Was Jesus God because he forgave sins?

When Jesus healed a severely paralyzed man and told him in Mark 2:5, “your sins are forgiven,” some of those watching him said in verse 7, “He can’t do that, he’s blaspheming,” because “only God can forgive sins.”

And they were absolutely right on that last point, that only God “blots out transgressions and remembers sin no more” (Isaiah 43:25) – but were they also right in accusing Jesus of blasphemy?

No, because Jesus didn’t say, “I, God, forgive your sins.” Instead he called himself “the Son of Man” – not God – in Mark 2:10. And he didn’t say, “I, the Son of Man, forgive your sins” either, as if he, personally, could forgive sins. What Jesus said in verse 10 – instead – was, “the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

And where did his authority come from? Well, by calling himself the Son of Man Jesus took their Jewish minds back to Daniel 7:13-14 when a “son of man” was “given authority, glory and sovereign power” by the “Ancient of Days.” By calling himself the Son of Man, therefore, Jesus was saying his authority came from God.

That in itself was a startling statement, that he, Jesus, was the one to whom God had given all that authority in Daniel 7, but it wasn’t blasphemy. How could it be, when Jesus was clearly saying his authority came FROM God, not that he WAS God?

It must have been hard for those religious scholars, though – who knew their scriptures – to accept that a mere man like Jesus had been given authority to forgive sins, when their scriptures clearly stated that only God could forgive sins. But hadn’t their scriptures also predicted that God would give such authority to a “son of man”?

And now here was Jesus claiming that HE was that Son of Man, and shock upon shock that God had also given him the authority to forgive sins. The Jewish religious leaders, unfortunately, could only interpret that as Jesus saying he was God, but Jesus corrected that by directing their attention to who he really was, the Son of Man, the one sent and chosen BY God.

And then another shock, when Jesus actually exercised his authority and proved he had it by telling the paralytic to “get up and go home.” But notice how the people reacted: In Mark 2:12, “they praised GOD.” They didn’t praise Jesus, take note; they praised God. They didn’t see Jesus as God, but they did accept that God was behind what Jesus did.

So was Jesus God because he forgave sins? No, but the miraculous healing that followed proved that God had truly given him the authority to forgive sins.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: