“Who is this fellow?” asked the Pharisees when they heard Jesus forgive sins. “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Luke 5:21). Sin is an offense against God, so how could a human speak for God and say the offense is removed from the record? It was blasphemy, they said.
Jesus knew what they thought about it, but he forgave sins anyway. He even implied that he had no sins of his own (John 8:46). He made some astonishing claims:
* He said he would sit at God’s right hand in heaven—another claim the Jewish leaders thought blasphemous (Matthew 26:63-65).
* He claimed to be the Son of God—another blasphemy, they said, since in that culture it implied equality with God (John 5:18; 19:7).
* Jesus claimed to be in such perfect communication with God that he did only what God wanted (John 5:19).
* He claimed to be one with the Father (John 10:30), which the Jewish leaders again said was blasphemous (v. 33).
* He claimed to be so much like God that people should look at him to see the Father (John 14:9; 1:18).
* He claimed to be able to send God’s Spirit (John 16:7).
* He claimed that he had angels he could send (Matthew 13:41).
* He knew that God was the judge of the world, but he also claimed to be the judge (John 5:22).
* He said he could raise the dead, even himself (John 5:21; 6:40; 10:18).
* He said that everyone’s eternal life depends on their relationship with him (Matthew 7:23).
* He said that the words of Moses were not enough (Matthew 5:21-48).
* He claimed to be the Lord of the Sabbath—the Lord of a God-given law! (Matthew 12:8).
If he were merely a human, his teaching was arrogant and sinful. But Jesus backed up his words with some amazing actions. “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles” (John 14:11). Miracles can’t force anyone to believe, but they can provide powerful supporting evidence.
To show that he had the authority to forgive sins, Jesus healed a paralyzed man (Luke 5:23-25). His miracles give evidence that what he said about himself is true. He has more-than-human power, because he is more than a human. The claims that would have been blasphemous in anyone else were true for Jesus. He could speak like God and act like God because he was God in the flesh.
~ Discipleship 101 ~