In this sermon, part of his series on Travels with Jesus, Pastor Neil preaches on the power of Jesus to forgive sins. Here are some excerpts:
Here is what C.S. Lewis writes about Jesus’ claim to have the authority to forgive sins in Mere Christianity: “Now unless the speaker is God, [forgiving sins] is really so preposterous as to be comic. We can all understand how a person forgives offenses against himself (or herself). You tread on my toes and I forgive you, you steal my money and I forgive you. But what should we make of a person, himself (or herself) unrobbed and untrodden upon, who announced that he (or she) forgave you for treading on other people’s toes and stealing other people’s money? Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give of [their] conduct.”
…“Yet,” says Lewis, “this is what Jesus did. He told people their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offenses. This makes sense only if He really [is] the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin. In the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would only imply what I can only regard as a silliness and conceit unrivaled by any other character in history” (Lewis, Mere Christianity, 40).
…It all hinges on who Jesus is. If He is not God with us, He does not have the power to forgive. If He is not God in flesh and blood, He does not have the authority to declare the forgiveness of sins – not the sins of this paraplegic on a stretcher, nor those of a woman with a bad reputation who anointed His feet with expensive perfume at the home of a Pharisee named Simon (which you can read about in Luke 7:36-50), nor anyone’s sins, including yours and mine. That is, if Jesus is not God..
What Jesus demonstrates here, and what He wants us to understand, is that our greatest need in life is not physical healing or any other purely earthly blessing – job, income, family, education, or whatever. Our greatest need is spiritual healing… As one preacher put it, it is “better to limp into heaven than to run into hell! Paralysis is nothing compared to God’s punishment” (T. Anyabwile, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Luke, 94). As Jesus Himself said in another context: “What good is it if you gain the whole world” – even experience some miraculous healing along the way – “yet forfeit your soul?” (Mark 8:36). What do you gain if you have perfect health but go into eternity without Christ? It is a question everyone should think about…
…We all have skeletons of sin in our closets– things we are ashamed of or embarrassed about; Regrets things we have done or said, as well as opportunities we’ve missed to do or say something we should have. You may believe that Jesus forgives sinners, that there is forgiveness with God. But you may think it somehow doesn’t apply to you. You may think you have disqualified yourself from being forgiven by God– that even Jesus can’t get the stain of your sin out– that there is no way God can ever forgive you for something you’ve done. Which may really mean that you don’t know how to forgive yourself.
The good news of the gospel is for you: Jesus has the power to forgive your sins. Jesus came to forgive sinners, including you. Jesus did not go to the cross to suffer and die for some of your sins and not others. No. The Bible says that “The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:9). All sin.
The power of Jesus to forgive sins! Pastor Neil has much more to say on this topic. Please click on the link below to hear the sermon in its entirety.