Reconsider Jesus – The Forgiver of Sins (Mark 2:1-12)


Reconsider Jesus – A fresh look at Jesus from the Gospel of Mark
A devotional commentary by Michael Spencer
Compiled and Edited by: Michael Bell
Table of Contents

(Note: I wanted to take a moment to give a bit of an update on this project. Each post in this series usually takes me between three and six hours to put together. What you read however is not the final version. Dana, who we know from her very perceptive comments at Internet Monk, has become my de facto editor. She reads these posts and spends about an hour providing me with needed edits. Last post was the record so far: 36 recommended grammatical and wording changes! In contrast with Mark Chapter One, Chapter Two is going to consist of just four sections. After Chapter Two is complete, and Dana’s edits compiled back into Chapter One and Two, I will be seeking a publisher. Please send in your expressions of interest if you have not already done so, the more I have before approaching a publisher the better. )

The Forgiver of Sins

1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves,7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things?9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man,11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Mark 2:1-12 – NIV

Mark chapter two begins with another healing story, this time mentioning the enormous response Jesus was receiving in Capernaum. It is interesting that Mark says in verse one that Jesus had come “home”. Jesus was living in Capernaum, and it was the anchor for his early ministry.1 The passage, as written, is most naturally interpreted as happening in Jesus’ own house!2

The house-crowding response is in line with what all the Gospels show us about Jesus’ early ministry – the mobs were overwhelming, particularly when healing or feeding-miracles occurred. Like a modern-day celebrity who can’t even take a vacation without being hounded by paparazzi, mobs of people were following Jesus wherever he went. This is clearly the reason the religious and political leaders are interested in Jesus from the outset. His ability to draw a crowd was proven and potentially dangerous to the status quo. This is the first time we meet some of his religious opponents, in this case, “the teachers of the law”.

Growing up, I heard many sermons about the four men who brought the paralyzed friend to Jesus and lowered him through the roof. Generally these sermons missed the point because this part of the story is not the focal point of the passage. Rather it is the “memory device” used to isolate this story for recollection. Such details show that these stories were memorized and repeated long before they were written. The persistence of these men apparently reflects the persistence of the paralyzed man himself, who has insisted on seeing Jesus in order to be healed. His confidence in Jesus is so bold that no barrier – be it crowd or mud-and-thatch roof – will prevent him from getting to Jesus.

Throughout the gospels, Jesus is impressed with anyone who’s desperate enough to get to him: A woman who comes out and touches the hem of his garment;3 or a synagogue ruler who says, “Jesus, my daughter is dead.”4 Jesus recognizes the faith of the desperate.

Faith is often born of desperation: when we get to the place where we realize that “I have no other answer but God.” We shouldn’t despise this realization and we shouldn’t say, “I should have figured it out sooner.” Many, many people get to this place of desperation. This paralyzed man was no exception when he said, “I don’t care how, but get me to Jesus.” And his friends respond, “We’ll take you there.”

It is interesting that Jesus sees “their” faith. It is not only the paralyzed man’s faith, but the faith of his friends that is commended. Much of Western Christianity is hyper-individualized and resists the idea of a “community of faith.” But I think it is biblically impossible to speak of faith outside of a community of faith that believes before we do, nurtures us as we learn to believe, supports us as we believe and believes when we stumble in belief. God’s covenant with his “people” is a community covenant that does not downplay individual faith, but places God’s covenant with the community at the center of his dealings with human beings. All this underlines why it is vitally important for every Christian to be part of a believing community and not just a “lone ranger.”

In the Gospels, surprise is often found at the center of what is being communicated and Mark certainly surprises us when we read Jesus’ words to the paralyzed man: “Son, your sins are forgiven!” The forgiveness of sins seems to have nothing to do with this story. The paralyzed man came for the healing of his body. What does this mean?5 It’s no wonder that the teachers of the law are immediately awakened from their dozing by this little statement.

