"And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. (Mark says, "Who can forgive sins but God only"- the Scriptures do not say this)

And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

And he arose, and departed to his house.

But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men". Matthew 9:2

Yeshua says that the son of man has authority to forgive sins, and the people rejoice because such authority had been given to men (plural). I have two questions...

Is any of this relevant to Matthew 6:14 and John 20:23?

Who is the son of man in Matthew 9:6?

Thank you.

4 Answers 4


The "Son of Man" in Matthew 9:6 was a common Greek phrase ("ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου") to refer to the Messiah. The "Son of Man" in Matthew 9:6 is Jesus Himself; Jesus refers to Himself as "the Son of Man" as a way of saying that He is the Messiah the Jews were looking for.

The title "Son of Man" evolved in Jewish culture from Daniel 7:13

I was watching in the night visions, “And with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man was approaching. He went up to the Ancient of Days and was escorted before him."

The phrase "like a son of man" evolved in to "the son of man" being a title for the Messiah.

The use of plural "men" (or "people") in verse 18 is a way of highlighting that the people did not recognize Jesus as God in the flesh, but attributed this to human power.

The Rabbis understood Jesus was making a claim to being God because Jesus forgave the man's sins. That is why they thought, "This man blasphemeth" - because only God can forgive sins, yet Jesus just forgave the man's sins. So when Jesus replies with calling Himself the "Son of Man" - He is claiming that He is God in the flesh, and He is the Messiah the Jews have been waiting for.

As for the connection to Matthew 6:14 / John 20:23, those verses are focusing on us forgiving, whereas Matthew 9 is focusing on the forgiveness from God, as a way of showing that Jesus is truly the Messiah. As such, I don't think these verses are closely related.

  • Thank you for the answer. I'm about to ask a question about Matthew 16:13. Could you please explain why you said "Jesus refers to Himself as 'the Son of Man..."? Thank you.
    – Cannabijoy
    Jul 17, 2016 at 6:36
  • 1
    @anonymouswho - that's just what the scriptures say. Jesus is the subject, forgives the man's sin, and then when talking about how He just forgave sins, uses the phrase "Son of Man" instead of "I' - I don't know what you want me to say except that is just simply how the language is written.
    – cegfault
    Jul 20, 2016 at 3:50
  • Hey cegfault. Does it not seem more reasonable that the people rejoiced because such authority had indeed been given to "men", and that Yeshua confirms men have the authority to forgive sins in Matthew 6:14 and John 20:23? Both of these verses say that if "you" forgive men, they "will" be forgiven. Wouldn't this mean that we are the son of man (because every man is the son of man), and we have the authority to forgive sins?
    – Cannabijoy
    Jul 20, 2016 at 12:31
  • 1
    @anonymouswho: no, that does not seem more reasonable. You're taking the context and language of Matthew 6:14 and trying to force it into ch. 9. The "Son of Man" title is a very well-established fact. There are entire books written on that phrase. I don't think it's wise to ignore the culture or history of that phrase here. Jesus is clearly referring to Himself as the Son of Man. I have never heard of or seen a respected translator say differently.
    – cegfault
    Jul 20, 2016 at 18:29
  • 1
    I would encourage you to spend more time looking into the history of "the Son of Man" phrase, as well as research each of the verses themselves. Your logic is coming across as hasty and disjointed.
    – cegfault
    Jul 20, 2016 at 18:30

Is any of this relevant to Matthew 6:14 and John 20:23

14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. -Matthew 6:14-15 (NKJV)

This is only relevant in the remotest of way, as you could perhaps infer that the palsied man was not holding any grudges against anyone and therefore had forgiven anyone who might have trespassed against him in the past.

21 So Jesus said to them [the disciples] again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” -John 20:21-23 (NKJV)

Again, this is only relevant in the remotest of way, in that Jesus had authority to forgive sins and then delegated that authority to the disciples here.

Who is the son of man in Matthew 9:6?

Jesus is the son of man, and He even states this Himself a few chapters later:

13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.


20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. -Matthew 16:13-17, 20 (NKJV)

As to Matthew 9:8 were the multitudes gave glory to God "who had given such power unto men", the sense is that the multitudes at this time considered Jesus to be just a mere man through whom God had worked a miracle, such as Elijah or one of the other prophets.

  • Thank you for the answer. As I told cegfault, I'm about to post a question about Matthew 16:13. Could you please read this verse in any other translation? Thank you.
    – Cannabijoy
    Jul 17, 2016 at 6:38
  • I've posted a separate question about Matthew 16:13, because I do not see how Yeshua referred to himself as the son of man in this verse. I thought it would be better to ask than to discuss, because I think that's against the rules. I also posted a question about John 9:35. Thank you for the excellent answer.
    – Cannabijoy
    Jul 17, 2016 at 13:26
  • I plan on posting questions for most of these verses. However, Yeshua never says "I am the son of man". When the question is brought up, either by Yeshua or others, he never says "That's me" (except in John 9:35...but again, I have a separate post about this verse). I don't deny that Yeshua is the son of man, and I recognize that everything he said about the son of man happened to himself; I just don't believe he used the phrase to refer to himself.
    – Cannabijoy
    Jul 17, 2016 at 19:08
  • I'm sorry. I'm not trying to be difficult. However, I'm already getting a message that says to avoid discussions, so I'll have to do this by posting new questions. I'm about to post a question about Hosea 6:2. There is something I'd like you to consider though: Are you the son of man, Brian?
    – Cannabijoy
    Jul 18, 2016 at 3:03
  • Because you are the son of man. So am I. Every man is the son of man.
    – Cannabijoy
    Jul 18, 2016 at 3:25

Very simply in Matt. 6:13 in this verse refers to himself as the Son of man...and by revelation knowledge Peter said in verse16 he proclaimed Jesus was the Son of God. He was both...If he came to earth as He was in heaven, in all Power and Authority he had with the Father...we couldn't have obeyed when he said ..follow me..but in Phil. 2:5-8 We see he humbled himself as a man and walked in submission to God as the Holy Spirit led him, taught him . In Luke 2:52 it says Jesus increased (gk....to grow ) in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man . If Jesus came only as the Son of God ...he would not have need to grow in faith , through knowledge . As the Son of man he gave us an example to follow : through growing in faith , prayer , spending time with the Father, worship , praise , forgiveness , mercy , grace , and love, soul winning . That is why we can follow HIM as the Son of man and Son of God! Jesus was ...touched with the feeling of our infirmities ; like as we are, (as the Son of man) yet without sin .


The Son of Man This phrase is taken from Daniel 7:13 (bar enosh), and by the time of Christ, it was a title of Messiah. (See E.B.Pusey, Daniel commentary, p. 404 for all the Jewish writings claiming this title for Messiah.)

It was used by Jesus 83 times in reference to Himself! This often made the Jewish scholars and rulers irate because they knew what Jesus was claiming. And they preferred a totally different type of Messiah who would rule over Judea (instead of Herod) and kick out the Roman occupiers.

When Jesus used this title, He was making spectacular claims of historic importance: Forgiver of sins, One who came from God, the "clouded one" with judgmental powers, the Lord of the Sabbath, etc. And mysteriously, "One who would die and rise from the dead on the third day! Only after the Resurrection did His own disciples understand the significance of all Jesus's pronouncements.

Matthew 9:6 is just one of many events that Jesus used to portray His worthiness of this title, Son of Man.

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