Matthew 9:6 (The Power To Forgive)

Power to Forgive

So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” (Matthew 9:6)

Read: Genesis 26:17 – 27:46, Matthew 9:1-17, Psalm 10:16-18, Proverbs 3:9-10

Relate: Jesus knew what they were thinking. He had just said to the paralyzed man, “your sins are forgiven.” As was accurate and proper, the religious leaders who were there believed that only God can forgive sins. Not some priest. No prophet or rabbi can do it. No politician or judge can forgive your sins. Nobody. Only God. Yet Jesus had just said, “your sins are forgiven.” If He was not God, they were very justified in accusing Him of blasphemy.

But because Jesus was God, He knew exactly what they were thinking. Knowing their objections, He didn’t try to rationalize what He had just said. He didn’t back down from their thought that only God can forgive sin. Instead, He backed up His authority as God. Anybody can spout out blasphemies. Not everybody, strike that, nobody can blaspheme one second and then the next, heal somebody by the same authority he just blasphemed. If Jesus were not God, what He did next would be literally impossible. Stand up, pick up your mat, go home.” And the man, healed and forgiven by God, did just that.

React: I get a kick out of people who say things like, “If I stepped a foot into your church the roof would cave in.” One advantage of having our church at Regal, I can easily respond, “Well, have you ever been to the movies? Did the roof cave in there? Then you’re good.” But more seriously, what they are saying is that they aren’t good enough to go to church. Of course you’re not. Neither am I. Nobody is. If holiness were the requirement for Christian fellowship, none of us would be admitted. The thing is, Christ, the head of the church, still has the authority to forgive sins. He still has the power to bestow grace. And if you think your sin is bigger than His grace, well… that’s just foolishness. You’re not bigger than God. Not even close.

Respond: 

God, I am so grateful that You still have the power to forgive sins. I am so thankful that You still are in the business of healing. I know. I have been healed. I have been forgiven. Help me to never come to the place that I would be foolish enough to believe that I need to clean myself up before coming before You. Help me to never feel that I need to heal myself to stand before You. It is Your grace that lifts me up. 

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29 thoughts on “Matthew 9:6 (The Power To Forgive)

  1. It can be such a temptation to try to scrub off the dirt by myself.

    This reminds me of a pastor who once told our congregation that the Church is not a museum, but a hospital.

    We are forgiven, yes. But, by God’s grace and in His strength alone, are currently in the process of rehabilitating a previously worthless existence.

  2. This post got me thinking about the struggle Jesus had in doing his work as God. In today’s history there have been many men claiming to be the “New Jesus”. Public outcry of heresy was quite heated. Albeit these “New Jesus” people were anything but, the wrath of the public was quite vocal and in some cases quite extreme (remember David Koresh). I wonder what side I would have been on in that time? Believe in the incredible story and follow Jesus or be one of the many that called him a liar? Thank you for the work you do on this blog.
    Leslie

  3. Good Morning my friend, it is Monday and the beginning of a brand new week. Just stopped by to wish you a joyful, peaceful and blessed week as you walk into your Divine Destiny living FREE from the restraints of the world and doing the will of the Lord. Thank you for continuing to follow our ministry and bless my soul with your presence and knowing that I can come into your presence and always find refreshing words of wisdom and comfort. Enjoy your week in Jesus name…

  4. Pingback: My Article Read (1-12-2015) | My Daily Musing

  5. Awesome word. My pastor always says there is no church where everyone is perfect and if you find it don’t go because once you go it wouldn’t be perfect…pretty much saying that we all have things that Jesus needs to clean up but that His job and He does it so much better than we try to do.

  6. Dear BJ,
    The message is right on target. People do worry about how they will be judged. I don’t think we tell the parable of the lost sheep enough. The shepherd realizes that 1 of the 100 sheep is missing. The shepherd leaves the 99 to find the missing one. When the missing sheep is found the shepherd brings the entire flock together and throws a party to celebrate. The sheep knows nothing of repentance. The shepherd would not ask a sheep to repent. The parable is about counting the flock and making it whole. People need to be told that they don’t need to repent but they do need to be part of the flock to make it whole.

    God bless,

      • Dear BJ,
        This is not my parable. This parable was recorded in The Gospel of Luke. The next one after the lost sheep is the lost coin. The same lesson applies. Coins don’t know repentance and nobody would ask a coin to repent. The lesson is to celebrate that the coin collection is complete and whole again.

        I understand that it is a hard lesson for people to be willing to celebrate that we are all together when some people choose not to repent. That is the lesson of the lost son when the prodigal son returned. It is the lesson of unconditional love that Jesus taught.

        God bless,

        • The focus of both parables is not on the lost but rather on the seeker. God will go to any length to seek and find that which is lost. With the sheep he “ignores” the 99 to find the 1. In the coin she tears the house apart looking. With the prodigal he waits watching and then runs to him at the moment of repentence. To say that coins and sheep dont know how to repent is to the miss the entire point. Each of these parables serves to illustrate another angle of the truth that the Son of Man came to seek and save that which were lost. To say repentence is unnecessary is to tell the lost that it is OK remaining lost.

        • Dear BJ,
          It is certainly not acceptable for the lost to remain lost, that is true. Perhaps if you read the lost son/prodigal son parable again you will realize that the prodigal never repented. I believe he said nothing to the father. Also, the father never searched for the prodigal son. The father rather searched for the lost son so that he could join the family and make it whole.

          God bless,

        • What do you mean when you say “repent”? How can you read the story of the prodigal son and say he never repented? As I said with my first reply I think the key issue here is that you do not understand that word.

