Luke 5:17-26 – Your Sins Are Forgiven

A Study Luke 5:17-26

Seeing their faith, he said to him, “Man, your sins are
forgiven you.”
Luke 5:20

Unless otherwise noted, all quotations from the Holy Bible are from the World English bible
translation
(divine name supplied in the New Testament where appropriate,
placed in brackets [ .. ]).


“It happened on one of those days, that he was teaching; and there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every village of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. The power of [Yahweh] was with him to heal them.” (Luke 5:17) The statement of verse 17 shows the rapidly growing influence of our Lord even at this early stage of his ministry. From the wilderness scene of temptation and victory he had gone into Galilee filled with the power of the holy spirit, and his fame had gone out through all that region. He had taught in their synagogues and been glorified of all. He had come down to Capernaum, and the people were astonished at his doctrine, for his word was with power. He had healed the sick and the lepers, and had cast out devils, and the multitudes thronged about him continually. And so great was the attention which his teaching and his works attracted that Pharisees and doctors of the law came out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem to hear and to see. — Luke 4:14-16,22.

We note also that Luke attributes the source of Jesus’ power to the God of Jesus. The power of the Yahweh was in him. This agrees with what Peter later stated, that “God anointed him with Holy Spirit and with power,” so that Jesus “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (Acts 2:38) Thus these scriptures attribute the source of Jesus’ power to the God of Jesus, so that the multitudes “marveled and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.” — Matthew 9:8; see also Romans 15:6.

We next notice the great faith that so perseveringly brought the palsied patient to the attention of the Great Physician. Being unable to reach Jesus through the crowds that continually thronged about him, so great was their faith in his healing power that they removed a portion of the tiling from the roof, and, with his couch, let him down over the heads of the people. This persevering, trusting faith in Christ speedily received its reward — the forgiveness of sins and healing.

We notice that the forgiveness of sins was the first blessing — “Seeing their faith [the faith of the sick man and those interested in him], he said to him, ‘Man, your sins are forgiven you.'” This evidently was an unlooked for answer. The previous miracles of healing doubtless led all to expect a similar manifestation of healing power; but as yet it was not manifest.  There lay the sufferer before them all while the people pondered this claim of the man of Nazareth to have power on earth to forgive sins, probably while the Lord was proceeding with his discourse, not allowing this incident to interrupt it entirely. But there were some whisperings among the scribes and Pharisees present, who said, This is blasphemy. Who can forgive sins but God alone?  (Luke 5:21) Though their murmuring words did not reach the ear of the Lord, he perceived their thoughts. Our Lord did possess the power, as given to him by his God, to know what others were thinking. However, it is possible that their cynical faces doubtless told the tale of their scorn and unbelief; and their influence upon the people who looked to them as leaders and teachers was also manifest. Has this man indeed power to forgive sins? has he authority from God to this effect? is he indeed the Messiah, the sent of God? — these were the questions revolving in the minds of the people. And it was to awaken these thoughts that the Lord had said it. His words implied the claim of Messiahship.

In a sense it is true that none could forgive sins but God alone, except as his
anointed and authorized agent and representative, and in his appointed way.  The divinely appointed way for the cancellation of sins was by means of the ransom as the legal settlement of the penalty, and faith in Christ the Redeemer.  — Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6.

The faith of this man and his friends in the one sent by God and his claims had been put to the test and manifested, and though the ransom price had not yet been actually given, the Lamb for sacrifice had already been presented by our Lord at his baptism, and had been accepted of God and was considered as on the altar of sacrifice. And therefore, in view of the completion of consuming and acceptableness to God of that sacrifice, and its ultimate presentation by Jesus to God in heaven, Jesus, perceiving their faith, could then say, “Your sins are forgiven.” We observe that the healing did not follow as a result of the forgiveness of sins. The forgiveness of sins was one thing, and the healing was another; and Luke’s words as recorded in Luke 5:17 lets us know that the same divine authority that was necessary to the forgiveness of sins was also necessary to the healing; and that if the forgiveness of sins was blasphemy, so also was the healing. From what they had seen, they must all admit his power, and consequently also his authority, to heal, and that the authority and power must be from the God and Father of Jesus. And this power and authority they must therefore recognize as the divine testimony of his claims to be the Son of God and the Messiah of Israel. Thus, Jesus asked: “Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you;’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk?'” (Luke 5:23), for the same authority and power are necessary to both. “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (he said to the paralyzed man), ‘I tell you, arise, and take up your cot, and go to your house.’ Immediately he rose up before them, and took up that which he was laying on, and departed to his house, glorifying God.” (Luke 5:24,25) We note that the paralyzed man did not give the glory to Jesus, but rather to the God and Father of Jesus. The account continues: “Amazement took hold on all, and they glorified God. They were filled with fear, saying, ‘We have seen strange things today.'” (Luke 5:26) Again, the glory was given to the God and Father of Jesus, not directly to Jesus, who was the instrument being used by Yahweh.

