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Authority to Forgive Sins

Mark 2.1-12
And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
"The house" could well have been Peter's house, for the whole city knew where it was (1.29-32). It was easy for the four friends to break up the roof, for it was composed of laths, tiles, and grass, and the men would have access to the roof by means of an outside stairway. We must commend them for their love for their friend, their concern to get him to Jesus, and their faith that Jesus would heal him (1.5). The scribes must have arrived early because they were near enough to Jesus to see and hear all that went on (1.6). Of course it would have been much easier for Jesus to say, "Your sins be forgiven," for nobody could prove whether or not the man's sins were indeed forgiven. So Jesus backed up His word of forgiveness with a word of healing, and the man went home whole. And everyone glorified God (1.12)!

God alone has the prerogative to forgive sins, so you can imagine the stir when Jesus assumed that authority. When we share the story of God’s love with people today, we introduce them to the only one who can forgive sins, the only one authorized to remove the barrier between us and God. Thousands of people today are certified to perform surgeries, to argue cases at law, and to referee basketball games. Only one is authorized to forgive sins. When your conscience attacks you, when your doubts undermine your faith, when your problems overwhelm you, recognize Jesus’ authority to heal and to forgive.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Pastor Jeff
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