Have you ever noticed that when Jesus comes into a conversation, hardly anyone wants to say anything negative about Him? When was the last time that you’ve heard someone say something like “Yeah, I hate Jesus.” I do not doubt that there are some people who may feel this way, but in general, most people want to at least talk about Jesus in a positive light. Yet, in order to speak positively about Jesus, people often mold Jesus into an image that is more palatable. Some try to paint a picture in which Jesus emerges as nothing more than a highly-skilled teacher—a good, moral guide. Others describe Him as a wandering poet or a would-be political revolutionary figure. Yet, a very different Jesus is found in the gospel accounts.
In Luke 5:17-26 a story is recounted of a paralyzed man who is brought by his friends to see Jesus. According to Luke, Jesus responds like this:
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven" (v.20, NIV)Jesus' statement quickly puts the religious leaders on edge. They found Jesus’ words to be scandalous:
"Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (v.21, NIV)The religious leaders realized exactly what Jesus' words implied: By claiming to be able to forgive sins, Jesus thereby claimed to be God! Jesus certainly saw Himself as much more than a great teacher, and He wanted others to see that He was more than a man: He was the God-Man...fully God and fully Man! (What a great and glorious mystery!) Luke tells us that Jesus responds to the religious leaders with a few questions of his own:
"Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'?” (vs.22,23, NIV)Yet, Jesus doesn't just speak bold words to them. He follows His words with a confirming action:
"But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." He said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God (vs.24,25, NIV).As much as people may want to speak nicely about Jesus as a good teacher or some other image, we must each be willing to take Him on His terms, not ours. Maybe if we see Him as He truly is, then we will be able to respond to Him as we should: with awe and wonder.
Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, "We have seen remarkable things today (v.26, NIV)