Jesus' Authority To Forgive Sins
Resuming our discussion from the first part, there are certain Muslims who are of the opinion that Jesus didnt claim to have the ability to forgive sins. Rather, they believe that Jesus was communicating what God had told him to say, that Jesus was simply declaring to people that God has forgiven their sins. They base this on the text of Matthew 9 which says in context:
"And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven. And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, This man is blaspheming. But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, Why do you think evil IN YOUR HEARTS? For which is easier, to say, "Your sins are forgiven," or to say, "Rise and walk"? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins -- he then said to the paralytic Rise, take up your bed and go home. And he rose and went home." Matthew 9:1-7
Here, the Lord Jesus carries out three specific functions which only God does according to the OT Scriptures, namely,
"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." Psalm 103:2-5
"I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins." Isaiah 43:25
"Who is a God like thee, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger for ever because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion upon us, he will tread our iniquities under foot." Micah 7:18-19
"then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and render to each whose heart thou knowest, according to all his ways (for thou, thou ONLY, knowest the hearts of all the children of men);" 1 Kings 8:39
This would seem to be sufficient to establish the fact that Jesus was indeed claiming to be God since he does what Yahweh alone can do.
Yet the Muslims believe that such is not the case due to the reaction of the crowds who said,
"When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men." Matthew 9:8
The Muslims have assumed that the assessment by the crowds is correct, as opposed to the position taken by the scribes of the Law. Let us note, once again, how those who knew the Law reacted:
"At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, This fellow is blaspheming!" Matthew 9:3
The accusation of blasphemy by the religious leaders conclusively shows that Jesus was ascribing to himself divine prerogatives belonging to God alone.
Since Jesus claims raised conflicting responses we need to therefore read this passage within the context of the entirety of Matthew in order to see whether the Evangelist sought to portray Christ as God in the flesh or as a Spirit-empowered prophet. In other words, we need to read Matthews Gospel to discover Matthews perspective of Jesus.
Here is how Matthew begins his Gospel:
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE from their sins. All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel (which means, God with us [Meth hemon ho Theos])." Matthew 1:18-23
According to the angel, Joseph was to give the child the name Jesus because he will save his own people from their sins. An English reader may not see the significance in the name and how this relates to his role as Savior. The name Jesus in Hebrew is Yashua/Yeshua and literally means "Yahweh saves":
18 sn The Greek form of the name Ihsous, which was translated into Latin as Jesus, is the same as the Hebrew Yeshua (Joshua), which means "Yahweh saves" (Yahweh is typically rendered as "Lord" in the OT). It was a fairly common name among Jews in 1st century Palestine, as references to a number of people by this name in the LXX and Josephus indicate. (Source)
What this demonstrates is that Jesus is Yahweh who has come to redeem people from their iniquities, doing the very thing that the OT says God does for his people Israel:
"If thou, O LORD, shouldst mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities." Psalm 130:3-4, 7-8
This isnt the only place where Jesus forgives sins committed against God:
"One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house, and took his place at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said to him, Simon, I have something to say to you. And he answered, What is it, Teacher? A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more? Simon answered, The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave more. And he said to him, You have judged rightly. Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave ME no water for my feet, but she has wet MY feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave ME no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss MY feet. You did not anoint MY head with oil, but she has anointed MY feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little. And he said to her, Your sins are forgiven. Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, Who is this, who even forgives sins? And he said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go in peace." Luke 7:36-50
According to Jesus, he forgives the womans offenses against God because she had shown Christ great love. Thus, to love Jesus is to love God since he happens to be God, which explains how he can forgive sins.
Christ also told his followers that repentance and forgiveness of sins come by believing in his name:
"Then he said to them, ‘These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.’" Luke 24:44-49
This explains why his Apostles went around preaching that Jesus is the One who enables Israel to repent and personally forgives the nation of their sins:
"God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you in turning every one of you from your wickedness." Acts 3:26
"But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’" Acts 5:29-32
"And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles -- to whom I send you to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’" Acts 26:15-18
With the foregoing in perspective Matthew (as do the other writers) obviously believes that Jesus does have the ability to forgive sins since he has come to personally save his own from their iniquities. In other words, Jesus doesnt merely pronounce pardon from sins but actually grants forgiveness by saving sinners through his death and subsequent resurrection:
"even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28
"Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Matthew 26:26-28
Matthew also calls Jesus Immanuel, which he interprets to mean that Jesus is the God who has come to dwell with his people. In fact, Matthew will end his Gospel with this very affirmation, e.g. the God who came to be with man through the virgin birth is the same One who promises that his spiritual Divine presence will continue to abide with his community forever.
