Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? (Mark 2:9 ESV)
I've always read this as a rhetorical question which insists that it is easier to say 'Your sins are forgiven' than ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’. But is this correct?
After he asks this question he continues with
"But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...” (Mark 2:10 ESV)
Then Jesus tells the man to rise up and the man is healed.
It seems to me, especially from Mark 2:10, that it is equally difficult to forgive sins as it is to heal a paralytic, since only God can forgive sins. Jesus establishes his authority to forgive sins by healing the man. So the only way he could heal the man is if he were also able to forgive sins, thus making himself equal with God. Therefore it is equally difficult to say 'your sins are forgiven.'
So what is the implication of this question that Jesus poses to the scribes and to the crowd? Is there an implication that one of these is easier than another? Perhaps Jesus is implying that it is easier for a person to simply say (without any integrity) 'your sins are forgiven' since it would be quite difficult to find out if the sins were forgiven.
An analysis of the Greek would be highly appreciated.