The Gospel of Mark #6 - Authority to Forgive Sins
The Gospel of Mark #6:
Jesus’ Authority to Forgive Sins
Text: Mark 2:1-12
Thesis: To point out that we must go to Jesus in order to be forgiven.
(1) Jesus’ authority has thus far included:
(a) Power over demons (1:21-28)
(b) Power over sickness (1:29-45)
(2) Now, we see that His authority extends to being able to forgive sins:
I. The Story:
A. Jesus is now back in Capernaum.
1. He is at a house, possible Peter’s (cf. Mark 1:29).
2. “With amazing speed the news spread that a miracle-working Teacher had come to Capernaum; and wherever our Lord went, great crowds gathered” (Wiersbe 1:114).
B. Four men brought their friend who was a paralytic to Jesus.
1. However, the crowd was too thick and they could not enter the house through conventional methods.
2. Therefore, the four men decided to go up on the roof where they would dig a hole in it and let their friend down into the house to encounter Jesus.
a. “The typical Syrian roof was constructed of timbers laid parallel to each other about two or three feet apart. Then crosswise over the timbers, sticks were laid close to each other, thus forming the basic roof. Upon this was laid reeds, branches of trees, and thistles. The whole thing was overlaid with about a foot of earth, which was then packed down to resist water. All told, the roof was about two feet thick” (Hughes 1:62).
b. The men knew of the healing powers of Jesus.
C. Jesus responds to the event by telling the man that his sins was forgiven.
1. “The pronouncement was startling because it seemed inappropriate and even irrelevant to the immediate situation” (Lane 94).
2. “Jesus’ pronouncement of pardon is the recognition that man can be genuinely whole only when the breach occasioned by sin has been healed through God’s forgiveness of sins” (Lane 94).
3. “It appears possible that Jesus’ address to the paralytic reflects knowledge of his particular sins, and their relationship to his paralysis (Edwards 77).
4. This statement immediately upset the Pharisees.
a. They correctly understood that Jesus was claiming to be able to do something that only God could do.
b. Therefore, they accused him of blasphemy, which was “irreverent, profane, impious speech about God; and its penalty in Old Testament times was death (Lev. 24:16)” (Brooks 59).
5. Jesus responded by basically saying: “You question My ability to forgive sins. I am, therefore, going to demonstrate to you that I have not only the power to forgive sins, but also the power to heal as well. I am going to command this man to take up his bed and go home. If the power of God enables him to do that at My command, then you will know that the Father and I are one, and that My power to command such a miracle proves also My power to forgive sins” (Schubert 28).
D. Thus, Jesus heals the man and the crowd is amazed.
II. The Application:
A. The only healing that truly matters is spiritual.
B. Jesus is the only one who can bring about spiritual healing.
C. Therefore, we must go to Him with great faith.
1. “Faith, unless it shows its reality by action, is unreal and self-deceptive; and therefore cannot be expected to achieve results” (Cole 120) [cf. James 2:26].
2. Note the faith of the four men:
a. Their faith was persistent!
(1) “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.” (Matt. 11:12).
(2) In other words, faith “goes for it” and is steadfast (cf. 1 Cor. 15:58).
b. Their faith was creative!
(1) “A faith which truly believes that Christ is the only way will be inventive” (Hughes 1:64).
(2) Example: Baptisms in Kuwait
c. Their faith was sacrificial!
(1) Jesus can and will forgive sins.
(2) Will you come to Him and be forgiven?