The crux of this story is the extension of Jesus’ Kingdom authority to that final and most profound area of human life – the forgiveness of sins. Sin is the basic human problem, the problem that occupies Genesis 1-11 and leads to the plan of God beginning with Abraham and continuing through the entire Bible. The Kingdom of God is an invasion of territory claimed by Satan but held by the power of sin. Salvation is the victory of God over sin and this victory is manifested first and foremost in forgiveness. The most basic of human needs is for the guilt we have before a holy God to be removed. Such an event is impossible in human power alone. We cannot forgive ourselves or do enough good to persuade God to forgive us. God forgives out of mercy and grace, prompted by the work of his Son in the incarnation, cross and resurrection. God may now forgive sinners because their penalty has been paid and his justice satisfied. The entire Old Testament pointed in this direction and Jesus now proclaims forgiveness as a free gift. This is the most important good news of the Gospel.

The scandal here, in this account, is for Jesus to proclaim forgiveness as the one doing the forgiving! If you’ve followed the story of the Gospel thus far, Jesus has expelled a demon,6 he’s healed a woman with a fever7 and he’s healed a leper.8 Many others have been healed as well. When they lower the paralyzed man everyone is expecting Jesus to say, “Your faith has made you whole. You’re healed.” However, Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven.” I’m sure the room got very quiet.

The religious leaders were present and checking Jesus out, trying to understand what he was all about. They responded, “Wait one minute! Who is this guy, saying he can forgive sins?” But Jesus loves to answer questions with questions. So he replies, “Why are you thinking these things? Which of these things would be easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to tell the paralytic to stand up and walk’?”

These guys are asking the question in their mind and we’re told Jesus knew in his spirit what they were thinking in their hearts. This is unique and it is consistently testified in all four Gospels. This is not just reading moods or body language, but a manifestation of knowledge that only a divine person could have; the sort of searching knowledge of human thoughts and motives that allows God to know us as we are and to judge us with absolute integrity. It’s amazing the insight Jesus carries into each of us.

What Jesus did at this point was even more outrageous. To teach with authority was outrageous; to claim to forgive sins was taking it up a notch. The teachers of the law recognize this as blasphemy and they are exactly right. For Jesus to proclaim forgiveness, when he is only a man, would be blasphemy for “only God can forgive sins.” This probably seemed particularly scandalous when proclaimed to a man who was “cursed” with a disease and was not repenting in any visible way, but merely showing his confidence in Jesus to heal him. To these legalists, only proper sacrifice and acts of repentance held out any hope of forgiveness. To give forgiveness simply by a word was to act in the prerogative of God alone.

Jesus, if we properly understand him, is always leaving us no choice but to interpret his words and actions as either 1) insane, 2) calculatingly evil, 3) blasphemous or 4) consistent with the confession that Jesus is the Son of God. This is not something Christians have created and assigned to Jesus. It is essential to knowing how he understood and presented himself.9 From the very beginning, Jesus’ identity as divine was essential to everything the Christian message teaches and proclaims. Any version of Christianity that ignores this is a modern reworking.10

Not only that, but Jesus combines his authority to heal with his proclamation to forgive sins. These simple words of forgiveness are easy for anyone to utter, but who can demonstrate the integrity of such a claim by healing a paralyzed man on the spot? Jesus makes the religious leaders’ objection absurd because, with the same word that he heals, he also forgives sin. For Jesus, there is no limitation on his authority in any area of life. He can speak to sin, to disease, to demonic oppression, to guilt, to self-hatred – to anything that holds us in bondage – and set us free and make us whole. The meaning of salvation is always holistic in real Christianity. We look to Christ’s work to be applied in every area, according to God’s working through the Spirit and in history. Anyone who ministers in Jesus’ name is doing God’s work – no matter what area of human existence they are working in: social work, medical missions, evangelism, education, counseling. All include the authority of the Kingdom working out in human relationships and experience.

In this healing, as in others of Jesus, we observe something noteworthy: When Jesus healed, it was immediate, it was total. It wasn’t, “I was feeling a little pain in my back, and I’m feeling better today.” It wasn’t, “I’ve got a headache and it’s gone.” Rather we read of a person who is blind, and then can see; a person who he’s covered with leprosy and then the leprosy vanishes; and in this story, a man who is paralyzed for life and then gets up and walks. Jesus’ healings were breathtaking. Jesus leaves all amazed, flabbergasted, stupefied – “We have never seen anything like this!”

