Mark 8… Consider His Predetermined Purpose

His mind was set, always on the interests of His Father. Everything Jesus did was to fulfill His Predetermined Purpose and He would allow nothing and no one to deter Him.

Consider His Predetermined Purpose

And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” [8:31-33]

He was resolute in His Predetermined Purpose; every day brought Him one day closer to Calvary, to what would be the end of His earthly life. Along the way He loved, cared and ministered, but was never dissuaded from His Predetermined Purpose.

His Predetermined Purpose established His interests as those of God and not man.

His Predetermined Purpose motivated His obedience, regardless of the suffering and cost.

His Predetermined Purpose would fulfill the Father’s plan of redemption in His death, burial and resurrection.

How do we respond to His Predetermined Purpose?

Today let us personally examine our lives as we seriously consider the following:

  •  We too have a predetermined purpose; that we would be conformed to the image of His Son.
    • For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, [Romans 8:29]

Am I beginning to look more like Jesus?

  • Is my mind set on the interests of God or man? Where do I invest my time, money and energy?
    • But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. [Matthew 6:33]
  • Am I motivated to obey, regardless the suffering and cost?
    • Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. [James 1:2-4]
  • Is His plan of redemption a reality in my life? Am I trusting in anything other than His perfect payment for my sin, accomplished by His death, burial and resurrection?
    • …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; [Romans 3:23-24]
  • Am I cooperating with His conforming work in my life by faith, and thereby sharing in His crucified and resurrected life?
    •  I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. [Galatians 2:20]

Let’s Grow Together!

Mark 7… Consider Him Who Has Done All Things Well

They were utterly astonished, saying, “He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” [7:37]

Although many did not fully understand, or perhaps even believe, what they had declared about Jesus, for later they allowed Him Who Has Done All Things Well to be crucified, the statement was true nevertheless. The crowd was astonished as they witnessed His power; He made even the impossible possible. This was an all-encompassing truth, whether realized or not, categorically describing All Things He Has Done; He Has Done All Things Well.

Consider Him Who Has Done All Things Well

  • He Has Done All Things Well, even when sharply rebuking hypocrisy.
    • And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’

Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”…13 thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.” [7:6-8, 13]

  •  He Has Done All Things well, even when firmly reproving His disciples’ lack of understanding.
    • When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18 And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? ? Do you not understand…? [7:17-18]
  •  He Has Done All Things well, even when seemingly unmoved by a woman’s desperation.
    • Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” [7:26-27]
  •  He Has Done All Things Well, even when opening ears to hear and mouths to speak.
    • They brought to Him one who was deaf and spoke with difficulty, and they implored Him to lay His hand on him. 33 Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva; 34 and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He said to him, “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!” 35 And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly… They were utterly astonished, saying, “He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” [7:32-35, 37]

 How do we respond to Him Who Has Done All Things Well?

We begin by acknowledging the truth; He Has Done All Things Well, all the time, whether or not we understand or agree. Our evaluation of His actions is not to be our barometer for truth; we find His standard for truth in His Perfect Character and His Holy Word.

Let us examine our lives today by the Holy Words of Him Who Has Done All Things Well:

  • Is there hypocrisy in us? Let us humbly receive correction in His sharp rebuke.
    • Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. [Matthew 7:3-5]
    • Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. [Romans 12:9]
  • Is there a lack of understanding? Let us find wisdom in His firm reproof.
    • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
      Fools despise wisdom and instruction. [Proverbs 1:7]
    • A fool does not delight in understanding,
      But only in revealing his own mind. [Proverbs 18:2]
  • Is our faith weakened by suffering and trials? Let us cling to his faithfulness, firmly convinced He cares and will move in His perfect way and time.
    • Why do You stand afar off, O Lord?
      Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? [Psalm 10:1]
    • …O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
      You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear… [Psalm 10:17]
  • Do our ears need to be opened to hear truth? Let us accept His counsel and discipline.
    • Listen to counsel and accept discipline,
      That you may be wise the rest of your days.
      21 Many plans are in a man’s heart,
      But the counsel of the Lord will stand.
      [Proverbs 19:20-21]
    • All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. [Hebrews 12:11]
  • Do our mouths need to be opened to speak the truth? Let us pray for His love and wisdom to share His truth.
    • A gentle answer turns away wrath,
      But a harsh word stirs up anger.
      The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable,
      But the mouth of fools spouts folly.
      [Proverbs 15:1-2]
    • …but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ… 25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. [Ephesians 4:15, 25]

Let us intentionally declare His miraculous wonders and mercies on our behalf, eager to tell the world of Him Who Has Done All Things Well.

Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done,
And Your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You.
If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count. [Psalm 40:15]

Come and hear, all who fear God,
And I will tell of what He has done for my soul. [Psalm 66:16]

Let’s Grow Together!

 

 

 

Mark 6… Consider Him Who Marveled

And He marveled because of their unbelief. [6:6 ESV]

Consider Him Who Marveled

I couldn’t get it out of my mind, this idea of Jesus marveling over something. The Creator of all the Universe, Who placed the stars in the heavens and knows them all by name, Who knows the number of hairs on our head… Marveled.

  • He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [Colossians 1:15-17]
  • He counts the number of the stars;
    He gives names to all of them.
    [Psalm 147:4]
  • Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. [Luke 12:7]

It’s intriguing to consider; He Who knows all… still Marveled.

This word in the Greek is also translated as “wondered” and “was amazed.” The definition from Louw-Nida Greek Lexion is “to wonder, to be amazed, to marvel’ (whether the reaction is favorable or unfavorable depends on the context).”

  • And He wondered at their unbelief. [6:6 NAS]
  • He was amazed at their lack of faith. [6:6 NIV]

And because of their unbelief, the Scriptures tell us His miracles were limited.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching. [6:4-6]

Jesus went on from His hometown and His relatives, to teach in other villages [6:6], to send His disciples out with authority over demons, preaching repentance [6:7-12], to feed the five thousand with five loaves and two fish [6:33-44], to walk on water [6:47-52] and to heal many through the mere touching of His cloak [6:53-56]. But in His hometown, among His own, His miracles were restricted, because of their unbelief.

However, this is not the only time in Scripture where we read of Jesus in this state of wonder, marvel and amazement, but the context is quite different.

But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. [Matthew 8:8-10]

In this context, Jesus Marveled because of one man’s great faith.

How do we respond to Him Who Marveled?

I suppose the question we must ask ourselves is, in what context do we most often find Him Who Marveled when He considers our faith?

  • Does He marvel as we thwart His provision through our lack of faith?
    • But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. [James 1:6-8]
  • Or does He marvel as we receive the blessing of His faithfulness through faith and humility?
    • Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. [John 14:13-14]
    • Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. [James 4:10]

Often, whatever side of the coin of faith and unbelief we find ourselves depends on the day or circumstances. Oh let us pray the consistent variable defining our faith would be our unwavering confidence in His lovingkindness and faithfulness; that we would live steeped in the context of great faith, to hear Him Who Marveled reacting with favor, just as the centurion heard.

And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” [Matthew 8:13]

Let’s Grow Together!

Mark 5… Consider His Dominance Displayed

If not another word had been written to describe the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, Mark 5 would be enough. Who else but Jesus, Son of the Most High God, had such power to perform these miracles, displaying His Dominance over demons, disease and death?

Consider His Dominance Displayed

  • Consider His Dominance Displayed Over Demons
    • When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him… 12 The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” 13 Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea. [5:2-4, 12-13]
  • Consider His Dominance Displayed Over Disease
    • A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, 26 and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse— 27 after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. 28 For she thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” 29 Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. [5:25-29]
  • Consider His Dominance Displayed Over Death
    • While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?” 36 But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.”… 39 And entering in, He said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.” 40 They began laughing at Him. But putting them all out, He took along the child’s father and mother and His own companions, and entered the room where the child was. 41 Taking the child by the hand, He *said to her, “Talitha kum!” (which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. [5:35-36, 39-42]

How do we respond to His Dominance Displayed?

There is nothing in all of creation that is outside the realm of His authority. He lived a life of humility and submission to His Father, but also a life of His Dominance Displayed, that we might place our faith in His supremacy and power alone. Whatever threatens us today, Jesus is Greater. We have only to believe. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” [5:34]

  • When we are weak in our attempt to subdue the work of the enemy in our lives, we have only to believe in His Dominance Displayed; Jesus is our Strength.
    • I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. [Philippians 4:13]
  • When we are spent and growing worse in pursuit of a cure, we have only to believe in His Dominance Displayed; Jesus is our Healer.
    • And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:19]
  • When we are fearful in the face of death, the death of dreams, relationships and even our very lives, we have only to believe in His Dominance Displayed; Jesus is our Life.
    • I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. [John 10:10]

There is coming a day, when the pain and agony of demonic activity, disease and death will be abolished.