"And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always (ego meth humon eimi), to the close of the age." Matthew 28:18-20
This connection is not lost on the NET Bible translators:
30 sn I am with you. Matthew's Gospel begins with the prophecy that the Savior's name would be "Emmanuel, that is, 'God with us,'" (1:23, in which the author has linked Isa 7:14 and 8:8, 10 together) and it ends with Jesus' promise to be with his disciples forever. The Gospel of Matthew thus forms an inclusio about Jesus in his relationship to his people that suggests his deity. (Source; underline emphasis ours)
This isnt the only time where Christ claims to have the Divine prerogative of omnipresence:
"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20
Nor is this the only time where Jesus is accused of blasphemy for ascribing to his own Person specific Divine functions and attributes:
"And the high priest stood up and said, Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you? But Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him, I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said to him, You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest tore his robes, and said, He has uttered blasphemy. Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment? They answered, He deserves death." Matthew 26:62-66
In response to the high priests question Jesus says that he is the Son of Man who rides the clouds. His referring to himself as the Son of Man is interesting since Christ is alluding to the following OT passage:
"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." Daniel 7:13-14
Daniels Son of Man is clearly a Divine figure that has the appearance of a man since he rides the clouds, a Divine function (cf. Isaiah 19:1), and is an eternal king who is worshiped by all creation.
Hence, by speaking of himself as the Son of Man Jesus was basically telling his opponents that he is a Divine Being who had become man, the One who rules forever over all peoples who must worship him. Nor is this the only time where Jesus identifies himself as the Son of Man, since he did it in Matthew 9 when he says he has the power to forgive sins and in the following references:
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out HIS angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather HIS elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Matthew 24:29-31
"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee? And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me. Then he will say to those at his left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then they also will answer, Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee? Then he will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me. And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:31-46
Christ as the Son of Man comes with his angels, sits on the throne, and gathers the nations before him in order to determine their eternal destiny. To say that these statements are astonishing would be a wild understatement!
As if this couldnt get any more shocking and amazing, Jesus also tells his accusers that he will sit on Gods right hand, a statement he repeats earlier that week during one of his visits to the Temple:
"Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he? They said to him, The son of David. He said to them, How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him [Christ] Lord, saying, "The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under thy feet"? If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son? And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did any one dare to ask him any more questions." Matthew 22:41-46
Jesus quotes Psalm 110:1 where David refers to the Messiah as his Lord who sits at Yahwehs right hand. To say that One is seated at Gods right side in heaven (which is what Jesus is referring to) is to say that One is ruling from the highest position there is, from Gods heavenly throne room itself, which would be blasphemous if it were untrue. It is therefore not surprising that the high priest and the rest condemned Jesus for blasphemy seeing they didnt believe his words.
With the foregoing in perspective it is obvious that Matthews intention in writing his Gospel (by inspiration of God, of course) was to present Christ as the visible appearance and presence of God who has come and continues to be with all his people till the end of the age. In light of this, it is rather apparent that the scribes correctly understood that Jesus was claiming to have the ability to forgive sins committed against God, whereas the people were wrong for assuming that such ability was given to men in general. Where the teachers of the law were mistaken was in their assumption that Jesus was blaspheming since they erroneously felt that Christ was merely a man and not God who had become flesh.
It is not hard to see why the others felt that Jesus power to forgive sins indicated that God had now given men this authority to proclaim forgiveness. They were seeing a man standing before their eyes who had just performed a supernatural feat, healing a paralytic, to prove that he could take away a persons sins. They couldnt deny the miracle, since they just witnessed it, and therefore couldnt contest Jesus statements that he had forgiven the paralytic. Yet seeing that Jesus was a human being it never dawned on them that the One standing before them was God in the flesh, which explains why they came to their conclusion.
A Muslim may interject at this point and claim that Matthew 26:64 doesnt quote Jesus saying that he is Gods Son. Rather, it has Jesus stating that this is what his enemies were accusing him of.
