Monday, January 29, 2024

His Authority

After defeating Satan, Jesus began to proclaim the “Good News” of the Kingdom – “The season is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the Gospel.” The term “Kingdom of God” is a summary statement that meant different things to different people, but the man from Nazareth identified his mission and coming reign with the glorious “Son of Man” figure first introduced in the Book of Daniel.

In the town of Capernaum, he entered the synagogue and began to teach about the Kingdom. But there was something about HOW he taught that astonished his audience - “He taught them as one who has authority, and not as the scribes.”

Mountain Peak - Photo by Cristian Grecu on Unsplash
[Photo by Cristian Grecu on Unsplash]

Typically, the Scribes cited historical and legal precedents to validate their propositions, the so-called “
traditions of the elders,” and they were not known for issuing decisive or innovative declarations on their own authority.

Next, Jesus delivered a man from an “unclean spirit.” Amazed, the men in the synagogue asked questions about what they had seen. “What is this? With authority, he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” His audience recognized his “authority” but did not understand its source - (Mark 1:21-27).

Some days later, a paralytic man was brought to him by his friends, no doubt expecting Jesus to heal him. However, rather than simply heal the man, Jesus first declared his sins “discharged.”

This caused consternation, and the “Scribes” were indignant. After all, who could forgive sins “but God alone.” His was an act of presumption if not blasphemy. Moreover, he had discharged the debt of sin on his own authority apart from the Temple rituals required by the Torah.

Jesus challenged his critics. “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, your sins are forgiven, or to say, Rise, take up your couch and walk?” Both statements are easy to say, and both are impossible to do without the authority of God. But he did not ask which one was easier to do, but which was easier “to say.”

It is easy to proclaim the forgiveness of sins since no one can verify the validity of your claim from observable evidence, but to say the paralytic was “healed” was far more difficult since verification would be immediate and obvious.

If Jesus could demonstrate his authority to heal, it would validate his authority to proclaim the “forgiveness of sins.” That is precisely what he did – “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on the earth, he said to the paralytic, Rise, take up your couch and go your way to your house. And he arose and, immediately, taking up the couch, he went forth before all.”

This is the first recorded instance when Jesus referred to himself as the “Son of Man.” He did not say that he had “authority,” but that the “Son of Man has authority,” in this case, to “forgive” sins.


This is the self-designation found most often in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It was in his capacity as the “Son of Man” that he had the authority to “discharge” the debt of sins, cast out demons, and heal the sick and infirmed.

The term “Son of Man” is derived from Daniel’s vision in which he saw “one like a Son of Man on the clouds of heaven” approaching the “Ancient of Days,” and the latter clearly represented Yahweh. From Him, the “Son of Man” received “dominion” and the kingdom so that all “peoples, nations, and men of every tongue might serve him” (Daniel 7:13-14).

In Daniel, the term “dominion” translates the Aramaic word ‘sholtan,’ meaning “dominion, sovereignty” - the right and authority to rule. By identifying his actions with this “Son of Man,” Jesus claimed not only the authority to implement and reign over the Kingdom but also left no doubt as to the source of his authority, the “Ancient of Days.”

That is why he had the “authority to forgive sins.” From Yahweh, the “Son of Man” received sovereignty over the Kingdom that is “everlasting, and it will not pass away, and it will not be destroyed.” According to the passage in Daniel, there were no limits on his dominion. It would extend over all the peoples of the Earth, and it would endure forever.

Certainly, the Torah provided the sacrificial rituals necessary to cleanse ritual defilement and atone for certain sins (but not all!), and the “Scribes” were not completely off-base to ask, “Who can forgive sins except God?

On that day, they had witnessed something unprecedented, and that is why the crowd glorified God - because “He had given such authority to men.” Thus, the crowd unwittingly acknowledged his dominion and thereby “served” him, the “Son of Man.”

Since his authority was from God, Jesus was within his rights to declare anyone’s sins “forgiven” whether he had undergone the required Temple rituals or not. That is why the “Son of Man” could issue authoritative declarations on Earth about sin, ritual purity, dietary restrictions, and even the Sabbath Day (“For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” - Mark 2:23-28, 7:14-23).

Thus, by identifying himself as the “Son of Man,” Jesus indicated the source of his authority, a claim that his healings and exorcisms validated.

Mountain range - Photo by Baptiste RIFFARD on Unsplash
[Photo by Baptiste RIFFARD on Unsplash]

being the “Son of Manwas not always pleasant. Later, he would reveal the true significance of his calling when he combined the figure of the “Son of Man” with Isaiah’s Suffering Servant– “For the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of the chief priests and scribes who would condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles for execution.”

The one appointed to rule over God’s Kingdom must first “give his life a ransom for many” before he could sit on the Throne of David.

  • The Kingdom Herald - (After his baptism, the Spirit drove Jesus to the wilderness to be tested by the Devil. But he overcame and succeeded where Israel failed)
  • Servant of Yahweh - (Paul summons believers to adopt the same mind that Jesus had when he poured out his life unto death for others – Philippians 2:5-11)