"YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN"
I. THE STORY.
A. Jesus was in Capernaum, and when the people found out they began to gather at the house where He was staying.
B. So many had gathered that there was not room in the house to hold them.
C. Four men came carrying their friend on a stretcher.
1. You have met this type before.
a. They are good buddies.
b. They are determined to get help for their friend.
c. They are not the type to be deterred by the crowd.
d. They are daring and innovative.
e. They climbed on the roof and removed some of the roof tiles that they might let their friend down in front of Jesus.
D. Can you imagine the commotion, as Jesus is perhaps teaching, they hear all this noise on the roof, and presently a man is slowly descending on a cot in front of Jesus.
1. I picture Jesus as sort of chuckling when he saw him coming down.
2. The owner of the house was probably dismayed, and in a state shock.
II. WHEN JESUS SAW THEIR FAITH, HE SAID, "SON, THY SINS BE FORGIVEN THEE."
A. The threefold reaction to the statement of Jesus.
1. The one is recorded by Mark, the scribes that were sitting there were thinking, He is being blasphemous, for no one can forgive sins but God.
a. They were correct in their belief that no one can forgive sin but God.
b. David in his request for forgiveness declared, against Thee, and Thee only have I sinned, and done this great evil in your sight.
c. Whenever you sin, you are sinning against God. It may have disastrous consequences on yourself or others, such as if you murdered someone and were caught and had to come to trial. Your sin has brought you into shame and disgrace, as well as destroyed another's life, but the sin is against God, for it is God who said, "Thou shalt not kill."
2. I can imagine that the friends of this man were thinking, "No, no, that is not why we went to all the trouble of bringing him here, we want him to be able to walk again."
3. To the man himself, I believe that there was great relief, I believe that the words of Jesus brought a sudden burst of joy to his heart. "My sins are forgiven, praise God."
a. The man had palsy, which is short for paralysis. Now the paralysis can be caused by many different things. It often follows a massive stroke. In the Bible days, it often was the result of syphilis, and such was probably the case with this man.
b. He was probably guilty of promiscuity, and had contracted syphilis, and as the result of the progression of this disease, became paralyzed.
c. His paralysis would be to him a constant reminder of his sin, he was probably tormented by his sense of guilt.
d. A guilt complex is often related to many forms of neurotic behavior. For they believe that a guilt complex creates a subconscious desire for punishment, which is manifested in neurotic behavior which sub-consciously is designed to bring punishment.
1. You need for someone to say, "Your crazy," or "You are an idiot."
2. Inwardly you are saying, "Oh thank you, I needed that, that is why I did that stupid thing for which I am feeling guilty, I am crazy."
e. A guilt complex is hard to live with, it is a constant torment. Thus the words of Jesus to this man, "Your sins are forgiven" must have brought extreme comfort and joy.
III. JESUS ADDRESSED ONE OF THE REACTIONS, THAT OF THE SCRIBES. THEIR ACCUSATION OF BLASPHEMY, BECAUSE THEY KNEW THAT ONLY GOD CAN FORGIVE SINS.
A. Jesus said to the scribes, "What is easier to say, your sins are forgiven, or rise take up your bed and walk."
1. Obviously it is easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven."
a. The work of forgiveness is an inward work that cannot be outwardly manifested.
b. How can anyone challenge whether or not it really happened? There is no visible or physical evidence, for it is a spiritual thing.
c. They may just be empty words, how can you prove that you are speaking with authority and power?
2. If you say, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." it will be quite easy to judge whether there is any power in your words for if the man struggles but still lies there, it is obvious that your words have no real power. But if he gets up and walks, then you have immediate proof that your words do have power.
B. Jesus said, "That you might know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins, He then turned to this man who was paralyzed and said, Rise, take up your bed and go on home."
1. When the man immediately got up and picked up his bed and walked out, they were all amazed, and began to glorify God. They were saying, "We have never seen anything like this before.
2. But Jesus was proving that He had power on earth to forgive sins. This man walking out the door carrying his cot, was proof that there was real power behind the words that Jesus spoke.
C. That is not all that was proved by this man walking out the door. Their premise was, "Who can forgive sins but God." This man walking out the door carrying his cot was proof that Jesus is God.
1. Jesus called Himself by the title of Son of Man, that is one of the titles that was to be given to the Messiah.
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed.
2. Jesus was demonstrating that He was the promised Messiah.
a. Another prophecy concerning the Messiah was given by Isaiah who declared, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, and of the increase of His government and peace, there shall be no end."
3. He is God, and He is the promised Messiah, that man walking out the door is visible living proof.
C. If indeed His words have power and are true, then we had better look at what else He said.
1. He said, "I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and he that liveth and believeth in Me, shall never die."
2. He said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father but by Me."
3. He said, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life."
4. He said, "He that believeth in Me is not condemned, but if you do not believe in Me, you have been condemned already, and this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world but you will not come to the light, because you love darkness rather than light, because your deeds are evil."
5. Jesus declared that a person can become so steeped in evil that he will actually hate the light. This is certainly manifested in our world today, the hatred that men are beginning to express toward the light. True Christianity is coming under attack as never before by the liberal elements of our society who want to live in their darkness without being reproved.
6. They would seek to silence the voices that speak out against the darkness in which they desire to live.
D. Jesus, who is God, who proved that He spoke with power and authority as God, said, "Come unto Me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Your soul, tortured by the guilt of your sin, can be at rest today, if you will but come to Him, you can hear His words of love and authority saying to you, "Your sins are forgiven."