The Authority to Forgive?

Jesus ticked some people off in his hometown when he forgave the sins of a paralyzed man. “Such forgiveness was reserved for God alone,” they said. “What business do you think you have forgiving this man?”

Jesus then healed the man right in front of them to establish his point with some theo-logic. “What’s harder to do?“ he asked. “Heal a paralyzed man, or forgive him? If I have the authority to do the harder one, then I have the authority to do the lesser one.”

This passage ends with the crowd being amazed, stating that they were surprised that God had given such authority to humanity.

This is where the Bible debate begins. What do we mean when we say “humanity?” Most scholars would take the traditional view that only the human Jesus is capable of forgiving sins—not humanity in a general sense.

But other scholars aren’t so sure. After all, there are a lot of Bible passages in which high levels of authority are extended to Jesus’ followers. The fuller Bible says we will rule over the earth, bind and loose things, and even judge angels. So perhaps if we, too, can do the higher things, maybe we can do the lower things as well. And since Jesus tells us to forgive always, it’s best that we do.

*This devotional was created out of the themes of Matthew 9:1-8 found in today’s reading at Below are the various AI-created pictures I typed into existence via Mid Journey to mock up artwork for today’s post.

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