The authority of Jesus
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they
were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these
things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or
to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of
Man has authority on earth to forgive sins ... .” He
said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got
up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone
and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:8-12, NIV)
The roof overhead had been torn up. A paralytic was dropped
down through the opening by four of his friends.
Jesus didn’t address the man’s physical need first, but said
to him, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The theologians in the crowd thought to themselves,
He cannot do that. Only God can forgive sins, and He’s not God.
At this point, Jesus disclosed several things about himself
that we need to take to heart.
First, He can read our minds. Jesus immediately knew what
His critics were thinking. He also perceives your thoughts from afar (Psalm
139:2). He knows what’s really going on inside you.
You may fool your family, your spouse, your closest friends,
the people you work or worship with — but Jesus knows you inside and out.
Second, He has more power than His critics. His question is
rhetorical, “Which is easier for you to say … ?” They
can say neither. They cannot get the paralytic to walk nor can they forgive his
sin. Jesus makes a connective and rational argument. If He can heal the outer
man, then He also can heal him on the inside.
Third, Jesus reveals himself as the Son of Man.
Son of Man is Jesus’ favorite term for himself. In Mark’s
Gospel, this is the first time He used the term of himself. It’s a code word
— often misunderstood.
Reading it today, we think Jesus may be referring to His
humanity. Not so!
The term is lifted from Daniel 7 to refer to the One who
appears before the Ancient of Days to claim an eternal kingdom when all this
world’s empires have passed away.
Jesus often used parables. To outsiders, truth was
concealed; to His disciples truth was revealed.
The term “Son of Man” is like a parable. His critics
couldn’t possibly link the majestic Son of Man in Daniel 7 with the humble
Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee. But, Jesus’ disciples would come to understand
Jesus’ self-identifying term. He is the Lord of human history and “his dominion
is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that
will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14).
The Son of Man forgives sin because He is God in flesh. If
He has authority over the future, He has authority over the present. If He has
authority over worlds and peoples, then He also has authority over one —
and to that one He says, “Get up and walk out of
here.” The man does so and all are amazed. tpe
GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies
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