This sermon was based on Mark 2:1-12.
6Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7“Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts?9Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10But 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, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Forgiveness Comes in Community not Crowds
- The crowds are mentioned nearly 40 times before chapter 10 of Mark. Jesus has compassion on the crowds and preaches to them. Crowds don’t turn to Jesus – repent or believe – which is what he asks. Crowds seem passive and fickle – when the going gets tough for Jesus the crowds thin out
- You can be part of a noisy and passionate crowd and there not be faith. We can also confuse crowds with community – not about numbers – about dynamic faith.
- Communities commit to action, carry the weak and needy to Jesus. It requires hard work and effort to be part of the community, committed to one another and bringing one another to Jesus.
Faith Comes in Community not Crowds
- Jesus saw their activity. Activity made a big hole in his ceiling – covered everyone in dirt – damage that would cost money to repair – they interrupted his teaching. Action to get before Jesus = faith. Not even clear whose faith it is! Jesus saw their faith – this little trouble making community had found a way to get before Jesus.
- Is this what faith looks like for you? – doing whatever it takes to get before Jesus To get yourself or someone else before God?
- Important – to go with faith to Jesus – no guarantees as to what will happen. Faith isn’t a formula – it’s obedience and pushing into relationship. Once we get in front of Jesus he will do what he wants.
Forgiveness Needs God to Work
- In forgiveness – Jesus hints at his identity. Scribes helpfully spell this out for us – Who can forgive sins but God alone?
- They are correct Ex 34:6 The Lord, The Lord, a God merciful and gracious abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness….forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. Or Isaiah 43:25 – I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will remember not your sins.
- Jesus words are hugely provocative. In their hearts, the scribes think Jesus is Blaspheming – punishable by death.
- Forgiveness needs God.
- Sat before Jesus the scribes are silently judging – rooted to the spot. Their unbelief has crippled them.
- When faced with forgiveness hearts are revealed. If someone hurts you and then asks for forgiveness – your heart is revealed. Do you forgive them and forget the issue – like Isaiah? Or do you hold onto the issue? Your heart is revealed.
- When someone offers up forgiveness to someone else – you as the observer have a part to play. Do they have the right?
- Forgiveness is a Godly action. It is God like! Jesus not copying God – or representing God – claiming to be God. He is God on earth – looking to reveal and restore our hearts.