        • Dear BJ,
          I apologize for the frustration in you replies. I see this all the time. I would like to explain this but I am afraid that you are not open to historical critical exegesis.

          The basics work this way; Luke wrote three parables in a row that follow the classic “rule of 3” storytelling. 100 sheep, 10 coins, 2 sons. Each story has one lost item. Each story has a seeker of the lost item. Each story ends with a celebration at the end after the collection is once again whole. With the lost son the focus is on the eldest son because the party had started but the son was lost. This is the “rule of 3 ” twist. You expect the lost son to be the prodigal son, because he was second born and the preferred son, but the father does not search for him. The father leaves the party in search of the lost son. When he finds him he tries to bring him back to make the family whole.

          The prodigal son’s inner monologue does not show repentance. Repentance requires actions. A person must change their ways. The prodigal son had manipulated the father before he left and there are no actions to show he had changed when he came back. This parable is not about repentance.

          Please forgive me for continuing to discuss this. I like your blog and I normally bow out before now. As a person matures in spirituality and faith they take one step at a time. The Holy Spirit has to prepare a person for the next step. I may have gone too far too fast for you, and i ask for forgiveness.

        • I find it humrous that you would comment that I am not open, not understanding, and not mature enough to understand your point of view. We could toss credentials and education back and forth if that would make you feel better. The key issue is the prodigal did repent. He returned. He left in pride and came back in humility. If you cannot see that as repentance then clearly your understanding of tge concept is warped which is why I, once again, am simply asking you to explain what you mean when you use the word.

        • Dear BJ,
          I am going to sound redundant, but I need to ask for forgiveness again. I have misjudged your response and you deserve better. I feel that because of my limitations I may have inadvertently insulted you. I am a bit gun-shy from my years of struggle with my more traditional counterparts. This is not a reflection of you or your spiritual maturity, but my inability to trust the Holy Spirit.

          My first thought when you asked the question of how I define repentance was automatically to the people of Nineveh. The took off their robes and rings and put on sackcloth and ashes. This action was a sign of their repentance. From a Biblical perspective I would expect to see some actions from the prodigal son similar to this to demonstrate repentance.

          In Luke chapter 10 there was the sending out of the 70 disciples. There were three cities that were called out for their lack of repentance (Luke 10:13-15). Jesus said they should be sitting in sackcloth and ashes as a sign of their repentance.

          The prodigal son accepted his old place in the family, as favorite son, a robe, rings and a party without a single action that showed repentance. I would argue that by these actions it is clear he did not come back in humility.

          My definition of repentance and yours are the same. You see humility where I do not. You also focus on the prodigal son in the story when the lost son was the elder.

          The father counted his sons at the party and realized he lost one. Just as the sheep and the coin was lost and found the father searched for his son and found him. He then attempted to make his family whole again by pleading with the eldest some to come to the party.

          The parable is about searching for what we have lost. What part of our lives, families, or Church are lost. Have we even counted? We need to search for the lost items and bring them back to the whole. unconditional acceptance and love.

          God bless,

  7. And yet Jesus said to forgive 77 times, right? So we have authority, without being God, to forgive. “I want mercy, not sacrifice.” “Whom you forgive will be forgiven.” “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Apparently, Jesus reminded us all to forgive, so the accusation of blasphemy doesn’t make sense in light of what Jesus preached: we are all priests, prophets and forgivers if we have the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

    • We can forgive others for the wrongs they have committed against us. We need to. That is far different than forgiving them for the wrongs they committed against God. If you spat in my face, I have a right and responsibility to forgive you. If you spat in your neighbor’s face and then I came up and said, “I forgive you”, how do you think your neighbor would feel about that?

      • You are right: there needs to be a direct relationship with God. But we are all to give the message that forgiveness is waiting for every paralytic, whether they are spiritually or physically paralyzed. They just need to accept the gift. There are still Christians who would call me judgmental for giving that word to someone (or blasphemous).

  8. If you take the process of healing a step forward, Jesus always says “your faith has healed you.” So I imagine it this way: here’s this poor lame guy, who has passed judgment on himself for his sin, and his judgment manifests itself as lameness. He goes to the temple and prays and offers sacrifice, which is supposed to be payment for his sin, but nothing happens. Now along comes Jesus with his heart full of infinite compassion and says “your sins are forgiven” and the lame man looks into his heart and sees that indeed God does not find fault for the sin, but hopes for repentance and healing. The lame man continues to lie on the floor, stunned, until Jesus says “pick up your mat and go home.” The healed man realizes that he’d rather do good in the world that continue to beat himself up over sin, picks up his mat and does just as he’s told. He demonstrates his faith in God, his faith in Jesus, and his faith in himself.

  9. I’m not what I would call a bible scholar but I believe that back then people looked at physical weaknesses as a punishment by God for their sins. So when Jesus told him he was forgiven he was also telling him that God was not punishing him in front of those same people who had lead him to believe that lie. Jesus knew this which is why he didn’t say be healed…. We have the same power to decipher situations we come across and bring healing to others and ourselves the same way releasing us from the shame of sins that can leave us paralyzed in area’s of our own lives.

    • Some times physical malady is a product of our sin. Another time, after Jesus healed someone, He told them: “Stop sinning or next time it will be worse.” We have the power or right to say to those repentant, “God has forgiven you” or to the guilty, “God can forgive you”. This is far different from claiming for ourselves the power to forgive sins. God forgives sins. We are simply the messengers of that grace.

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