My prayer is that the churches you come in contact with might create a similar response in you: “That’s not like anything else we’ve seen. Their Jesus isn’t like any Jesus we’ve ever heard of!” Jesus Christ is like no other person. The authority with which he talked. The authority with which he healed. The authority by which he forgives sins. It’s all one and the same, it’s the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. And I pray that if you’ve never acknowledged that authority, hold up the white flag and surrendered your life in faith, and say, “Lord I’m giving you everything, I’m giving up the war against you, and I’m going to put my life in your hands and live under your authority from now on.” If you’ve never done that, I hope that you do. I hope that you’ll do it today.

—————————————-

Footnotes:

[1] Matthew 4:13 confirms that Jesus lived in Capernaum.

[2] This simply shows how different the gospel portrayal of Jesus is when compared to the “approved” version, which has Jesus as continually itinerant. There are many items that are glossed over in the telling of Jesus’ story. For example, the fact that Jesus was primarily financially supported by several women (Luke 8:1-3) is rarely discussed in most church circles. It could be argued that this story happened in Peter’s home because of its mention in Mark 1:29-31. But if the story is an independent unit, which is far more likely, then Jesus’ own home in Capernaum is the more natural reference.

[3] Mark 5:25-34.

[4] Mark 1:35-43.

[5] Some could jump to the conclusion that this passage teaches that sin causes sickness. Such a claim needs a comment. In the Bible, all aspects of our fallen condition are the result of our separation from God and the curse that results from it. In this sense, sin is the cause of sickness.# But in any sense that a particular sin causes a particular sickness, we must be very, very cautious. While there are some instances where such a conclusion is drawn#, this sort of cause and effect thinking is generally discouraged.# I do not believe Jesus is drawing such a conclusion. It is the case, however, that Jesus’ message of the Kingdom does teach that the end of separation between God and man is manifested in every area of human existence, including physical healing.

[6] Mark 1:21-28.

[7] Mark 1:29-31.

[8] Mark 1:40-45

[9] Note here how Jesus refers to himself as “Son of Man”. This self-titling by Jesus has caused endless scholarly speculation. Ezekiel, the prophet, used this same title# and, so, Jesus may have been referring to himself as the humble prophet. But I doubt this is the source of the title. Rather its use by the prophet Daniel in Daniel 7:13, as a reference to the end-time Messiah, is simply too obvious to ignore. No one would use such a title thoughtlessly. To use this title to refer to yourself, while at the same time claiming to forgive sins and heal a paralyzed man, is Jesus making the claim that he is, in fact, the one Daniel saw and predicted.

[10] Some critics assert that the closer we get to the original sources of Christianity, the further we will be from any sense that Jesus is a divine figure. The Jesus of primitive Christianity, these commentators assume, was a teacher and political figure who would be completely surprised at discovering he is worshiped, invoked as divine or equated with God. These same folk often say that the Gospel of Mark is largely free from any evidence that Jesus saw himself in these terms. Instead, they claim that Mark’s gospel portrays Jesus as a servant and prophet within Judaism. However, this particular passage demonstrates how wrong this sort of assumption really is and how Mark’s presentation of Jesus goes beyond the known categories of prophet and preacher to something unique and powerful. For a representative example of the critics, see:
Erhman, Bart. How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher From Galilee. HarperOne, 2014.
In contrast, the following books detail how the deity of Christ was believed from the earliest days of Christianity:
Bowman, Robert M. Jr. and Komoszewski, J. Ed. Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ. Kregel, 2007.
Bird, Michael F. (and four additional authors). How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature—A Response to Bart Ehrman. Zondervan, 2014.
Bauckham, Richard. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2008.
Wright, N.T. The Resurrection of the Son of God. Fortress Press, 2003.

 

Notes from Mike Bell:
Some questions for you:

1. What questions or thoughts come from your mind from what you have just read? What stood out to you?

2. Would you be interested in a paper or Kindle version of the book when it is available? Please email us at michaelspencersnewbook@gmail.com so that we can let you know when it is ready. This is an email to indicate interest only, I am not selling anything at this point, but I sure do appreciate the encouragement!