Thus our Lord called attention to his miracles of healing as the divine testimonials of his claims to be the Son of God and the long-looked-for Messiah of Israel — the Anointed of Yahweh, to whom was intrusted the great work of taking away the sin of the world, and subsequently of healing men of all their infirmities, these all being part of the wages of sin. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” said John (John 1:29); and Jesus endorsed that statement by his subsequent claim to have power on earth to forgive sins. And the Father also endorsed his claim by granting him the power to do many wonderful works in the sight of all the people.

While the forgiveness of sins is an assurance that the healing, or removal of the penalty of sin, will surely follow, as the palsied man doubtless considered it and waited for the healing, it does not signify that the recovery from the penalty will immediately follow. The Gospel Church, for instance, receives the forgiveness of sins in this Gospel age; but not until the dawning of the Millennium will she be actually delivered from sickness in the flesh. If this were not so, then we should expect that the believer would be so completely healed in the flesh that the flesh would live forever. The development of the inward man however continues, however, while the outward man, the sinful flesh, continue to decay until it is dead. (2 Corinthians 4:16) Thus the believer should not expect full physical healing from sickness and death in this age. It is not God’s will for the church to fully healed physically, for the church is being called to suffer with Christ, not to be without sickness in the flesh. (Romans 8:17; Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 3:12) But in due time the power that accomplishes the one will accomplish the other also; and by and by those miracles of grace which brought health and gladness to so many in Israel, and which attracted the attention and were the astonishment of that whole nation, will be totally eclipsed by the wonder-working power and authority of this same Jesus exalted to power and dominion over the whole earth as the mighty Prince of peace, who, having in the days of his flesh redeemed the world by the sacrifice of himself, comes again to heal all their infirmities and to restore them to the fulness of divine favor in which is eternal life and peace.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus! (2 Corinthians 1:3) It is as easy to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” as to say, Rise up and walk, and vice versa; for both the authority and the power are committed unto Jehovah’s Anointed, in whom is all our hope and all our trust. It will be observed that all the healings performed by our Lord were both instantaneous and complete, showing the fullness of his authority and power, and they included the worst forms of disease — leprosy, paralysis, blindness from birth, and even awakenings from death. In all these respects they differed from the healings we hear of today, many of which are somewhat remarkable; and when the agents and agencies employed are not in opposition to Jehovah and his truth, we are justified in accepting them as slight intimations to men of the times of restoration, when all nations will be raised from the dead and healed, when no will say, I am sick, and there will be no more dying. — Isaiah 33:24; John 5:28,29; Revelation 21:1-4; 22:2.

Other manifestations of healing power through agencies in subtle opposition to Jehovah and his Word of truth, such, for instance, as Christian Science, so called, Scientology, and even many faith healers who perform miracles in Jesus’ name (Matthew 7:22), we can only regard as the efforts of Satan to offset the power of God, which is now occasionally and partially manifested as a mere intimation of coming blessings to lead men gradually to expect their fulness.

Some place scriptures such as Psalm 103:2,3 together with Luke 5:20, in an endeavor to prove that since Jesus forgives sins, then Jesus must be Yahweh.

Mark 2:7 shows that the Jewish leaders wanted to use Jesus’ statement to claim that he committed blasphemy, stating: “Why does this man speak blasphemies like that? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” However, what did Jesus say? Did he say, “Don’t you know that I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and thus I can forgive sins?” Did Jesus claim to be Jehovah (Yahweh)?

Here is what the scriptures say:

Mark 2:8 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you reason these things in your hearts?

Mark 2:99 Which is easier, to tell the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven;’ or to say, ‘Arise, and take up your bed, and walk?’

