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Authority To Forgive

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Intro

What a week it has been, the number one movie in theaters is an apocalyptic super hero movie that depicts a person sitting on a thrown after half the world has dissappeared. This past Monday was the most historic moment of my life in regards to Prophetic History, it marked 70 years since Israel became a nation but also marked the first time the Embassy on any major world power was based in Jerusalem, this is very significant because it is Jerusalem where Jesus will return and reign on earth from. Surely dark days are ahead for Israel and the world, but this is one of those goosebump moments where you stand back and look up to heaven knowning your redemption draws near.
Prayer
Scripture Reading
Mark 2:1–12 ESV
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!”
Luke 5:17–26 ESV
On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”
mark 2:1-12
We have been going through the gospels, I hope over the last several weeks you have noticed that Jesus is very methodical, offering to Israel His resume, showing them exactly who He is. The Messiah of Israel, the light to the gentiles, time after time He is showing He and He alone has authority.
We have been going through the gospels, I hope over the last several weeks you have noticed that Jesus is very methodical, offering to Israel His resume, showing them exactly who He is. The Messiah of Israel, the light to the gentiles, time after time He is showing He and He alone has authority.
He has shown us His authority over the demons, over disease, to Preach (did you know that Preachers must have authority from Christ to preach, Ive heard many preach but its obvious when a preacher is not called, filled by the Spirit to preach the Gospel, Christ is the authority all true preachers are permitted to preach from.
He has shown His authority over nature when He commanded Peter to cast out His nets, Christ speaks to the fish and they obey Him.
He has authority over defilement and all things that make us unclean, remember the Pharisees taught only God can heal Leprosy.
This is where we last were, Jesus healed his fellow countrymen because of the mans faith and Christ’s willingness to heal and the man had to go to the High Priest and show that miracle God had performed. No doubt this got his attention for he like nearly 1500 years of Priests being trained to confirm this healing, yet not one has ever done it. Now that this has happened Jesus has gotten the Sanhedrins attention and they are watching Him ver closely, this is the scene that is set before us.

The Sanhedrin Investigates

If you remember when we were first starting this series we discussed how the Sanhedrin operates in regards to the Messiah. When a possible canidate arrived they would send some out to observe the person, do a informal inquiry and report back. With John the Baptist when they heard about his baptism of repentence they watched him in which he called out and said you brood of vipers who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? They asked him ~
John 1:19–23 ESV
And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
Now it needs to be pointed that with Jesus they didnt send out a small delegation but the many religious leaders hearing of His mighty miracle came out to see Jesus.
Matthew 3:7 ESV
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
We see Mark records that no one else was able to enter the house for there were so many people.
This is important for us to reflect on, for Jesus is about to do something only God could do, first the God Only healing from leprosy and now that He has their attention, they have all come out, He is going to hit them with exactly who He is.
The religious leaders were there to here His teaching, but those who loved their friend didnt care the door was blocked, they were going to find a way to Jesus. I want you to imagine what it would be like to try and come to church and unable to get in, but you werent going to let that stop you, you climb up and tear a whole in the roof and the ceiling to get to where Jesus was. Their friend was paralyzed, climbing a roof while lifting someone bed ridden would not be easy, they proceed to tear through the roof and lower him at the feet of Jesus.
What is amazing is that numerous places where Jesus heals we read about the faith of the one healed but here we see it is the faith of the friends that Jesus responds to. Everyone was a bit shocked at the scene but surely got excited to see Jesus heal this man, but what happened next was to say the least confrontational.
Matthew 9:2 ESV
And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”
Jesus now begins to speak, He says son be of good cheer, Jesus is the only one in the NT that ever says this phrase.
Your sins are forgiven!
He then says “Your sins are forgiven!” this would of caused outrage with the religous leaders and most of the people.
Now lets remember Jesus is not speaking English or Greek but Hebrew. The phrase your sins are forgiven have only ever been spoken in the Hebrew wasy back in the Old Testament in Leviticus chapter 4-6. Now if you were to study those chapters specifically those words your sins are forgiven you would see that it is God Himself that is speaking and they are words that flow with atonement. It gave instructions on the sacrifice for the priests and after they performed what was required, God would forgive the sins. Now we can understand the threat the Priests felt, if Jesus is forgiving this mans sins what need does he have of the priests. The fact that only Jesus ever speaks these phrases is evidence of the sacredness of the forgiveness, it comes from God alone and Jesus is clearly speaking as God.
In those days the concept of saying you forgive a person wasnt part of society. It was only in reference to God, and let us not overlook Jesus correcting a incorrect teaching of the Pharisees that all sickness was a result of sin. It was partly His way of saying I know these people view you as a sinner but I have the authority to heal you, for I am indeed your Messiah, your God who instructed Moses with these commandments. A sinner was viewed as rebellious to God, outside of the covenant promises but here is God in the flesh reminding everyone its His covenent and the priests didnt control who was in our out.
Now as we said earlier they Sanhedrin was observing Jesus as a possible Messiah but they wouldnt directly challenge Him until after they meet back in Jerusalem and come to a decision of the validity of the Messiah.
This is what we read when we encounter Jesus perceives what is in their heart, they were thinking it but werent ready to confront Him directly.
They were thinking inside of themselves, who does Jesus think He is, saying He can forgive sins.
Jesus responds by saying what is easier, to say
“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!”
Jesus showed them that yes He can forgive sins, it easier to forgive then to heal, for all of humanity knows what it is like to forgive but none can cause instanaious healing.
Jesus reveals to them that He is ineed God in the flesh, the long awaiting Messiah. All three gospel accounts from Matt, Mark and Luke record Jesus referring to His humanity by calling Himself the son of Man but then showing His divinity in both forgiving of sins which can only be done by God, compounded with the recent miracle of healing lepropsy which also can only be done by God. Finally telling the man to get up and walk, a ridicolous command if Jesus were anything less that the Christ, the God-Man in the flesh.
The religious leaders leave in awe and wonder, head back to Jerusalem, with the first part of their investigation complete, remember they went to observe and then to discuss. When they returned they either had to inform the others that his following was either signigant and serious or insignifigant.
With John the Baptist his was signifigant but not serious since he denied being the Messiah while Jesus both has a serious following and has shown nothing but signs that point to His candidacy as the messiah. We will soon encounter the Sanhedrins response to Jesus but for today
Id ask you three things
when you hear of Jesus, when you witness and ponder the things He has done in the lives of others and maybe even your own, what does your heart say?
Have you sought Jesus out to forgive your sins
Which one of your friends in spiritually paralyzed, do you have enough faith to take them to Jesus? He is able to forgive and heal but sometimes the door is blocked and we give up, tear the roof off the obstacles your friend is facing so they may receive salvation, help them bypass the religious hypocrites, take them to Jesus!
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