Years ago, some friends asked me to help a couple they knew who needed someone to perform their wedding. The bride and groom did not have a church connection but desired a Christian minister to perform their ceremony. I was happy to help and met the couple for the first time a day or two before the wedding. When we sat down to discuss what they wanted the bride commented on how much she admired people of authority who could speak as a judge and declare a person guilty or not guilty, or an ordained minister pronouncing the couple husband and wife. That was the first time I thought about the matter of having authority many others did not possess.
When our Lord walked the earth as an itinerant preacher, He did many things others could not do. He healed the sick, raised the dead, exorcised demons, and defeated the religious leaders in debates—among other things. But what irritated the Jewish leaders most was when Jesus said to various individuals that He forgave them their sins. That is amazing authority! Very few people in history have made such statements. When they do we dismiss them as delusional.
The Jewish leaders, in the two incidents our verses refer to, were both right and wrong. They were right in their belief that only God has authority to forgive sins. They were wrong in denying that Jesus was God.
Our faith in Jesus as our Lord and our God is based on many of His glorious attributes, and one of the greatest of those is His authority to forgive sins. We are so thankful as sinners to be forgiven our sins. While, as believers, we weep over what it cost our Beloved Redeemer to pay for our sins, we rejoice that all of our sins have been paid for, and our debt is entirely absolved.
Do you, my reader, know for certain that Jesus has exercised His authority to forgive your sins? Do you have assurance that you have the right to be in the presence of a holy God?
Only Jesus can do helpless sinners good. Marvel today at His authority to forgive sinners and give them eternal life. Come to this Holy One today believing He has authority to remove all your sins and He will never turn you away.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
- H. Spafford