Highlighting Mark: Faith and Forgiveness



“When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5).

In Mark 1, verses 21-28, the Gospel proclaims Jesus taught with authority.  This means there was an authority in how He taught as opposed to the scribes.  He was different.  He spoke His own words and did not quote upon quote others (as was the custom).  I think the idea is that He didn’t lean on the teachings of others in terms of opinion.  Jesus Christ spoke from Scripture and gave His own authoritative determination.

In 2:5, we see this authority emphasized even more in the forgiving of sins.  This is a dominion reserved for God.  We also see that faith is revealed as a necessary component of God’s forgiveness (see also Matthew 13:58, Mark 6:5-6).  The funny thing is that there is no record in this account that the paralytic was seeking forgiveness!  What’s more… it is not the paralytic’s faith that is emphasized, but rather “their” faith.  “Their” are those that brought the man to Jesus; though it is likely the paralytic’s faith was included.  Nevertheless, this is a good example of how bringing requests in faith through difficult obstacles before Jesus makes an impact on others.

Where faith is present in a person, Jesus is willing to forgive.  Forgiving people is the first priority for Jesus.

Jesus of Nazareth did many miraculous acts, but faith in Him above all brought the forgiveness of sins.  Jesus seems to look for faith, not primarily to heal or do wonders, but more so to forgive.  This miracle highlights forgiveness of sin.  The healing of the paralytic man is a good example. Jesus heals according to His authority.  He has Source Authority (because He is God) that brings about forgiveness and restoration to those who place their faith in Him.

Who has the authority to forgive sins?

God has the authority to forgive our sins against Himself and against one another.

(Psalm 79:9; Hosea 14:2; Matthew 6:12; Mark 11:25; Luke 23:34; 1 John 1:9)

Jesus has the authority to forgive our sins against Himself and against one another.

(Acts 8:22; Hebrews 8:12, 13:12; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5)

We humans can forgive offenses against one another.

(Genesis 50:17; Matthew 6:14-15; Matthew 18:21-22; John 20:23; Colossians 3:13)

What is the big deal about forgiveness?  As we already stated, “Forgiving people is the first priority for Jesus.” If Jesus’ purpose and priority was forgiveness, then our purpose and priority should be the same as people who seek after Him.  We want to be like Him… therefore we forgive.


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