…and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. [Revelation 21:4]

As we consider His Dominance Displayed over Demons, Disease and Death, what do we possibly have to fear? Until that day, let us live as victorious conquerors in the faith, power and love of our risen Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? …35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:31, 35, 37-39]

Let’s Grow Together!

Mark 4… Consider His Call to the Other Side

He began to teach again by the sea. And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land. And He was teaching them many things in parables, [4:1-2]

On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” [4:35]

Consider His Call to the Other Side

He had been teaching all day; He taught about the kingdom, the Word and faith.

  • His Call to the Other Side was a call to hear with ears of faith.
    • And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” [4:9]
  • His Call to the Other Side was a call to bear the fruit of faith.
    • And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” 21 And He was saying to them, “A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? 22 For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” [4:20-23]
  • His Call to the Other Side was a call to carefully guard the truth in expectation of His increase.
    • And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. 25 For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” [4:24-25]
  • His Call to the Other Side was a call to intimate understanding. He taught the masses in parables, but He explained everything privately to His disciples.
    • With many such parables He was speaking the word to them, so far as they were able to hear it; 34 and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples. [4:33-34]

But the learning was never intended to stop at His teaching, in reality His teaching was only the beginning, the Seed intended to bear fruit. Life lessons must accompany His truth. So He called them, “Let us go over to the other side.” [4:35]

  • His Call to the Other Side was a call to leave the safety of land and enter the storm.
    • Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. 37 And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. [4:36-37]
  • His Call to the Other Side was a call to believe the truth about Him.
    • Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. 40 And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” [4:38-40]
  • His Call to the Other Side was a call to experience His power.
    •  They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” [4:41]

How do we respond to His Call to the Other Side?

Today, as we seek to answer His Call to the Other Side, let us examine our readiness in light of His Holy Word.

  • Are we allowing the noise of this world to obscure the truth or are we purposely seeking Him in His Word with ears of faith?
    •  However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. [Romans 10:16-17]
  • Are we abiding in Him, that we might bear fruit, convinced we can do nothing on our own?
    •  I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. [John 15:5]
  • Are we vigorously guarding His truth and expecting His increase?
    • But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. [2 Timothy 3:13-17]
  • Are we investing our time to receive intimate instruction from Him?
    • but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
      And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,
      [1 Corinthians 2:9-12]
  • Are we willing to leave the safety of the known and go to the other side even when it means we must enter the storm?
    • For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, [Philippians 1:29]
  • Are we allowing our circumstances to define Him or do we believe His truth as revealed in His Word?
    • What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? [Romans 8:31-32]
  • Do we choose to experience His power in His all-sufficient grace?
    •  And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. [2 Corinthians 12:9-10]

Are we content to have a head full of knowledge but shudder in times we are asked to go with Him to the Other Side; the Other Side of comfort, the Other Side of clarity, the Other Side of calm? Will we trust Him with our questions, our confusion and sorrows?

Oh Lord Jesus, that we would desire to go with you anywhere, even in Your Call to the Other Side, the place You strengthen us in our faith and fit us for Your service.

Let’s Grow Together!

Mark 3… Consider Him Who Withstood

Withstand: to remain undamaged or unaffected by; to deal with (something, such as an attack or criticism) successfully.

Do you ever read the Gospels in complete amazement, wondering why Jesus even bothered? It doesn’t fit our understanding of the way life should work; you do something nice for people and they, in turn, appreciate the kindness. But this was certainly not the case; with all His compassionate healings and merciful miracles, there was definitely a serious absence of gratitude, and even worse, rising suspicion. Jesus simply did not conform to their idea of what Messiah would be, or any servant of God for that matter. And as pride escalated and insults, innuendos, accusations and charges were hurled, He Withstood. The conspiracy began and He chose to remain unaffected in His purpose, resolved to obey the will of His Father.

