Although we can forgive acts done against us, our forgiveness is incomplete; we cannot forgive the perpetrator for violating God’s law. This is beyond our capacity and is God’s ability alone to do. However, in Mark 2:5 Jesus claimed the authority to forgive sin. Why did Jesus do this, and what does this show about his identity?
To prove he had the authority to forgive sins, Jesus performed the miracle of physically healing a paralyzed man. The dilemma faced by the teachers of the law was clear: If Jesus did not have the authority to forgive sins, then how could he heal others? In other words, Jesus’ miracles obviously had a divine source that lent credibility to his entire mission and claims of authority. The sticky point was this: If, as the teachers knew, only God can forgive sins, then that meant Jesus was indeed the Son of God, just as he claimed. Some, like Jesus’ disciples and other followers, accepted this; however, even in the face of such overwhelming evidence, others rejected Jesus’ claim.
Jesus’ claim to forgive sin was difficult to prove through observation. How can outsiders really tell whether or not a person is forgiven? However, through his undeniable physical miracles, Jesus proved that he came from God, and he provided overwhelming outward evidence (the healing of the paralytic) of the invisible miracle (forgiveness of sins).