Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Denney: the authority of Jesus

Tuesday, January 11, 2022
    Commemoration of Mary Slessor, Missionary in West Africa, 1915
    Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”
    —Matthew 9:4-6 (NIV)
    The displacement of ‘the Son of Man’ by ‘man’ [according to the recommendation of textual critics] has only a superficial plausibility in logic. The healing of the palsy by Jesus does not prove that man generically can forgive sins. The man who does the visible miracle in confirmation of his claim to do the invisible is to be taken at his word: but it is no more true that man generically can speak the word of forgiveness with divine effect than that man generically can effectively bid the lame walk. The only question raised, and the only question settled, is one concerning the power claimed by Jesus; and it is settled, not by bringing Jesus under the general category of humanity, but by an act of Jesus Himself which was as impossible for men in general as the forgiveness of sins. It is not any man, but only He who has the right to think of Himself as the Son of Man, who can forgive sins upon the earth.
    ... James Denney (1856-1917), Jesus and the Gospel: Christianity justified in the mind of Christ, New York: Hodder & Stoughton, 1908, p. 275 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 9:2-8; 11:5,21; Mark 2:1-12
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, to You all power is given.
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