Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Who Can Forgive Sins?

October 7: Mark 2

1 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 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. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 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. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 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? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 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!”
Mark 2:1-12

Who Can Forgive Sins?

Whenever I read this Bible passage I am transported back to when I was a child. I remember hearing this story in Sunday School and wondering how the men could remove a roof, right in the middle of Jesus' preaching without disrupting everything.

As I read this passage today, I am struck with the blindness of the Pharisees. They even asked the right question but still did not get it.

5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Who can forgive sins, but God alone? No one! Then comes an even more remarkable verse.

8 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?

He read their minds! The Pharisees were not sitting there discussing these things; they were just questioning them in their hearts and Jesus perceived their thoughts in His spirit.

We often say to someone, "I know what you are thinking." But that is not what we are talking about; Jesus actually perceived their very thoughts! How blind is blind? The Pharisees sat right in the middle of a truly remarkable event, they even admitted that only God could forgive sins, and they witnessed Christ reading their minds, and yet they did not understand the truth.

We often see a similar situation in our churches today. How many people sit Sunday after Sunday, year after year, under a faithful pastor and never come to the knowledge of the truth? It is a sober reminder to us that only God can forgive sins! Salvation only comes through Christ; there is no other way!

Unless God opens the heart, the sinner will remain blind. Think about that as you go about your duties of this day. Ponder the question, "Who can forgive sins?"

Truly, all glory and praise belongs to God alone; we never truly "lead" a person to Christ. We are just vessels in the hand of God being used by Him to advance His kingdom and bring glory to His name alone!

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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