Mark 2:10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he said to the paralytic –Jesus claimed “authority” on earth to forgive sins. He did not claim that he was his God, Jehovah, who sent him.

The only place in this narrative where one might read into the text that Jesus was claiming to be his God is the expression that only God can forgive sins , as in Mark 2:7 and Luke 5:21. But whose claim was this? Was this Jesus’ claim? No, rather it was the claim of  those who Jesus described as the offspring of vipers, lying, deceived and deceiving, hypocrites (Matthew 3:7; 6:2-8,16-18; 12:31; 15:1-9; 16:1-12; 21:33-46; 23:2-33; Luke 11:14-54; 12:1; 15:1-19; John 8:38,41,44), the Jewish religious leaders state. It was these proclaimed: “Why does this man speak blasphemies like that? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7) “Who is this that speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (Luke 5:21) By raising the question concerning blasphemy, these religious leaders were falsely claiming Jesus was guilty of blasphemy. Likewise, by raising the question that leaves the thought only God can forgive sins, it falsely leaves the impression that God could not give authority to His son to forgive sins.  Regardless, trying to  read into these two questions that Jesus is his God is basing such an idea on a false authority, that is, the lying Jewish leaders.  This is not a very good authority to base this idea on. Nevertheless, in a sense it is true,that only God can forgive sins, in that he forgive sins through any agency that he might desire to do so.  But Matthew records:

Matthew 9:3 Behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man blasphemes.”
Matthew 9:4 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?

Matthew 9:5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven;’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk?’
Matthew 9:6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” (then he said to the paralytic), “Get up, and take up your mat, and go up to your house.”
Matthew 9:7 He arose and departed to his house.
Matthew 9:8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such authority to men. — italics added for emphasis.

Matthew tells us plainly that it is God who had given such authority to men. Nothing in any of this suggests that Jesus was/is his God, Jehovah (Yahweh), who sent him.

“Praise Yahweh! Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good, For his lovingkindness endures forever.” (Psalm 107:15, World English Bible translation) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3, World English Bible translation)

Much of the above has been adapted from R1921

Exodus 2:23-25; 35:1-11 – Yahweh Sends Moses

Key Verse: Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt. — Exodus 3:10.

Background Reading:

Exodus 2:23 It happened in the course of those many days, that the king of Egypt died, and the children of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up to God because of the bondage.
Exodus 2:24 God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
Exodus 2:25 God saw the children of Israel, and God was concerned about them.

Exodus 3:1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to God’s mountain, to Horeb.
Exodus 3:2 The angel of Yahweh appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
Exodus 3:3 Moses said, I will turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
Exodus 3:4 When Yahweh saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the bush, and said, “Moses! Moses!” He said, “Here I am.”
Exodus 3:5 He said, “Don’t come close. Take off your sandals from off your feet, for the place you are standing on is holy ground.”
Exodus 3:6 Moreover he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look at God.

Exodus 3:7 Yahweh said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.
Exodus 3:8 I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey; to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
Exodus 3:9 Now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to me. Moreover I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.
Exodus 3:10 Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

Exodus 3:11 Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
Exodus 3:12 He said, “Certainly I will be with you. This will be the token to you, that I have sent you: when you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

UNDOUBTEDLY God’s providences had to do with the general character of Moses, even before his birth, as well as with his educational training for the great work he was intended to perform. Nevertheless we see it would be quite contrary to all divine usages for the Almighty to have coerced his free moral agency. The natural trend of character being developed, it was necessary for Moses himself to decide respecting its use. The central feature of this lesson is that, with all the preparation and all the fitness of the man Moses for the great work of delivering Israel from Egypt, the secret of his success lay in the fact that Yahweh was with him — Yahweh was the Deliverer, Savior, of Israel; Moses was merely his servant and representative in connection with the work, as the Yahweh himself declared: “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” — Exodus 20:2.

LONG YEARS IN PREPARATION

(2) When we consider the eighty years of Moses’ life, in which he was in preparation for the great work of Yahweh, it helps us to appreciate better the fact that our God is never in haste — “Known from the ages to God are all His works.” (Acts 15:18, Young’s Literal)  He has no need for haste; He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), and every feature of the divine plan is properly timed. (Daniel 8:19; 11:27,29,35; Habakkuk 2:3; Acts 17:31; Romans 5:6; Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:10; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; Titus 1:3) Thus 4000 years and more passed before Jesus was born, and yet the Scriptures assure us that it was in due time that God sent forth his Son, born of a woman. (Galatians 4:4) This thought should give us great confidence in the certainty of the development of Yahweh’s plans at the proper time. He is not a human being (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Job 9:32) that he should err in judgment (Deuteronomy 32:4; Isaiah 28:7); he is working all things according to the counsel of his own will. (Ephesians 1:11) In this thought all his true people may rest in confidence (Psalm 9:10; 20:7; 37:5); whether matters seem to culminate rapidly or slowly, each feature will be in its “due time.” (Habakkuk 2:3; 1 Peter 5:6) Although so much time was consumed in preparation for the deliverance of Israel, yet when the appropriate hour was come, in that one morning the whole nation started to move. Let us all learn the lesson more and more to wait on Yahweh, and then to be ready to move promptly when He indicates that His appointed time has arrived.

EIGHTY YEARS OF SCHOOLING

(3) The life of Moses is divided into three parts of equal length. The first forty years brought him to ripe manhood and made him familiar with all the learning of the Egyptians. The second forty years began when he fled after killing the Egyptian and had found that his brethren were not prepared for deliverance nor willing to accept his assistance as their friend and brother, and ended when he returned to Israel, under the divine direction, and successfully led them forth from Egypt. The third forty-year period of his life, beginning with the exodus, terminated with his death at the end of the forty years in the wilderness, just as the people of Israel were about to cross over into Canaan. The period of Moses’ life from forty to eighty years of age was spent as a shepherd in the service of his father-in-law Jethro, otherwise called Ruel. We may be sure that in that long period of time this meek man, who was ready to do with his might whatever his hands found to do, had large opportunities for learning lessons of patience.

(4) Doubtless like David, the shepherd, Moses learned to think of the sheep and his care over them, and to consider God the great Shepherd of his flock, and probably often wondered why, after giving the gracious promise to Abraham, God had left his flock, the children of Abraham, in apparently hopeless bondage. Doubtless, too, he thought of his own endeavor to help the people, and how they had shown such a spirit of discord as made it impossible for him to aid  them as he would. Possibly, he had thought many times of how it would have advantaged his own earthly interests had he followed the course marked out for him by his foster-mother, Pharaoh’s daughter, and remained a member of the royal family of Egypt and a sharer in the honor and dignity of those who oppressed his people. Likewise, he could have thought of how he had apparently blighted his entire life and spoiled all of his earthly prospects by his desire to do good to his brethren — his desire to serve their best interests. He further could have thought of their ingratitude and failure to appreciate him, their resentment of his kindly-meant assistance, saying, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us?” — Exodus 2:14.

(5) Probably in the mind of Moses the matter resolved itself in the thought that he had done his duty, the best he knew how to do, although the entire matter had resulted in failure; and it is probable he was more or less despondent respecting the future, as a meek, humble-minded man would be apt to feel. Meantime under Yahweh’s providence he went here and there with his flocks and herds to the very land in which later on he was to lead the people of Israel. In those forty years he must have become very familiar with the vicinity of Sinai and lower Palestine. Little did he know the value of the teachings he was then learning. The lesson in all this for us is faithfulness to God and to duty as he gives us to see it, leaving all the results with him. Another lesson is that present experiences, trials and difficulties may be fitting and preparing us for a future useful service for Yahweh and his people, even though at the time we see no relationship or connection between the two.

THE BURNING BUSH

(6) Here our lesson opens, showing Moses at eighty years of age shepherding his flock on the rearward side of Mount Horeb, called Mount Sinai, where subsequently the law was given. As Moses looked, behold a bush burned near him, supposedly a thorn-bush, which sometimes grows to quite a height and quite a thickness in that country, and is known as shittim wood — the kind of wood used in the construction of the Tabernacle. As Moses looked at the flame he perceived that the bush was not consumed, and considering this a most remarkable phenomenon he turned aside and drew near to it to observe the matter. It was then that Yahweh spoke to him from the midst of the burning bush, and Moses at once knew that what he had witnessed was a miracle by which Yahweh would attract his attention with a view to communicating some important lesson.

(7) God usually has a symbolical meaning in every miracle, and in this one the representation is supposed to be Israel in the midst of tribulation, yet not consumed. Later on, in “Reformation” times, the Church of Scotland appropriated this burning bush as its emblem on its banner, because its experience had been similar in that it had passed through severe afflictions and distresses and trials, yet had not been consumed. And is not the burning bush a good illustration of the experience of Christ and all of his members? Are they not indeed surrounded by fiery trials? and do they not emerge from these unscathed, uninjured? — on the contrary, blessed, developed, strengthened, made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light?

(8) Well do the Scriptures declare that the fear, reverence, of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom. (Psalm 110:10; Proverbs 9:10; 15:33) We greatly deplore the growth of irreverence in our day, and urge upon all of our readers for themselves and for their families the cultivation of this proper attitude of mind, so helpful to our preparation for the life that now is and that which is to come. Liberty and independence, while excellent qualities, are always to be valued and conserved and protected, are never to become license, never to lead in any degree to irreverence. This is the more necessary to us for two reasons: (1) Because of the growing irreverence of the world about us, born of a declining faith in God and everything supernatural; (2) because of our growing enlightenment in the truth, by which we see that the fears of an eternity of torture were groundless, there is a danger of losing that proper reverence for God which belongs to and is an integral part of love. — Ephesians 1:13; 4:15,24; 5:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 2 John 1:3.

(9) King Solomon wrote, “Guard your steps when you go to God’s house” (Ecclesiastes 5:1) — take heed to your standing, take heed to your walk, take heed to your conduct. Whether the house of God be a great temple, as in past times, under divine direction, or whether it be the temple of God, which is the Church of Christ (Ephesians 2:19-22), we should realize that reverence is befitting to us in connection with everything that is holy and consecrated. We should realize that whoever neglects the cultivation of reverence in respect to these matters is making his own pathway slippery and dangerous. He who reverences little and is careless is much more likely to stumble, to fall, and be utterly cast down. (Proverbs 1:32) If even Moses, who was humble, “above all men who were on the surface of the earth” (Numbers 12:3), needed from Yahweh as his first instruction a lesson of humility, shall we not suppose that such a lesson is necessary to us?

(10) Let us honor Yahweh in our hearts, and our outward demeanor will reflect what is our hearts. (Luke 6:45) Whether we bow to give thanks for our daily bread, whether we bow our knee night and morning in acknowledgment of divine care and providences, or whether we meet with those of like precious faith, let us see to it that reverence marks our conduct and our words as well as rules in our hearts. Let us, too, take off our shoes, let us lay aside the ordinary conduct of life by which we are in contact with the world, and in all our ways acknowledge him, especially when we hearken to his voice in the study of his Word as His people.

(11) Yahweh said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.” (Exodus 3:7) With these words Yahweh informed Moses briefly that he had not been negligent of the interests of Israel. By these words he allows him to understand that not until this time had the appropriate moment come for interference on behalf of Israel. And this thought of the divine knowledge, sympathy and care, and waiting for a due time, would give Moses all the more confidence in Yahweh’s ability to do according to his own good purposes when his time had come. And so it is with us: If we look back over the 1900 years and more of this Gospel dispensation, and perceive how Yahweh’s cause has been permitted to be overwhelmed by the forces of evil during the “dark ages” and even yet, we stand amazed, and might be inclined to say, “Does God not know? does God not care? that he allows his own name to be dishonored and his Truth to be trampled under foot and his faithful people to suffer?”

(12) Yahweh assures us, too, that He knows all about these matters and is very sympathetic, far more so than we, and he is both able and willing to grant the deliverance needed at the appropriate time. What confidence it gives us now when we look back and behold that spiritual Israel has been preserved through all these centuries! that notwithstanding the fiery affliction and adversity that burned against them, they have not been consumed! How it comforts and cheers us now to hear Yahweh’s voice telling us of the deliverance that is just at hand, and sending by us his messages of love and power to all those who have and are to hear, and who are desirous of having liberty from the power of the world, the flesh and the adversary. O, yes! we occupy holy ground, we hear the holy voice, our eyes are opened to see the wonderful things. Let Yahweh be praised! Let us give heed to his Word.

“THAT YOU MAY BRING FORTH MY PEOPLE”
Exodus 3:10

(13) First of all Yahweh informed Moses, “I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians,” etc.; then He adds, “Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” It is to be noted that God expressly declares himself to be the Deliverer, and had Moses been then disposed to boast of his own powers and doings we presume that Yahweh would not have used him, but would have found some one else for the work. Whenever Yahweh sends us on any special mission, we may be sure that He does not wish us to undertake it as our own mission, nor to claim the honor of the success attending it. He merely deigns to use us as his instrumentalities, whereas He could do the entire work much easier, we might say, without us. How wonderful it seems that God throughout all his dealings, past and present, has been willing to use His consecrated people. Telling them on the one hand that they are unworthy, He assures them on the other hand of His willingness to use their imperfections and to overrule and guide in respect to their services for Him and His cause.

(14) The prime essentials evidently in the faithful performance of such a commission would be reverence for Yahweh and humility as respects our own talents and abilities. It was so with Moses, the ‘humblest man in all the earth.” Not stopping even to tell Yahweh of his appreciation of the facts that he had been chosen for and had undertaken this great work, Moses was overwhelmed with the thought that Yahweh would think to use him as a messenger, and he promptly disclaimed any special qualifications for such a mission. Indeed, he evidently felt, as well as said, that there were others much more capable of the work than himself. But was it not this very appreciation of his own unworthiness that helped to make him suitable for Yahweh’s business? And so with us: we may be sure that when we feel strong then we are weak, and when we feel weak in our own strength then we are best prepared to be strong in Yahweh and in the power of His might and to be used of Him as His instruments. It was so with the great apostle; it must be so, we believe, with all whom Yahweh will decide to use and acknowledge in any part of His service.

(15) Overwhelmed with a realization of the responsibilities of the work suggested, Moses protested to Yahweh that he had not the qualifications, and Yahweh’s answer was that this was true, but that his weakness would be perfected in Yahweh’s strength — “Certainly I will be with you.” (Exodus 3:12) And this being true, how could the mission be a failure? It is equally true with us today: if Yahweh is for us and with us, who could be against us? (Romans 8:31) How could the work fail? Many of Yahweh’s people are being called out of Babylon and its confusion and darkness, its oppressions and its bondage, to creeds of the “dark ages,” and its social boycotts, etc., to worship Yahweh in spirit and in truth, to give their hearts, all that they have, to Him and His service.

(16) The body of Christ, the antitypical body of Moses, are permitted to have a share, as Yahweh’s representatives, in the work of preaching Christ and God’s Kingdom, and of the coming day of judgment through that Kingdom, while baptizing those who wish to enter into covenant relationship with Yahweh through the blood of Jesus. (Matthew 24:14; Luke 22:20,29; Acts 5:42; 8:4; 10:42; 11:20; 28:31; Romans 10:15; 1 Corinthians 1:23; Hebrews 10:29) While feeling our unworthiness of so great an honor, and our inability as respects so great a work, let us remember that Yahweh Himself is with us, and that since it is His work it will go onward and accomplish the designs intended, and gather out eventually all who are truly Yahweh’s, whether we are faithful or whether we are unfaithful. But let us be faithful, and thus maintain the relationship to the great antitype of Moses, and ultimately be associated with him in the glories of the Kingdom, in the dispensing of the blessings and judgments of the future age. –Acts 3:23.

(17) Not only did Yahweh assure Moses of His presence and power and cooperation in the mission, but also that it would result successfully — that he would bring the people out of the land of Egypt and into this very mountain, and to the very place where Yahweh was then communing with him. The matter began to take tangible shape before Moses’ mind: as God said it would be so, undoubtedly his word would be fulfilled. So Yahweh’s assurances to us, that the results will come anyway, are an encouragement to us to go forward and to do our parts. Yahweh will do the work, and the whole question is whether or not we will have a glorious share in it as his members and representatives.

(18) Let each of us then, dear readers, impress upon our hearts the essence of this lesson, that if God is with us and for us, however humble and weak of ourselves, we may be mighty through him to the pulling down of the strongholds of error and for the building up of His people in the most holy faith, and for their deliverance from the bondage of error. Let us in the name of Yahweh and his Son, Jesus, do with our might what our hands find to do, but always with the thought that we serve Yahweh. Let His words, “Certainly I will be with you,” be the strength in our every endeavor in his name and cause.

Much of this lesson is based on a lesson from ZWT Reprints 3989