Healing and Forgiving

KEY VERSE: “They were all amazed and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying we have seen strange things today.” —Luke 5:26


JESUS was at the center of a great throng of people who had come to hear him speak, and more particularly to be healed of sicknesses and infirmities. In order to reach Jesus, one man, taken with a palsy, was brought up to a rooftop and let down on a couch in front of him. Jesus, recognizing this as an expression of faith, said to the man, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.”—Luke 5:23

On that particular day there were many Pharisees and doctors of the Law sitting by in the crowd waiting for a chance to somehow discredit Jesus. And this statement supplied them their opportunity. They began to reason, “Who is this that speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”—vs. 21

They greatly resented and criticized the authority with which Jesus spoke and conducted his ministry. As the religious leaders of their day, they questioned the right of any and all who presumed to teach without first of all being sanctioned by them. To a degree Jesus recognized the authority of these men, acknowledging that they “sat in Moses’ seat.” (Matt. 23:2) On occasion he instructed those whom he healed to report to the rulers. Jesus knew, nevertheless, that his authority did not stem from the leaders of Israel, but rather that he had been anointed, or authorized, to preach and heal by the Spirit of God.—Isa. 61:1-3

In the beginning of his ministry Jesus called attention to this. In the synagogue at Nazareth he read what we might call his ordination papers from the prophecy of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Loren is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then Jesus added, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”—Luke 4:18-21

The ordination, or anointing, of the Holy Spirit which Jesus received from God not only gave him the authority to speak in the name of his Heavenly Father, but it also gave him enlightenment of mind which qualified him to present the glad tidings of the kingdom. He understood the Gospel of the kingdom, and could, therefore, present it as one having authority.

Historically the tribe of Levi was selected by the Lord to serve the nation in all religious matters. From the Levites the priests were chosen. From this standpoint the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were not altogether wrong in questioning the right of others to teach the people. Indeed, as we have seen, Jesus recognized their position. What they failed to understand was that a new age was beginning, when a greater than Moses was to be the Head over a new house, a house of sons, and that Jesus was the one to occupy this position.

Jesus knew it was not his own power that healed the people on that day, but as the scripture says, “The power of the Lord was present to heal them.” (vs. 17) Jesus also knew that it was by God’s authority that he extended forgiveness to those who were repentant. But the option as to whom this power would be exercised upon was his, and his good judgment was honored by the Heavenly Father. Jesus also knew that his mission was far reaching, and his very purpose for being on earth was to act as the agency of God through which all the world ransomed from death could eventually receive the forgiveness of God through his kingdom.

To demonstrate this fact, Jesus turned to the sick man and said, “That ye might know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins … I say unto thee, Arise and take up thy couch and go into thine house” (vs. 24), and this the man did, glorifying God.

While the Pharisees were critical, the common people knew from whence the miracle came and glorified God with reverence, as our text declares. The authorization to speak for God which comes through the Holy Spirit’s anointing has continued with the church throughout the Gospel Age. While the gifts of healing ceased early on in the age, the Gospel has not changed. It is still a message which speaks of God’s abundant power to forgive sin through Christ, and to heal the people in his kingdom to come.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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