Matthew 9:8, John 20:22b-23a
In the bible we hear a story about a paralyzed man whose friends want to bring him to Jesus to be healed. When they arrive at the house where Jesus is at it’s full of people and so they bring him up to the rooftop take away some tiles and lower him down right at Jesus feet.
Jesus shocks everyone there with the first words out of his mouth not being “be healed” or “take up your mat” rather, “take heart son your sins are forgiven.”
It created quite a stir among the crowd, especially the religious leaders, many thought he was blaspheming. Who can forgive sins, but God alone?
Well Jesus goes on to show that he does have the authority and power to forgive sins by healing the man and telling him to take up his mat and walk.
Immediately after jesus healed the man we hear this in our text:
When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men. –Matthew 9:8
They praised God who had given such authority to men. The authority to do what? The authority to forgive sins. There are many scoffers and skeptics even today who, like those religious leaders, think that only God can forgive sins, but in fact God has given this authority to men.
And not just the man Jesus Christ, but even to sinful men. To Christians. Jesus told his disciples in John chapter 20
“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven;” –John 20:22b-23a
What an incredible gift that God has given to men. The gift of even forgiving sins.
This is incredible comfort to us as we confess our sins to one another, as we gather together to also confess our sins as an assembly or congregation and to hear from the words of the pastor “I forgive you your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” To be reassured that his forgiveness is just as valid as if God Himself spoke those words to us.
Yes praise be to God who has given such authority to men. Amen.