Jesus Has Authority to Forgive Sins!
2 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
- I am willing to make you clean. Leper (Not your fault)
- I have the authority and ability to forgive sins. Paralytic (Nothing you can do about it!)
- I have come to heal people of their sin problems. Sinners (Hated problematic sub groups)
What are our sin problems?
- Sensual issues
- Greed/ materialism issues
- Pride/ competition and conflict issues
Of what value is Jesus to you?
Our story today: Jesus has the authority to forgive sins
- The Setting
- Teaching about the kingdom of God
Jesus is back in Capernaum. People are extremely motivated to hear him speak and see what He will do. The demonstration of power over sickness and demonic oppression is most attractive.
What is Jesus’ message
- The kingdom is near: Repent so you don’t miss what God is doing.
- The kingdom is like… (parables) look ahead to chapter 4
- The opportunity for conflict with “the Biblical authorities”
- Demonstration of unique ministry authority
- Heal sickness
- Deliverance from demons
- How many unique authorities does Jesus have? Well, we will have another introduced in this passage and finally in Matthew 28:18 Jesus has all authority!
- Whose faith creates the action?
“Jesus saw their faith” verse 5
- How does Jesus see their faith? In their assertiveness to come to Him. They are tearing up this house! (Peter and Andrews house again?)
- How can Jesus look at the faith of some friends and forgive the sins of another? I don’t know.
If the issue is purely healing it makes sense to me. The impact of sin in a person’s life is sickness. All sickness is a result of sin. But this is not about sickness. It is about sin!
- The Statement
“Son, your sins are forgiven”
- Why controversial?
Don’t miss the questions of
1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
The question of the teachers of the law: “Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
This is a good question. What does Scripture say?
Before the fall:
25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
26 He shall burn all the fat on the altar as he burned the fat of the fellowship offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for the leader’s sin, and he will be forgiven.
31 They shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar as an aroma pleasing to the Lord. In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven.
35 They shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the lamb of the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar on top of the food offerings presented to the Lord. In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven.
10 The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven.
13 In this way the priest will make atonement for them for any of these sins they have committed, and they will be forgiven. The rest of the offering will belong to the priest, as in the case of the grain offering.’”
II Chronicles 7:14
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
1 Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Lots and lots of OT pleas to God for forgiveness!
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
- How can this not be blasphemy?
There are lots of OT examples of pleading for forgiveness, even forgiveness for other people!
Exodus 32 Moses pleads for the people at the Golden Calf:
30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”
31 So Moses went back to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”
Numbers 19 Moses pleads for the people after the rejection of the Spies to enter the Promised Land.
17 “Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ 19 In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”
20 The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked.
There are lots of examples of pleading for the forgiveness of others! But…
What you don’t see is an individual speaking up and saying, “Your sins are forgiven.” That is God’s job!
Jesus could be alluding to something different than they understood. This can be a possibility to them.
- Jesus and the Son of Man v.10
This is an ambiguous term. Jesus uses it on purpose. Jesus knows that the religious leadership is not receptive of His ministry or teaching. They have consistent conflict. They do not submit to his authoritative teaching. And their teaching must be superseded by His!
20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
The day of absolute confrontation will occur. This is early on in His ministry. Jesus obviously cannot back down from what God has called Him to be and do. But I believe He uses:
- the term “Son of Man” and
- a lack of revealing Himself to the authorities to avoid arrest.
When He is arrested and they go through the mock trials, He is asked directly:
62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent.
The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”[e]
65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?”
“He is worthy of death,” they answered.
Jesus has just defined the term Son of Man! He has quoted from Daniel 7 and claimed that what was written was written about Him!
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
In effect, this is what Jesus says is true of Him!
III. The Claim to Authority
Dictionary definition: Unique influence: The ability to command thought, opinion or behavior
1.The right to exercise power. (This is like the authority of the police. People who are exercising the power of law enforcement on others.)
- The power of one whose will and commands must be obeyed.
Jesus’ direct claim is…
- I can forgive sins
Jesus has the ability to speak to reality and reality must submit to what He says!
To the leper He says:
To the paralytic He says:
“Your sins are forgiven”
To the woman caught in adultery He says:
“I do not condemn you. Go and sin no more!”
To the Apostle who denied Him He says:
“Feed my lambs”
To the “sinful woman” who washed His feet with her tears He says: “Your sins are forgiven, your faith has saved you. Go in peace!”
To the thief on the cross He says:
“Today you will be in paradise”
To all people throughout time He says:
“20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
How can Jesus restore the fellowship with God that is lost when Adam sinned? He has unique ability!
- I can resolve the consequences of sin
Are you paralyzed by sin?
Are you diminished by sin?
Have you lost purpose and meaning because of sin?
Have you been hurt by the sins of others?
Trust and follow Jesus!
He will heal, deliver and give purpose and meaning and love to your life.
“Why does this fellow speak this way?” In effect, “Who does He think He is that He can speak about these things in this way?”
- He is a blasphemer! He deserves to die!!!
- Who am I?
“We have never seen anything like this. We have never heard anything like this. We are extremely surprised. We are amazed. Jesus has unique authority to teach, to heal sickness, to command demons and to forgive the sins of people. This unique authority is found in His unique identity.
31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.
33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.
36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me.
Jesus knows exactly Who He is: He is God’s Son, the 2nd person of the Trinity, born of a virgin, lived without sin, baptized by John, sinless through the wilderness of temptation, anointed by the Holy Spirit and power to teach about the kingdom of God, heal people from the ravages of sin, drive away with angry furor the demons who torment people, and forgive their sins.
He is the one who dies for our sin so that we might live a new life apart from that sin. He is our way, our truth and our life. He is our good shepherd, He is our light, our love, our truth and eternal husband. He provides what we need for life and that more abundantly than any other source. That is Who Jesus is!
Jesus knows exactly what He has come to do:
He is the lamb who was slain who has purchased people for God from every tribe, tongue and nation. He ascended to the right hand of the Fathers and is the sender of the Holy Spirit, who extends the ministry of Jesus into hearts of people everywhere at once! He will return for a bride who is spotless and pure. He is excited to be reunited with His bride and to live in His Father’s house forever. He is the one and only who is worthy of all praise, honor, glory and dominion forever and ever amen.
The question is whether or not we will trust in Who He is and What He came to do! Do we have faith that follows Jesus?