Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:1-2)
Why didn't Jesus say "I forgive your sins"?
We must notice, in all accepted Biblical versions, that Jesus does not say, "I forgive your sins." Rather, he says, "your sins are forgiven."
This is being translated from the Greek phrase, Θάρσει τέκνον ἀφέωνταί σοί αἱ ἁμαρτίαι σου. Translated, literally, it means, 'take courage son, your sins are forgiven you."
This is an emphatic, indirect statement. It does not imply Jesus' direct involvement in the action. Otherwise, it would use a possessive, such as "I" or "I have" prior to the action of forgiveness.
This means that Jesus went out of his way to not say that he did it.
Furthermore, when the Pharisees complained:
But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." (Matthew 9:6)
As explained with this verse, here Jesus also does not use the first person to claim his authority to forgive sins. Rather, he refers to a role - "Son of Man" - in the third person.
Why didn't Jesus heal the man right away?The key element here is that Jesus was not immediately concerned about the paralysis of the man. He was focused upon the spiritual life of the man and those who brought the man over. This why it says, "when Jesus saw their faith."
Furthermore, one might wonder why the sins of a paralyzed person were connected to his healing? Jesus did not say "I've healed your paralysis." Rather, Jesus said, "your sins are forgiven." Why?
Jesus was teaching them that this is because a person’s current physical situation is the result of our past activities. We are each subject to the consequences of our prior activities.
The fact that Jesus taught the law of consequences was also communicated by this question by Jesus' disciples:
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2)This illustrates that Jesus was teaching the law of consequences. The disciples were questioning whether the child's being born blind was a consequence of his parent's activities or a consequence of the man's prior activities.
This law of 'as you sow, so shall you reap' (Gal 6:7 KJV) is a central component of the living being's learning experience in the physical body.
Each of us can make choices in life. Do we help others? Or do we hurt others? Do we give of ourselves? Or do we take from others? Do we serve God or do we serve ourselves?
What is sin?There are several Greek words that have been translated to "sin" in the texts of the Bible:
- "paraptoma" to fall.
- "hamartia" to miss the mark.
- "hettema" to diminish.
- "parabasis" to cross the line.
- "amonia" to not abide.
- "parakoe" to refuse to heed.
- "agnoeema" to ignore.
- "skandalizō" to stumble.
In the case of Matthew 9:2, the word "sin" is translated from the Greek word hamartia. This refers to "missing the mark" or "making an error."
Taken as a whole, there are two aspects of sin. The act of sinning is to be acting in a self-centered way: Acting with self-centeredness.
Actions that harm others with self-centered motives are called "sins."
Every action and decision that affects others has a consequence. Our actions and decisions are each stored up until they are expressed as physical responses. Sometimes our actions have immediate consequences. Maybe we will go to jail if we steal, for example. Sometimes our actions have delayed responses.
Some consequences are expressed in our next lifetimes if we do not return to the spiritual realm. They will become part of the next body's DNA and will be expressed as particular diseases or handicaps. In fact, every part of our physical body is a consequence of our past activities - good and bad.
This scenario - and the fact that it was being taught by early followers of Jesus - was confirmed in Galatians 6:7:"
A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; for one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."
The ability to forgive sins comes from the Supreme Being. And should the Supreme Being’s confidential servant and representative request it of God, a person’s sins can be wiped clean. The truly devoted servant of God never claims to be the Supreme Being. The representative of God continually harkens God’s power, and he desires to please the Supreme Being. This was expressed clearly by Jesus:
"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." (John 5:30)