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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, ‘Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’”—Luke 5:21 (NKJV)
For all of the faults we can find with the scribes and Pharisees, they did get this one right! Let me set the stage for you: Jesus is teaching a large group huddled inside a home, including several religious leaders—scribes and Pharisees. Suddenly, the roof above is pulled apart to reveal a paralyzed man being lowered down by four of his friends.
As the paralytic is let down right in front of Jesus, it’s clear what’s happening: The man’s friends have gone to the utmost extremes to secure a healing from Jesus for their friend. The air inside that congested room must have been electric with anticipation. Then, Jesus says something unexpected, “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:20 NKJV).
This statement instantly triggered a theological tripwire in the hearts of the religious leaders. They knew the Scriptures taught that only God has the ability to directly forgive sin. As sinners, the sin we commit is ultimately against God, Himself. Consequently, only He has the prerogative to pronounce them, “forgiven.”
They were right to react, because in their minds Jesus was going too far here, which would have been absolutely true if Jesus wasn’t God. But He was; which is why He could not only proclaim this man’s sins forgiven, but heal him as well (Luke 5:22–25).
They weren’t alone. Others underestimated Christ’s true identity, including a Samaritan woman of questionable morals who rhetorically asked Him: “Are You greater than our father Jacob?” (John 4:12 NKJV).
We have the hindsight this woman and the others didn’t have. We can see how Jesus has demonstrated over and over that He is, in fact, God. His divinity is recorded and proven for us to an extent that these people didn’t initially possess.
Here’s what’s interesting: We can often challenge Christ’s divinity, too. Not theologically, but practically. How so? By not trusting that He’s all-knowing and all-powerful when life challenges our faith in Him. “Are you greater than . . .?” (you can fill in the blank).
When we question His concern and capacity to care for us, we need to remember His true identity as God. Nothing is impossible for Him. He is willing and able to provide all that we need in both this life and the next.
DIG: What did the religious rulers and Samaritan woman miss about Jesus?
DISCOVER: How can you be guilty of the same thing? How can you avoid this going forward?
DISPLAY: Spend some time in prayer today asking the Lord to forgive you for all the times you unknowingly challenged His divinity.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.