Jesus’ Authority to Forgive
4 June 2017 AM – Mark 2:1-12 – Mr17 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Today we are going to meet a paralysed man who needed forgiveness more than he needed to walk. Jesus knew his greatest need and tenderly forgave him while critics questioned Jesus’ authority to forgive.
Transition: In our text we find four facts about Jesus’ authority to forgive that ought to cause us to believe He can forgive us as well.
1. Jesus’ Authority was Believed (v.1-4)
a. Crowds gathered to hear Jesus preach
1) Jesus is not back in Capernaum. Evidently, He was there during the day.
2) News travelled quickly and a great crowd gathered at the house where Jesus was to hear Him preach. So many people gathered that there was no space, not even near the door. Some may have gathered out of curiosity, but others because they believed on Jesus.
b. Five men believed Jesus’ authority to forgive
1) One was a man sick with palsy. He was a paralytic or paralysed man. He could no longer move.
a) Later comments indicate that he must have committed some sin that led to his paralytic condition. Sickness is not always a result of sin, but it can be (1Co 11:29-30).
b) The paralytic believed Jesus could forgive and heal him.
2) His four friends also believed for they went to a lot of work to bring their friend to Jesus.
a) They carried him to Jesus. Seeing the huge crowd, they carried him up on the roof of the house.
b) They uncovered the roof. Most roofs were made of branches covered with clay and packed with a roller. This must have made a dusty disturbance below where Jesus was preaching. I have preached through many disturbances, but none of that magnitude.
c) They let their friend’s cot down in front of Jesus.
d) Likely, later they had to repair the roof.
O Those 5 men obviously believed that Jesus had authority to forgive and to heal.
2. Jesus’ Authority was Questioned (v.5-7)
a. The scribes were present
1) Scribes were the educated religious teachers.
2) Luke 5:17 adds interesting facts. (Luke 5:17) “And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.”
3) Most of these men were critics, not teachable hearers.
b. They reasoned in their hearts.
1) They heard Jesus forgave the sick man of his sin (v.5).
2) They reasoned or deliberated in their hearts. In their hearts they grumbled. Their blood pressure probably went up. Their inner irritation swelled.
a) They rightly believed that no one could forgive sin but God.
b) But since they did not believe Jesus was God, they accused Him of blasphemy.
O These religious leaders questioned and rejected Jesus’ authority to forgive sin.
3. Jesus’ Authority was Claimed (v.5, 8-10)
a. By His forgiving words Jesus claimed authority.
1) Did the paralytic come to Jesus longing for forgiveness or for healing or for both?
2) Because Jesus’ first words to the man were “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee”, he may have known that his greatest need was God’s forgiveness. When Jesus called him “son” that can refer to a child or to a relationship formed between men by the bonds of love, friendship, trust, just as between parents and children. Thayer Though a sinner, Jesus spoke to him with love and friendship.
3) Jesus pronounced forgiveness as only God can do. At that moment, the man’s sins were forgiven!
a) Though God is holy and hates sin, He is also merciful and forgiving when we confess our sins. (Psalms 86:5) “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”
b) To confess means to agree with God that the sin we did was truly wrong. (1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If we make any excuse for our sin we have not confessed it and God cannot forgive it. True confession always leads to a change of heart and deed. (Proverbs 28:13) “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
b. By His clear statement Jesus claimed authority.
1) Jesus immediately perceived the evil thoughts in the hearts of His critics (v.8). We must never forget that we cannot hide anything from God, not even our motives.
a) (Psalms 44:21) “Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.”
b) (Proverbs 5:21) “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.”
c) (Proverbs 15:3) “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”
d) You may hide your sin from your friends and even your spouse, but you can never hide from God.
2) Jesus presented a convincing challenge (v.9). Everyone knew that a paralysed person would NEVER walk again. It was humanly impossible to cure. Jesus reasoned that if He could cure the paralytic, then He could also forgive sin.
3) Jesus then said He would show them that the Son of man has power to forgive sins (v.10). The word for “power” refers more to authority than it does to might.
O Jesus clearly claimed to have the authority to forgive sins.
4. Jesus’ Authority was Proved (v.10-12)
a. Jesus gave three commands to the paralytic
1) He commanded him to arise. Jesus’ credibility and authority hinged on that man’s healing.
2) He commanded him to take up his bed. The man lay paralysed. He could not even move let alone carry his cot.
3) He commanded him to go his way to his house. His home duties awaited him. The entire time he had been paralysed he could do none of his work. Jesus now sent him home to a normal life again.
b. The man immediately was made well
1) He obeyed Jesus’ commands. He got up. He picked up his bed. As he headed home he was probably so excited that he ran home.
2) The crowd that watched was amazed and glorified God. They had known this man for years. No one but God could heal such a man.
O Jesus had demonstrated His divine power, but He also had proved His authority to forgive sins.
Conclusion: The Lord placed this event in Scripture to prove to us that Jesus had divine power to forgive sin. He had that supernatural power because He was God in human flesh. Jesus is co-equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. God is the only being in the universe who can forgive your sin. He is able to forgive not just because He is God, but because Jesus became a man, lived a perfect life, then taking our sins upon Himself, He died on the cross to pay for our sin and to propitiate (i.e., satisfy) the wrath of our holy God towards our sin. (1 John 2:2) “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Has Jesus forgiven your sins? That depends on whether you have obeyed (Acts 3:19) “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…” Repentance is a change of mind about your sinful direction and conversion is turning to God for cleansing and a new life. If you will obey that verse, God will forgive your sins.
If God has forgiven you and saved your soul, you still have a sin nature. Jesus offers you ongoing forgiveness if you will confess each sin (agreeing with God that it is wicked). (1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” There is no need for any of us to remain unforgiven!
Song: Cleanse Me – 166