October 2 I Sunday
“When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’” —Matthew 9:2
Did we notice the profound statement that Jesus made in the opening verse of this devotion? Jesus had just dropped a theological truth that shattered the whole Old Testament system. He told a paralyzed man, “Take heart, son, your sins are forgiven.” That statement would overturn Jewish understanding of the Torah and the whole Temple system. The barriers that God had established, separating Him from His people because of sin, were being redefined by Jesus. It replaced the prominence of the priestly office, reshaped the teachings of the Jews and sent turmoil through their tradition.
The people sitting closest to Jesus knew this. Matthew records, “At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, ‘This fellow is blaspheming!’” (Matthew 9:3). Mark 2:6-7 also tells us, “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?’” The people listening to Jesus were no joke; they were experts in the law. They knew exactly what Jesus had just claimed and they judged His validity to make such a claim. At the heart of their objection was one simple truth: Who can forgive sins but God alone?
God is the Author of the law; He is the only One righteous enough to forgive transgressions against it. Isaiah 33:22 declares, “For the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King; it is He who will save us.” God is the One to whom we are accountable for our sins. We know that because God is the One who tells us this in Isaiah 43:25: “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” God is the One who is the Forgiver of sins. Psalm 103:2-4, 12 goes, “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion...as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” All of these verses point to the fact that the Lord Himself, Yahweh, the God of Israel, the God of the universe, is the One who can forgive sins. The experts in the law are actually right in their question—who can forgive sins but God alone?
Since Jesus can offer forgiveness of sin, then He must be God. Would we take a moment and marvel at the fact that the God of the universe came in the form of a Man to forgive the sins of humanity?
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, words cannot fully express just who You are to me. You are God. Thank You for coming into this world to forgive us of our sins. Praise You!