The confusion here stems from the word, "You have said so," which the Muslim erroneously assumes is a denial on the part of Christ, that Jesus wasnt committing himself to such an assertion. The problem here is that this is not what the phrase implies, but rather Jesus words simply mean that his own accusers are giving tacit witness to who he is by asking him such a question. This is reflected in the following translation:
" The high priest said to him, I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God. Yes, it is as you say, Jesus replied " Matthew 26:63b-64a NIV
His opponents themselves understood that Jesus wasnt denying this charge since, while hanging on the cross, the onlookers jeered him for claiming to be Gods Son:
"And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross. So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; FOR HE SAID, I am the Son of God." Matthew 27:39-43
As the late liberal NT Catholic Scholar Raymond E. Brown commented,
"In Matt Jesus answers the high priest's combined question about the Messiah, Son of God thus: 'That is what you say.' This is an affirmative, but one that puts responsibility on the questioner for the interpretation being given to the point at issue - an interpretation about which the speaker is not enthusiastic. If one seeks on the level of the story-line why the Matthean Jesus would have been so enthusiastic when Peter used these combined titles but is now much more cautious when the high priest uses them, the solution is that Peter used them as a confession uttered under divine revelation while the high priest uses them as a disbelieving question to find evidence against Jesus." (Brown, Introduction to New Testament Christology [Paulist Press New York/Mahwah, 1994], pp. 76-77; bold emphasis ours)
Browns footnote is worth quoting here:
"A few scholars try to argue to the contrary; but later in clear dependence on Jesus' having made such an affirmation, the passerby mock him as he hangs on the cross, If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross (Matt 27:40). Indeed, in their mockery the chief priests and the elders report, "He said, I am the Son of God" (27:43) " (Ibid; bold emphasis ours)
Matthew provides further corroboration that Jesus did believe and claim that he is Gods Son. For example, Jesus contrasts the relationship he has with the Father from the relationship that the prophets have with God:
"Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, They will respect my son. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance. And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him." Matthew 21:33-39
In the parable the servants are the prophets,
"From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day;" Jeremiah 7:25 cf. 26:5; 44:4
Whereas Christ is Gods Son and the Heir, the One to whom the Father has entrusted all things, a point which the Lord made elsewhere:
"All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:27-30
Not only does the Lord Jesus state that the Father has entrusted all things to him but also believes that he has an intimate, reciprocal knowledge of God, which presupposes both his incomprehensibility and his omniscience. After all, one who is finite cannot know God in the same way that s/he is known by God; nor can a limited being assert s/he can only be known by God since this implies that the individual in question believes that s/he is incomprehensible, which thereby requires an infinite mind or omniscient entity to fully know and understand that person. Amazingly, this is precisely what the Lord Jesus says about his own Person and his intimate knowledge of the incomprehensible God.
Moreover, the Father has further ordained that all must come to Christ personally in order to experience the peace and rest which Christ alone can give. But in order for Jesus to be able to grant rest to everyone who comes to him by faith he must have all of Gods omni-attributes, e.g. omniscience since he must know who is coming to him, as well as omnipresence and omnipotence since he must be able to be with all who believe in him at the same time in order to give all of them rest.
Jesus further links himself with the Father and the Holy Spirit as a bearer of the one Divine name of God:
"And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the NAME of the Father and OF THE SON and of the Holy Spirit," Matthew 28:18-19
Three distinct Persons all of whom have the same Divine name or nature, essence, authority etc.
The Father himself bears witness that Jesus is his beloved Son with whom he is always pleased:
"And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:16-17
"And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Eli'jah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah. He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." Matthew 17:1-5
The Father also revealed this truth to Peter who went on to make the following confession:
"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, Who do people say the Son of Man is? They replied, Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. But what about you? he asked. Who do you say I am? Simon Peter answered, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus replied, Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ." Matthew 16:13-20
Peter wasnt the only disciple to confess that Jesus is Gods Son:
"After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. It's a ghost, they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: Take courage! I AM (ego eimi). Don't be afraid. Lord, if its you, Peter replied, tell me to come to you on the water. Come, he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, Lord, save me! Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. You of little faith, he said, why did you doubt? And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, Truly you are the Son of God." Matthew 14:23-33
It is rather interesting that this confession of the disciples was made in reference to Jesus claiming to be the I AM in the context of his walking on water and for enabling Peter to do likewise. In another passage Jesus calms the waves and the storms:
"And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, Save, Lord; we are perishing. And he said to them, Why are you afraid, O men of little faith? Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?" Matthew 8:23b-27
The reason why this is astonishing is that Christ is doing the very things that the OT says only Yahweh can do:
"But how can a man be just before God? If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times. He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength -- who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded? -- he who removes mountains, and they know it not, when he overturns them in his anger; who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars; who alone stretched out the heavens, and trampled the waves of the sea; who made the Bear and Orion, the Plei'ades and the chambers of the south; who does great things beyond understanding, and marvelous things without number." Job 9:2b-10
"And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy! Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep. For he commanded, and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; they reeled and staggered like drunken men, and were at their wits' end. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress; he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to the sons of men! Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders." Psalm 107:22-32
In light of the above is it any wonder that the disciples worshiped Jesus since they could see that he was doing that which only God can do?
For more on this point we recommend this article.
It is therefore apparent that Jesus response wasnt a denial of his Divinity, but an acknowledgment that even his opponents provided implicit witness to the fact that he is Gods unique Son.
All Scriptural quotations taken from the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Holy Bible.
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