Who Is this Who Forgives Sins?


“And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (Luke 5:20-21, KJV).

Jesus was like us in all things, but did not sin (cf. Hebrews 4:15). But Jesus was also unlike us. He functioned as a man and also as God, being the Son of God. At times this confused some of the people who followed Him. In today’s Scripture passage, a paralytic is brought to Jesus to be healed. When He saw the faith of those who brought him, Jesus said to the man, “your sins are forgiven.” The people who followed Jesus’ ministry had seen (or at least, heard) Jesus cast out demons, heal the sick and perform other miracles. These miracles were astonishing enough. But this time, Jesus took His ministry to a whole new level. In the minds of the audience, Jesus crossed the line. Healing the sick is one thing, but absolving people of their sins?

The scribes and the Pharisees who heard Jesus were shocked. They reacted, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” The scribes and Pharisees, in a sense, were right to complain. God alone forgives sins. Anyone else who absolves others of their sins is usurping the authority of God, and is consequently, guilty of committing blasphemy. But we must ask, “Was Jesus usurping the authority of God? Was He guilty of blasphemy?” According to the scribes and Pharisees, yes, Jesus was.

They arrived at this conclusion based on their assessment of who Jesus was. In their view, Jesus was a man and nothing more. But, this is where they erred. They saw one side of Jesus – his humanity; but they missed His other equally important side – His divinity. While on earth, Jesus functioned both as a man and as God. When Jesus told the man, “your sins are forgiven,” He was essentially speaking like the God of Israel – JEHOVAH. Jesus forgave sins during His earthly ministry because He was God. Therefore, He was not blaspheming. He was just being Himself.

Dear friend, know that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He was God then, and He is God now. He forgave sins then, and He forgives sins today. No human being can set you free from your sins. Whatever situation you are in, go to Jesus in prayer. By faith, cast upon Him every burden on your heart and let Him set you free. Amen.

For further study: Luke 7:36-50

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