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The Authentic Jesus | Claim Maker
February 26, 2023
Luke 10:21-24; Mark 2:1-12
1And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 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!”
21In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
23Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
To discover and experience Jesus Christ in our midst
To cultivate mutually encouraging relationships
To participate in God’s mission to the world
God Most High, thank you for signs of your power and grace, shown to us even in the wilderness. Give us courage to stand firm in your Word in every time of trial and testing, that we may enter the land of your freedom and receive the salvation you so generously give; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Responsive Prayer—Psalm 32
1Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
5I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.
6Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
8I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.
10Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Summary and Connection
This week as we continue to explore The Authentic Jesus, we take a close look at the claims he made about himself. Specifically three claims that, while provocative to both ancient and modern ears, help us understand who Jesus is and what he has come to do. He claims to have the authority to forgive sins (Mark 2), he has power to judge the world (Matthew 16), and he holds the intimate complete knowledge about His Father (Luke 10). All three of these claims that Jesus makes about himself help us to see that Jesus’ ultimate claim was that he was equal with his Father, an audacious claim that, when taken seriously, makes the ultimate claim upon us: that he is worthy of our total loyalty and love.
In Mark 2, Jesus offers forgiveness of sins to a man who is first and foremost looking to be healed. Jesus asks the crowd which is easier to forgive sins or to heal. In fact he heals the man to prove that he has the power and authority to forgive sins. The remarkable reality about Jesus’ claim is that he is not simply offering forgiveness for an offense directly against him, he is offering forgiveness more broadly or universally. This claim can only make sense if Jesus is God, and that every sin and every law that is broken is in fact against him.
Consider this quote from CS Lewis: [Jesus] told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offences. This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin. In the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would imply whatI can only regard as a silliness and conceit unrivalled by any other character in history.
- What do you make of the fact that in Mark 2, Jesus seems more concerned with forgiving the man than healing him (even though he does both)?
- What does this tell us about the grace of Jesus that he knows the deeper need of the man better than the man does?
- This man (and his friends) have a desperate need to get into the presence of Jesus. They are willing to rip the roof off to get into Jesus’ house.
- How is this a model for discipleship for us?
- What does it look like in our daily and weekly lives to have the desperation of this man and his friends?
Jesus not only claims to have authority to forgive sins but to judge the world. Matthew 16, Mark 8, and Matthew 25 share different aspects of this claim. The striking feature about all three of these passages is that Jesus draws attention to….himself. “If you are ashamed of me...”, “If anything is keeping you from me…”, “You can gain the whole world but if you don’t have me…”. These are just a few of the examples where Jesus, when talking about his authority to judge the world, places it in relationship to himself. Jesus was always presenting himself as the object of faith, love, and obedience. Follow me, believe me, love me.
- We generally want to be the judge of our own lives and judge people around us. Why is Jesus’ authority to judge good news for us (it is!) when it takes away our perceived power as judge of our own lives?
- How does his authority to judge give us freedom to be the people we were created to be?
- Jesus is always drawing attention to himself (a claim of his divinity). How does this shape our life together as the people of God who, when left to ourselves, are bent on drawing attention to ourselves and our accomplishments?
Jesus claimed to have an utterly unique relationship with God. Jesus didn’t simply claim to be a son of God but the Son of God. He dared to use the definite article. In Luke 10, Jesus says that no one knows the Father except the Son and no one knows the Son except the Father. Jesus is saying that he knows absolutely everything there is to know about God. And the only way you can know anything about God is through me. But Jesus also says no one can know me completely except the Father. He is putting himself on the same level as God, absolutely equal in nature.
In Luke 10, Jesus says the only way you can truly see who God is and who Jesus is if you become like little children (literally babies). The idea here is we are not called to ignorance or naivete, but humility. Oftentimes our pride keeps us from seeing Jesus—his power, his authority, and his beauty. He makes claims no one else has made about himself and God, and he had the right to do so because he was, in fact, equal with the Father. But these claims are so bold and so all encompassing to take them seriously means that they make claims on our lives. His claims of authority, judgment, and sonship are meant to lead us into a deeper life with him, where he is the God who is worthy of our praise, obedience and adoration.
- The sonship of Jesus is not something that Jesus keeps to himself. He invites us into this life with the Father (something he alludes to in Luke 10:23) so that we can be sons and daughters of God. How ought this to be a comfort to us?
- Jesus is so generous with his sonship in his invitation to us to participate in his life with the Father. How should this be a model for us in being generous with our lives and the hope that we have in Christ?
God’s word is a lamp to our feet. Christ’s teachings are a light to our path. May God’s word take root in our lives. May Christ’s love nourish and sustain us. Amen.