6 – Forgiving Sins
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!”
Paralytic: A person who is paralysed, unable to move
Blaspheme: To say something against God
The Son of Man: A title from the Old Testament that Jesus used about himself. See the book of Daniel, Chapter 7.
How does the faith of the men in the story reveal itself?
How would you feel if other people knew what was going on in your mind?
This is the second time we have seen people’s amazement at Jesus. Until now, although he has done many incredible things, he has not really obviously shown that he is different to some of God’s servants in the past. But, in this story, we see him doing something completely new – something only God can do. He looks at this man who is in a very sad situation, who is hoping to be healed, and Jesus tells him that he has been forgiven for everything he has ever done against God. This was an enormous thing to say, because if sin is living in a way which doesn’t please God, then only God is able to offer forgiveness. What Jesus is saying here is that he has the right to forgive and therefore he is God. For the first time we see Jesus using his favourite title about himself, namely the Son of Man. This title from the Old Testament refers to the way God had shown the prophet Daniel that he would send a King to rule over his people and to conquer every enemy.
In a way this is something easy to say because no one would be able to prove it. But there are two things in the story that show us that Jesus is telling the truth. Firstly, through healing the man, it shows that Jesus has authority from God. God would not allow him to do miracles in his name if he were telling lies. But it also shows us he is able to do something else only God can do – he knows what the scribes are thinking. This makes the whole thing even more amazing. It shows that Jesus knows everything that is in our hearts, all those things which we are able to hide from other people. Despite this, Jesus continues to be willing to forgive us if we ask him.
What comfort can we draw from knowing that Jesus is King over his people and that he can conquer every enemy?
Do you ever think that you have done something that’s too bad for Jesus to forgive?
that God will give you the faith to see that Jesus has authority to forgive sins and that is what you need more than anything.