MIRACLES AND THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN
Early in His ministry, Jesus collided with the Pharisees because He had the audacity to forgive sin. He was in Capernaum, teaching in a house that was crowded to capacity with people clamouring to hear Him. Four men brought a paralysed man on a mat in the hopes that Jesus would heal him. They were so determined to get the man to Him that they took him upstairs and ripped open the roof to let him down on his mat in front of the Master. I guess the people made room for him then, rather than have pieces of the roof fall on their heads.
Jesus saw the faith of the four and recognised that the man’s need for forgiveness was as great as his need for healing. That would follow. Much to the indignation of the religious leaders,
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, you sins are forgiven.’
Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, ‘Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’
Immediately Jesus knew in His spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts and He said to them, ‘Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat 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 tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’ (Mark 2: 5-12)
Case dismissed. What could His opponents say? The miracle of healing was conclusive of His authority to forgive sin.
Jesus’ miracles were much more than works of compassion or even a demonstration of His power. He was adamant that what He did was not because He was some super human being but because He trusted the Holy Spirit to work through Him. He always worked in perfect harmony with the Father. He came to announce and demonstrate that God’s rule was indeed among His people, and that anyone who believed in Him could be a part of it.
Every miracle of healing and deliverance which Jesus did pointed to the nature of the kingdom of God. Suffering was evidence of Satan’s presence and his harassment of people. They had wandered from God’s path and had become lost in the wilderness of their own choices. Jesus presented Himself as the Good Shepherd who had come to seek the lost sheep and bring them home.
He viewed His people as sons and daughters who had wandered from the path and needed direction to return to the way of Yahweh. His encounter with Zacchaeus brought a lost tax collector back to the Father and back to the way of Yahweh. Zacchaeus was transformed from a greedy and dishonest person into an honest and generous follower of Jesus, a true son of Abraham, drawing from Jesus an exclamation of joy.
Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. (Luke 19:9b-10)
Jesus encountered a woman in the synagogue who was so crippled that she had not been able to walk up straight for eighteen years. His heart went out to her and, in the presence of His opponents whom He knew would attack Him because it was the Sabbath, He laid hands on her and healed her.
To the synagogue ruler who remonstrated with people for wanting healing on the Sabbath – and she didn’t even ask for healing – Jesus retorted:
‘You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?’ (Luke 13: 15b-16)
Freedom! The nature of the kingdom of God. Freedom from greed; freedom from physical infirmity; freedom from guilt; freedom from the crippling works of the devil! Jesus did whatever He could to set people free from error; from unbelief and from the effects of Satan’s occupation of their lives and their territory. They were set free to be who they were, the true sons and daughters of Abraham.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6
Do you like this post? Then buy your own copy of my book, Learning to be a Disciple, which is also available from www.amazon.com or www.takealot.com in South Africa. You can also order a copy directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com
Watch this space!
My latest book, The Heartbeat of Holiness, will also soon be available.