As usual, your thoughts and comments are welcome.

55 thoughts on “Reconsider Jesus – The Forgiver of Sins (Mark 2:1-12)

  1. “….if the miracles are just a literary device to give his absolution of sins credibility in the narrative….then….he’s as dead as a doornail….”

    It all hangs on the if, Michael. I continue to hope, but what if all those miracles are just a narrative technique to convince of something that has no substance of its own? Yet I will plod on in blinking hope.

    fat turkey vultures
    circle overhead, nothing
    but time on their side

    Like

  2. “….if the miracles are just a literary device to give his absolution of sins credibility in the narrative….then….he’s as dead as a doornail…”

    It all hangs on the if, Michael. I continue to hope, but what if all those miracles are just a narrative technique to convince of something that has no substance of its own? Yet I will plod on in blinking hope.

    fat turkey vultures
    circle overhead, nothing
    but time on their side

    Like

  3. I think the message goes beyond that. That Jesus was not just another “faith healer”, but that he was claiming a divine prerogative. See footnote 10, for further thoughts on that.

    Like

  4. “The only thing that can help if it’s true that Jesus can forgive sin and raise the dead.”
    That was the line that I would have expected from you. I read instead:

    “…when you ask Jesus for foregiveness he’s not listening because he’s dead as a doornail.”

    It didn’t sound like anything I had seen you write before… Hence my concern.

    Like

  5. Not sure what you mean, Mike. I’ve always struggled with great doubt regarding these matters, as well as my other regular, everyday personal problems, but the only thing that can help is if it’s true that Jesus can forgive sin and raise the dead. Short of that, nothing else and on one else can help.

    Like

  6. That was Paul’s argument in I Corinthians 15 – if Jesus isn’t alive (i.e. if He has not resurrected from the dead) it’s all a sham. The ultimate linchpin for forgiveness of sins is the Resurrection.

    Like

  7. Apostolic pedigree would be part of authentication, but not all. Mark we know was not an Apostle, neither was Luke.

    Like

  8. What is his actual message, if not that Jesus’ ability to perform actual miracles vouches for his ability to forgive sins?

    Like

  9. But liar, lunatic, or Lord are not the only possibilities. Or, to get to them as the only possibilities, a lot of other things have to be established first.

    Like

  10. Yeah, okay, okay. But did Jesus the person, does Jesus the person, really have the ability and authority to forgive all sins, and was/is that authority and ability vouched for by his ability to perform miraculous deeds? If not, if the miracles are just a literary device to give his absolution of sins credibility in the narrative, well, then, it’s a nice story and all, but when you ask Jesus for forgiveness he’s not listening because he’s as dead as a doornail.

    Like

  11. The questions about historicity and the author’s possible sources for these accounts are very interesting questions. But obsessing about them can often blind us to the authors’ actual message. The author of Mark is very subtle in his method. Shame if we missed that.

    Like

  12. I do more clearly see the kingdom and it’s glory when getting out of myself and doing for others.

    And the Evangelical Gospel of Personal Salvation and Only Personal Salvation pushes you in the opposite direction. Whether its Excessive Scrupulosity OCD, or navel-gazing Sin Sniffing like all those Massachusetts Puritan journals.

    Like

  13. “Myths are not stories that are untrue…
    Rather they are tales that don’t fit neatly into the historical record.”
    — Extra Mythology intro (from YouTube Extra Mythology channel)

    Myths are the Old Stories that define and identify a culture. They could be religious, they could be historical, they could come from anywhere. But they are STORIES and Narratives, not checklists of FACT, FACT, FACT.

    And Myths have power. One of the worst things Fundagelicals have ever done is move away from Mythic images and narratives into chapter-and-verse checklists of FACT, FACT, FACT. In doing so, they have abandoned the power of Myth and left themselves naked among the competing Myths and Narratives.

    Like

  14. To add to what Dana said, there were a lot of legends about Jesus that were rejected because they could not be authenticated.

