Friday, December 23, 2016

Jesus' Power To Forgive Sin

Mark 2:1-12

“And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.  And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.” (Mark2:1-2)

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after a few days, some of the furor had died down, and he was able to come into the town.  Even then the house where he went to teach was filled to capacity.  Jesus’ focus was on teaching them God’s word.    

“And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.  And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.” (Mark 2:3-4)

The crowd was so large that it created a problem for the men who brought their friend with the palsy to him.  They were forced to climb onto the roof of the house and pull away the roofing and decking materials in order to get him to Christ so he could be helped.   Unfortunately, in the modern church with our focus on having a big church we seldom realize how easily the size can become a problem, drawing so many who are only there for entertainment or excitement, that sincere seekers are turned away.  Fortunately the friends were not deterred by the crowd. 
“When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?” (Mark 2:5-7)

When Jesus saw the friends’ faith he told the man that his sins were forgiven.  The larger the crowd, the more there will be who are only there because of the excitement the crowd generates and don’t really believe.  Some of those began to challenge what Jesus said, accusing him of blasphemy for implying he had the power to forgive sin. 

“And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?  Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.” (Mark 2:8-11)

Every sickness and psychological problem is a result of sin, starting with Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden.  That we still deal with them today only emphasizes man’s sinful nature.  Many of the religious Jews were like the Pharisee in Luke 18:1-12, who thought of himself as above sin.  “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.   I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.”  They resented the idea that they had diseases because they were sinners just like other people. 

Jesus said what he did to show that he was God and had the power to take away the consequences of sin.  As he pointed out, it didn’t really matter whether he said the sins were forgiven or told the man to pick up his bed, he was still alleviating some of the consequences of sin, as was demonstrated by the man’s healing.  Every time a person is cured of a disease, it is a reminder that God has the power to forgive sin. 

“And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.” (Mark 2:12)

When Jesus told him to take up his bed the man arose and left carrying his bed the people were amazed, commenting that they had never understood it that way before.  They glorified God for what had happened.  


  1. Claiming to pronounce forgiveness of sins is easier than telling a paralyzed man to walk, because the power to do the latter is more easily verified. The fact that Jesus could do the physical healing indicated that his claim to pronounce forgiveness was also valid...and, as you so wonderfully pointed out, all sickness, including that man's, is the result of someone's sin. I'd never thought of that before in relation to this passage.