Faith of a mustard seed

Barbara Woods-Washington

“But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’” (Luke 7:49)

This is not the first time in Luke’s Gospel that controversy has arisen concerning Jesus’ pronouncement of ‘the forgiveness of sin’. This, Luke’s 3rd use of ‘faith’— ‘A Sinful Woman Forgiven’ is now directly linked to his 1st use of ‘pistis/ faith’— the ‘Healing of the Paralytic’. (Luke 5:17-26)

A closer look reveals that Jesus sees faith in the friends of a paralytic who remove a roof to get into the house to see Jesus. There is no fore knowledge, no whispering, no judgement, no indication of sin in the life of this man. He came for ‘healing’— yet, Jesus pronounced “your sins are forgiven”! Jesus, then, sees faith in a woman who comes alone to get into the house to see Him. There is fore-knowledge, whispering, judgement, and perhaps a ‘casting the first stone’ indication of sin in the life of this woman. Since there is no apparent sickness or disease in her life, it is only in believing that one can ‘get her purpose’— yet, Jesus gives the same pronouncement “your sins are forgiven”!

Earliest use of ‘aphiemi/forgiveness’ has the sense of ‘to send off’; ‘to hurl’; ‘to release’; ‘to abandon’; to surrender’; and can be seen in the Greek legal system in release from a legal relation: ‘to release from debt’; ‘to release from punish-ment’. The object may be material or personal but is never religious.

Old Testament as a legalistic faith, sees this as a legal relationship between man and God— but now the object is GOD ALONE! Taking on the sense of ‘remission’ where the object of remission is sin or guilt. Then it becomes cultic— where the ‘removal of sin’ the ‘expiation of sin’ is only done by ritual. “Who, but God, (through the High Priest in the Holy of Holies) can forgive sin?”

Seeing an Article today from Detroit where ‘Police Officers” went UNderCOVER in a sting operation to bring justice to bear upon a group of Drug Dealers. Turns out that the Drug Dealers that they targeted were UNderCOVER Police Officers attempting to bring… justice?

No talk now at all in the Church about ‘Forgiveness of Sins”. To be sure the meaning and understanding and purposeful need to find ‘Remission of Sins’ is ‘Muddy Waters’… Yet Unclean!

Sin that was COVERed… is now UNcovered… JUSTIFIED…

Jesus, all up in the midst of a belief that only God; only the High Priest can pronounce ‘forgiveness of sin’— comes telling a paralytic, his friends and all those gathered in this house, (who have sin as the furthest thing from their judgment)— “your sins are forgiven”! Jesus, all up in another house full of believers (who have sin as the only thing in their judgment)— comes telling a woman the exact same thing, “your sins are forgiven”!

This release from debt; this release from punishment; the send off, abandon, surrender; remission, expiation is done for ALL, EVERY ONE— as Jesus takes His Old Testament faith to another level. Whether it was the (fully) God nature or the (fully) Man nature in him that gave him the authority to forgive sins, I don’t know. All they wanted to know was … who is this?

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