15th November 2017

They Were Amazed

“When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralysed man, ‘Son, your 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?’…(Jesus said) ‘Which is easier: to say to this paralysed man, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up, take your mat and walk?” But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’ So he said to the man, ‘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 (NIVUK)

On hearing that Jesus was in the vicinity, four men bring their paralysed friend to be healed by him. But instead of immediately healing the man, Jesus announced that he forgave his sins. At the beginning of his ministry Jesus was deliberately making a point, and the meaning and significance of Jesus’ words were not lost on the teachers of the law. In this case their theology was flawless: “who can forgive sins but God alone?” To forgive sins is an exclusively divine prerogative. But Jesus persisted with his message “but I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

When the paralysed man took up his mat to go home a new man physically, everyone was amazed. But what caused such amazement? A miracle was very unusual but not unique; the Old Testament records God doing miracles through both Elijah and Elisha, and even an ass talking. What was unique and amazing, was the miracle combined with the theological implications of what they had just seen and heard. The crowd had witnessed Jesus, who was clearly a man, implicitly claim authority that belonged to God, and that claim was backed up, and verified by, God healing the paralysed man.

From the first century onwards various views have been expressed about the nature of Jesus Christ—some said he was simply a man, others that he was a created being, still others that he was God but not man. Some of these views have persisted through to the present day, but from the start of his ministry, Jesus implicitly revealed that he was both man and God—God incarnate, and as such he was announcing that through him is the forgiveness of sins so that we may walk in newness of life spiritually and go home to the Father.

Prayer
Father we thank you for your amazing grace, for the forgiveness of sins and salvation through your son, Jesus Christ.
Amen

Study by Eddie Marsh

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About the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends Grace Communion International in Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion, Sheffield
Please email for Meeting Place

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

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