Consider Him Who Withstood

  • He Withstood, though the religious leaders attempted to trap Him.
    • He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” [3:1-3]
  • He Withstood, though His accusers were merciless and cowardly.
    • And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. [3:4]
  • He Withstood, though He was angered and grieved.
    • After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. [3:5]
  • He Withstood, though they conspired to destroy Him.
    • The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him. [3:6]
  • He Withstood, though His own family was convinced He was out of His mind.
    •  And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21 When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.” [3:20-21]
  • He Withstood though they accused Him of demonic possession.
    • The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” [3:22]

How do we respond to Him Who Withstood?

I know the Biblical answers as to why, why He did it, why He Withstood. But I still can’t comprehend it. I still wonder why He didn’t choose some other way, some way less humiliating, less degrading. He came as a man and subjected Himself to the worst treatment, even before the cross. When I read the accounts, I wonder who I would be in the story, and I shudder as I see myself, puffed up with pride, convinced I know a better way.

Today may we bow in humble worship and learn the better way from Him Who Withstood. With obedience to His Father and our redemption as His motivation, He Withstood rejection and ridicule at the hands of sinful men, unbearable sorrow and the excruciating suffering of the cross. As we consider and fix our eyes on Him Who Withstood so much for us, let us be resolved to withstand injustices, trials and the sufferings of this life.

Life has more than its fair share of sorrows and difficulties, but we will never be called to withstand all our Savior Withstood, and it is momentary when compared to eternity. Let us live by faith, with our hearts set on Jesus, unaffected in our purpose to obey and bring Him glory as we look beyond this life, to our glorious and eternal destination, to be with Him Who Withstood forever.

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; [Hebrews 12:2-3]

…knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. [2 Corinthians 4:14-17]

Let’s Grow Together!

Mark 2… Consider Him Who Forgives Sins

And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?” [2:5-7]

This is an excellent question; who but God alone can forgive sins?

Consider Him Who Forgives Sins

  • Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, “Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, 11 “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” 12 And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.” [2:8-12]
    • Why did the scribes not ask any more questions: for example, who but God alone can read the thoughts of men’s hearts; who but God alone can heal a paralytic with just a word; and who but God alone would verify His ability to forgive sins with a miraculous event in the sight of everyone?
    • This Man, the Son of Man, claimed authority on earth to forgive sins, and had He been unable to demonstrate His authority through healing the paralytic, it would have been blasphemy. But to the amazement of all, the paralytic walked and God was glorified.
    • Who but God alone can forgive sins? The answer was clear in His miraculous healing of the paralytic; Jesus is God Who Forgives Sins.
  • And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. [2:15]
    • Is it any wonder the sinners followed Him? He had proven His authority to forgive sins when He healed the paralytic. The true wonder is seen in His grace as He allowed Himself to be surrounded with sinners such as these.
  • When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners. [2:16-17]
    • There was no false pretense in these sinners and tax collectors. We do not read an account of them defending themselves, nor did Jesus rise up in their defense. Rather Jesus confirmed their condition and commended them as the ones who would experience the healing of the Great Physician; for it is only in recognizing the disease of sin running rampant in the heart, will one seek the only prescribed treatment, Him Who Forgives Sin.
  • “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; otherwise the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear results. 22 No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.” [2:21-22]
    • He Who Forgives Sin was doing something new, instituting a forgiveness received by faith alone without man’s contribution to what He alone would do. This new work would require vessels made new by faith to receive Him Who Forgives Sins.

How do we respond to Him Who Forgives Sin?

  • We begin by acknowledging Jesus as God and our only means of salvation and forgiveness of sin.
    • Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. [John 14:6]
    • And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. [Acts 4:12]
    • His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [Colossians 1:13-14]
  • In humility we come to Him Who Forgives Sin. When we humble ourselves before God we acknowledge and mourn our sin, declaring our need for His great grace to bring forgiveness, healing and the joy of His presence.
    • But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. [James 4:6-10]
  • Like the men who clawed their way to Jesus for the sake of their friend, let us seek to bring others to Him Who Forgives Sins through sharing the Gospel and our prayers.
    • Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” [Matthew 9:37-38]
    • And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. [Mark 16:15]
    • Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. [Romans 10:1]
  • In faith we trust the new work He alone is able to do; we place our faith in Him Who Forgives Sins and makes all things new.
    • Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. [2 Corinthians 5:17]

Let’s Grow Together!