς ἐφʼ ὑμέναιον εὐτυχῶς.

Matthew 9:5. εὐκοπώτερον (from εὖ and κόπος, whence εὔκοπος; in N.T. (Gospels) only the comparative neuter is found, as here). The question as to ability, δύναμις, is first disposed of; which is easierεἰπεῖν: they are both alike easy to say; the vital matter is saying with effect. Saying here stands for doing. And to do the one thing was to do the other. To heal was to forgive. It is implied that it is easier to forgive than to make a palsied man strong. Christ means that the one is ordinary, the other extraordinary; the one is within the power of any man, the other belongs only to the exceptional man; there is no assumption in declaring pardon, there is pretension in saying “arise and walk”.

Matthew 9:5. Τί γὰρ, for which?) In itself either is the sign of Divine authority and power; and the connection between sin and disease is in itself most close: the power which removes both is one. According to human judgment, it is easier to say, “Thy sins are remitted;” and he who can say “Arise,” which appears greater, can also say this, which appears less.

Verse 5. - For. The expansion of his rebuke of their accusation, by his question and the command connected with it. Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee (Revised Version, are forgiven, omitting "thee"); or to say, Arise, and walk? The former, because the truth or otherwise of the latter is at once visible. Observe that the two alternatives cover the two realms of influence, the spiritual and the physical. Men will not believe profession in the former realm if it be unaccompanied by visible results in the latter. Matthew 9:5
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