But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” – Luke 5:24, ESV

… the Son of Man has “authority” …  The Pharisees who challenged Jesus were thinking (correctly) in their heart: “Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (5:21).  And yet, Jesus states that HE has the authority to forgive sins.  This statement is a challenge for folks who say that Jesus never claimed to be God.  But it really wasn’t that challenging for the Pharisees and Jews who heard Him say it – they charged Him with blasphemy and wanted to kill Him for His claim that He could do something that only God could do. You can decide for yourself what Jesus meant by this claim to be the Son of Man, and to have the authority to forgive sins.

Further, on this topic of “authority” – consider these additional texts from Scripture:

All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” (Luke 4:36)

And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18).

One amazing thing for us Lutherans to consider, however, is that when it comes to forgiving sins, Jesus has now given that authority to His Church, when He says:

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)

So as Marin Luther says in the Small Catechism, in answer to the question “What is confession?”  “when we confess our sins … and receive absolution, that is forgiveness, from the pastor” it is “as from God Himself.”

We still recognize that only God can forgive sins.  But as a called and ordained servant of God, and by His command and authority, I pronounce the forgiveness of sins that God has already granted, and Jesus has already spoken from the cross, when He said “It is finished!”

In Him,

Pastor Augie.