Monday, June 30, 2008

Only God Can Forgive Sins: Mark 2:1-12

Mark 2:1-12 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God's word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn't bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, "My child, your sins are forgiven." 6 But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7 "What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!" 8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, "Why do you question this in your hearts? 9 Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man 'Your sins are forgiven,' or 'Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk'? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins." Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 "Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!" 12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers.They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, "We've never seen anything like this before!"

Making the Connections in the Bible

Connections are important. I am sitting here at my computer thinking about all of the connections that must take place to enable me to type what I am typing right now. Perhaps the most important is the thingy that connects my computer to its electrical power source, the cord. Without the cord, the computer is still a computer and electricity is still electricity; but unless you connect the two in some way, the computer will not function as it ought to function. The same is true with the Word of God. You can find all kinds of truths here and there, but unless you make the proper connections, the Bible will not function as it is intended in your life. In the first part of Mark 2, we see exactly what happens when people fail to make the proper connections in the Bible, and specifically with Jesus.

A "Correct" Theology

Make no mistake about it. When the teachers heard Jesus tell the paralytic that his sins were forgiven, they correctly said, "Only God can forgive sins." There theology on this point was exactly on target. On another occasion, Jesus asked a rich young ruler who called him "good teacher" why he called Jesus good because only God was good. Many people trying to argue away the divinity of Jesus will say that in that case Jesus was denying that He was God. In fact, the opposite is true. He was essentially telling the rich young ruler, "That's right, only God is good, now make the connection!" He didn't. Neither did the teachers of the law in Mark's gospel.

Only God Can Forgive Sins

Yes, the teachers' of the law were right. They would have passed a theology test. Only God can forgive sins. So, what does it mean when Jesus comes along claiming to forgive sins? What is the obvious connection. You can almost hear Jesus replying to these men, "Yes, you are right in that only God can forgive sins, and I can forgive sins." In other words, Jesus is saying, "I AM THE GOD WHO CAN FORGIVE YOUR SINS." Not only is this good news, it is the best news the world has ever heard. Jesus is the God that can forgive all of our sins because He is the true and living God. He came as our substitute and He has the legal right to issue pardon for the most heinous crimes against God and humanity. This Jesus is standing ready to forgive any and all who come to him in faith and trust Him as their Lord and Savior by repenting from their sins and believing that Jesus died and lived as their substitute. One of the biggest problems in our society (according to psychologists) is guilt. Everyday people are told, just get rid of your guilt feelings. Have you ever wondered why so many people feel guilty? Maybe it is because deep down they know that they are guilty of sinning against a holy God and against other people. So, Jesus came into this world, and he will come into your life, to remove your guilt because He is the God who will forgive all of your sin.

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