January 20 I Wednesday
“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?’” —Mark 2:6-7
For about 400 years, the Jewish leaders had done everything in their power to uphold monotheism. Because their ancestors had been sent into exile for disobedience and idolatry, the religious system of Jesus’s day dealt harshly with any teaching that encouraged the worship of someone or something other than God. This is why the Jewish leaders were so taken aback when Jesus proclaimed the paralyzed man’s sins were forgiven.
Regular people did not have the authority to forgive sins. People could make amends for a specific wrong committed against another person, but only God was able to forgive all wrongdoings. The Jewish leaders could have quoted verses like Isaiah 33:22, which says, “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is He who will save us.” Or Isaiah 43:25: “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” By declaring the man’s sins to be forgiven, Jesus was blatantly saying to the Jews, “I am God.”
Had Jesus been a regular man, the Jewish leaders would have had every right to be horrified by His claim. A regular man would have been blaspheming, but Jesus revealed the reality of who He is by combatting the concerns the religious leaders thought in the opening verses. “Why are you thinking these things?” He said, “Which is easier: to say to this paralysed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?” (Mark 2:8-9). The answer, of course, is the former. There is no physical evidence that can prove the forgiveness of somebody’s sin, but telling a paralyzed man to walk would have immediately discredited Jesus if the healing did not occur. Yet, to the amazement of the crowd, when Jesus told the paralyzed man to walk, “He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all” (Mark 2:12).
C.S. Lewis once argued that someone who said the sort of things Jesus said was either insane, demon possessed or who He says He is.Jesus was not a religious upstart bent on insurrection against governing authorities. He was the long-awaited Messiah, but Jewish leaders rejected the truth and accused Him of insanity, being demon-possessed and inciting the people to rebel against centuries of established Jewish tradition. Threatened by His many followers, Jewish authorities had Him arrested on charges of blasphemy, which led to His crucifixion. Though His miracles, healings and teaching give evidence that Jesus was God made flesh, it was God raising Him from the dead that gives irrefutable proof that Jesus is exactly who He says He is.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the proofs in Scripture that You are who You say You are. How reassuring it is to know that anything You say is true and will absolutely come to pass. Amen.