Who can forgive sins?
July 4, 2011
by Pastor G. Koivukangas, Laestadian Lutheran Church, Cokato

Debris began falling from the roof, showering down upon the people, as the rays of sunlight filtered through the cracks. It captivated the people’s attention. Moments before, they had been at rapt attention as Jesus “preached the word” unto them.

I am sure that even the Lord, himself, watched as the hole in the ceiling grew bigger, and a stretcher was lowered down into the midst of the assembly. On it lay a man diseased by palsy.

“And when he saw their faith, he said unto the sick of palsy; ‘son be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.’” (Mat. 9:2, Mark 2:5, Luke 5:20)

The forgiveness of sins brings joy into the heart of man, and a great reason to thank and glorify God.

“And immediately he arose up before them, and took up whereon he lay, and departed to his house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, we have seen strange things today.” (Luke 5:25-26)

Not all believed the word of Jesus. There were Scribes and Pharisees who reasoned in their hearts, “Who can forgive sins, but God alone.”

Dear friend, today we would have to go far and wide before we would find someone who didn’t believe that Jesus forgives sins. Our Lord came to save mankind from sin.

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’ And Jesus went about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” (Mat. 4: 17-23)

Jesus, knowing the thoughts of the wise Scribes and Pharisees, answered them. “What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, rise up and walk? But ye may know that the son of man hath power upon the Earth to forgive sins . . .” (Luke 5:22-24)

Even today, this loving voice of our Lord is heard from His kingdom here upon the earth. Jesus left this duty to preach the Gospel unto His own.

“Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead on the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24: 45-47)

“Then said Jesus to them again, ‘Peace be unto you: as my father hath sent me, even so send I you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained.’” (John 20: 21-23)

Dear neighbor, do not reject this loving, joyful Gospel message of the Lord. It is still proclaimed from His kingdom here upon the earth.