Sermon Titled “The Son Of Man Has Authority On Earth To Forgive Sins” (Mark 2:1-12) – Sunday 14th December, 2014
Mark 2:1-12 tells the story of a paralytic man whose friends believed that he could be healed if they could just get him a personal meeting with Jesus Christ. The problem though, was that Jesus was speaking to a crowd in Capernaum, in a home where so many people had gathered that it was impossible to get near him.
The four friends, undeterred by the challenge they faced, dug an opening in the roof of the home where Jesus was speaking, and carefully lowered the paralytic man on a mat that he was laying on. Touched by their faith, Jesus instantly forgave the sins of the paralytic man, and after rebuking some of the religious teachers who questioned his authority to forgive sins, he also healed the man. All those who saw the man get up and walk were amazed, and they praised God.
Christ came into this world for one reason only: to give every man and woman the chance to say yes to His offer of forgiveness. Isaiah 9:6 says, For unto us a child is born, unto us a child is given…” Jesus Christ, the baby born to a virgin mother, was given to us so that we might find hope in a dark world.
For many though, the darkness deceives. It provides a refuge in such things as material comforts, career opportunities, relationships, and sexual or other types of intoxicating addictions. All of these things are satisfying for a “time,” but as with anything of a temporal nature, the pleasure effect doesn’t last. The gospel however, with it’s offer of forgiveness and salvation, can restore hope and joy, and provide sustaining, lifetime peace.
If that sounds too inconceivable, think of the alternative option, and what it means to discredit the gospel and risk the possibility of one day facing eternal judgment. For many, I believe there is an inherent but suppressed fear of finding out too late that God really does exist. It’s easier to ignore the fear and live by one’s own will, than willingly submit to the authority of Christ. And so, like the religious men who questioned Christ’s authority, unbelievers today do the same, and that’s why, in Mark 2:8, we see that Jesus asked those men why they “think such things.”
To prove to the religious leaders that he did indeed have the authority to forgive sins (and still does), he also displayed the power of healing. He said, in verses 9-10, “Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
Jesus’ point in presenting such a question was to show that neither command was easy or possible, unless it was by God’s power that those things were done. No man can turn to a crippled person, tell him to get up and walk, and then see it actually happen. And no man can turn to another man, tell him that his sins are forgiven, and thereby determine his eternal fate.
Both of these things could only have been done if Jesus was who he said he was – the son of God. He knew that the paralytic man only had to “get up and walk” to experience healing, but it would take “faith” to believe that his sins had been forgiven, since forgiveness is intangible and unseen. So when Jesus healed the man, it was a deliberate show of power, a way of demonstrating the legitimacy of his authority by saying, “If I have the power to heal you with a simple command, then I also have the power to forgive you.”