    Like

  15. Don’t forget to factor in the attitude that Blind FAITH always trumps Reality when it comes to religious legend. All too often the more impossible it becomes the more It Has To Be Absloute TRVTH. This removes any chance of a Reality Check from the legendary claims.

    And I’m more and more convinced that a lot of Christian Apologists are more into convincing themselves It Is True than they are of convincing anyone else. Self-medication/self-treatment for lingering doubt that cannot be admitted.

    Like

  16. Rabid Fundamentalism is a state of mind and being that can attach itself to ANY belief system.

    When Ehrman flipped from Evangelical to Atheist, he just took his Rabid Fundy attitude with him to his New One True Way.

    Like

  17. Robert at 10:15,

    People in the ancient world understood about that, and about forgery (and also “legitimate” writing under a notable person’s name). That’s why they trusted oral testimony over written record. The Romans kept a lot of written records – they had an established bureaucratic method – but in order to establish fact even they relied on testimony primarily. That’s why the witnesses to the Resurrection were taken seriously – and then their testimony was either accepted or rejected.

    Dana

    Like

  18. Yes. I do more clearly see the kingdom and it’s glory when getting out of myself and doing for others. God always seems nearer, more visible.

    Like

  19. Let’s put it this way – if a legend does grow quickly, especially in the face of fierce opposition, that would indicate there’s a strong basis of truth behind it, yes? It’s not an ironclad argument, but overall stonger than the “it was all hype” argument IMHO.

    Like

  20. I think what helps breech that ‘gap’, Chris, may be something in how we are ‘replenished’ by our own acts of loving-kindness to others, the old ‘paradox’ of the faith, as in:

    ” . . . For it is in giving that we receive;
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned . . . ”

    we do not understand the immense power behind this paradox, only that we can experience it’s effect on us in praxis

    Like

  21. –> “There is a gap between Jesus’ authority, exhibited by his behavior, and ours.”

    You know what the key to that is? Obedience. If one is going to be perfectly obedient to the will of the Father, as Jesus was, then the Father will give them perfect authority. Heck, as everything went “haywire” for him, Jesus even said he had the authority to send TWELVE LEGIONS OF ANGELS to take care of business, but that wasn’t the will of the Father.

    There are two issues for us that Jesus seemed to navigate rather well: 1) Our fleshly desires; and 2) Knowing God’s will.

    This is why we will never be given “perfect” authority.

    Like

  22. Eggs, toast, two glasses of water for breakfast, now reading iMonk and soon to begin writing more of my first draft of a fantasy novel.

    Like

  23. The myth-making process gets little enough attention as it is. Why do myths/legends end up as they do? Why are we so obsessed with ‘videocamera’ reality? Why do we tend to privilege it as the ‘real story’? Everything that happens is gone quickly enough, leaving little trace except in peoples’ memories.

    Demanding the ‘real story’ is what turns people into fundamentalists of either stripe, rather than letting the waters of the legend-making process flow over the stones until the edges are worn away.

    Mike Spencer was on the verge of asking some of these questions when he was so untimely taken from us.

    Like

  24. Given how quickly religious legend grows, I think the alternatives the liar, lunatic, or Lord are not exhaustive. It may not be dishonest to say they are the only reasonable alternatives, but it is certainly mistaken.

    Like

  25. Of course, it’s possible that some or all of the miracle stories around the Indian gurus are not legendary, but factual; but in that case, what makes the stories about Jesus’ miracles so unique or special?

    Like

  26. On the other hand, you had a government that was more interested in keeping some miltech secret than debunking the growing legend. And aliens visiting from other planets is far less far fetched scientifically speaking than some executed criminal coming back from the dead.

    Like

  27. This has always happened and still happens in India, with legendary miracle-working stories rapidly growing around gurus in a matter of a few years, and quickly developing into mass followings of millions of devotees.

    Like

  28. In ancient times, with far less means of fact-checking and historical verification than today, a legend could grow in a short time out of just the testimony of a few people who sounded convincing and sincere. Especially a religious legend.

    Like

  29. The legend of a Roswell UFO crash came into being in far less than a single lifetime. It started developing dramatically in a few decades from the date (1947) of the supposed event. At this point, it is thriving.

    Like

  30. And one warning about Ehrman – he was a rabid Evangelical who flipped and became a rabid atheist. People who flip from one extreme to the opposite aren’t typically the best critics of either the position they left or the position they arrive at. They’re more interested in Certainty than truth.

    Like

  31. As I compile Michael Spencer’s writings, I filter it down to about half of the original content, largely for the purposes of keeping to a primary point, flow, and trying to keep the balance between formal writing and interesting anecdotes. You reference one section “Liar, Lunatic, or Lord” where I had serious internal questions whether to include it or not, primarily because I knew it didn’t originate with Michael Spencer. But, it did fit with flow and points that he was making.

    As to you calling this train of thought “dishonest”, and that “there is a fourth possibility: ‘legend'”: Mark’s source, as best as we know, was the Apostle Peter. So, the best analogy I can come up with is a reporter to interviews a witness on our daily news as to what happened. We call that news, not legend, when you have a direct witness to the events, and it is committed to writing so soon after the events take place. I would quite frankly call that fourth characterization dishonest.

    Like

  32. Hi Jon,

    Please email the address listed if you are interested in being contacted when the book is available.

    Mike

    Like

  33. There is a gap between Jesus’ authority, exhibited by his behavior, and ours. Sometimes that seems to me a painful reality and sometimes more of a curious one depending on my mindset at the time. Are we bad at being disciples of him? Is Benny Hinn the best we have to hope for as an illustration of this authority to heal? God forbid! We seem weak and utterly ineffective compared to Jesus. Is that because we only use ten percent of our spiritual brain, so to speak? Are we leaving too much on the table because we are ill-informed, unable or unwilling? That is certainly a possibility and a painful one to consider. That would cause the Spirit to groan until we attain the “fullness of Christ”. The other thought is more curios than painful: perhaps we are living in an era when these things are not common. Another possibility is that there are a substantial number of these things around a large planet that I just don’t know about. Aside from the miracles though, the authority with which our teacher acted seems a rare phenomenon in our day. It’s a different day and time but reconciling these things sometimes gives me pause.

    Like

  34. As far as paperback or kindle, I prefer reading from a physical copy rather than a screen, but I know a lot of people like the convenience of electronic devices.

    Like

  35. I enjoyed it. I found particularly interesting what he had to say about being in a community of faith, given that this blog is about the evangelical wilderness and struggling to find such a community. I also see many in my area who have quit being part of a church even though they are not in an evangelical wilderness due to changing theology or any particular reason other than they just don’t think it is important. People can and have debated the various reasons for this, but what Michael said here is really important. There is no notion in the New Testament of being a follower of Christ without being in the community of Christ. If you have lost that community you should be seeking it. If you have left your church for whatever reason, you should be seeking another. Don’t let perfection get in the way of the good. It might just be you and ten other people, but we need that community. Many conservative evangelicals, and I am one, have lost the notion of what church is and should be, and don’t realize it is meant to be a family of believers to love another, encourage one another, disciple one another, forgive one another, welcome one another, bear with one another, pray for one another, build up one another, all in the name of Christ. It has hurt us, it has hurt the cause of Christ, and we really need to recover a right understanding of church.

    Like

  36. Got up early and fed and walked the dog so my wife could catch up with her sleep. Now I am administering the demanded belly rub and typing one-handed.

    Like

  37. By Christ, we have the forgiveness of our sins.

    For Christ’s sake, we receive mercy from God the Father.

    Through Christ, we bring forgiveness and mercy to a sinful world.

    Like

  38. “…but who can demonstrate the integrity of such a claim by healing a paralyzed man on the spot?”

    There he goes again, assuming this stuff really happened. The “Liar, Lunatic, or Lord” trilemma is dishonest. As Bart Ehrmann points out, there is a fourth possibility: “legend.”

    But okay, fine, let’s suppose that it did happen. That would make Jesus as holy as Robert Tilton. Faith healings happen all over the world, in every religion. That doesn’t mean they’re not flim-flam.

    Like

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