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Don Stewart :: Did Jesus Ever Sin?

Don Stewart

When we talk about sin we are referring to breaking the law of God. If Jesus had broken the law in any respect then He would be a sinner. The Bible, however, says that Jesus never once sinned. This is verified by the testimony of the angel Gabriel, the demons, unbelievers, believers, Jesus Himself, and God the Father.

1. The Testimony Of The Angel Gabriel

The angel Gabriel testified to Jesus sinless when He announced the coming birth of Jesus to Mary.

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called holy the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).

This description was never given of any other child that has ever been born.

2. The Demons Gave Testimony Of Jesus' Identity

The demons also testify to the character of Jesus - He was the Holy One of God.

What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God! (Mark 1:24).

They never said this of any human being no matter how righteous they acted.

3. Even Unbelievers Acknowledged Jesus' Identity

There were a number of unbelievers who gave testimony to Jesus' sinlessness. They include: the false witnesses at His trial, Pontius Pilate, his wife, Herod Antipas, the man who died next to Jesus, the centurion who presided over Jesus' death, and Judas Iscariot.

There Were False Witnesses At His Trial

At Jesus' trial those intimately involved in the proceedings admitted they could find no fault in Him.

Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none (Matthew 26:59,60).

Pontius Pilate Declared Jesus Innocent

Pontius Pilate declared the innocence of Jesus.

"What is truth?" Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him" (John 18:38).

Pilate again told the crowd Jesus was innocent.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him" (John 19:4).

The Wife Of Pilate Adds Her Testimony

Pilate's wife testified that Jesus was a righteous man.

While Pilate was sitting on the judge's seat, his wife sent him this message: "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him" (Matthew 27:19).

Herod Antipas Did Not Believe Jesus Should Die

Herod Antipas did not think Jesus was worthy of death. Pilate said to the religious rulers.

You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death (Luke 23:14,15).

The Robber Next To Jesus On The Cross Saw His Innocence

Jesus died between two robbers. One of them recognized Jesus' innocence. He said to the other dying robber.

We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong (Luke 23:41).

The Centurion Who Watched Jesus Die Realized He Was Innocent

The centurion who presided over Jesus' crucifixion recognized Jesus as someone special.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man" (Luke 23:47).

The Betrayer Judas Realized Jesus' Innocence

The betrayer Judas realized that he had betrayed someone who was innocent.

"I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood" (Matthew 27:4).

The Enemies Of Jesus Could Not Trap Him In Sin

The enemies of Jesus attempted to trap Him by using something He said.

Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap him in what he said (Matthew 22:15).

Yet they were unable to catch Him committing any sin.

4. The Testimony Of Believers About Jesus' Sinlessness

The Scripture records the attitude those who believed in Jesus. They make it clear He was sinless. Peter wrote.

Who committed no sin, nor was guile found in his mouth (1 Peter 2:22).

John

The Apostle John testified that Jesus was without sin.

And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and in him there is no sin (1 John 3:5).

Paul

The Apostle Paul reported.

For he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The Testimony Of The Early Church

When the early church gathered to pray they recognized the holiness of Jesus.

For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel . . . while you extend your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of your holy servant Jesus (Acts 4:27,30).

The Writer To Hebrews

The writer to the Hebrews testified.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus' Disciples Were Constantly With Him

The testimony of is especially significant because it was given by some of the very same people who were constantly with Jesus. They saw Him when He was tired, they saw Him when He was hungry, they saw Him when the multitudes pressed around Him. Yet they testified that in all this they never once had seen Him sin. Their testimony, that He was without sin, carries considerable weight because they honestly reported their own faults and shortcomings.

5. Jesus' Own Testimony About His Sinlessness

As we examine the account of the life of Jesus, as recorded in the New Testament, we observe that He believed Himself to be without sin. When He came to be baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus was momentarily stopped because John realized it was unnecessary.

But John tried to prevent him, saying, "I have need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" (Matthew 3:14).

John's baptism was for the confession of sin, and he realized that this one had no sin. But Jesus insisted upon being baptized. Jesus said.

'Permit it to be now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he allowed him (Matthew 3:15).

Jesus submitted to the baptism but did not confess sin.

Jesus Did Not Give In To Temptation

Immediately after His baptism Satan tempted him. Yet Jesus refused to give in to the temptation and told the devil.

Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only you shall serve' (Matthew 4:10).

In the great spiritual battle with the devil, Jesus did not succumb to sin.

We discover the following things about Jesus testimony to His lack of sin.

He Challenged People To Find Sin In Him

Throughout His ministry Jesus challenged those with Him to find sin in His life.

Which of you convicts me of sin? (John 8:46).

The response from those surrounding Him was silence. They had never seen Him sin, for He had not sinned. Jesus claimed absolute sinlessness. Jesus was never conscious of any personal sin.

Jesus Offered No Sacrifice For Sin

Although Jesus perfectly kept the Mosaic Law, we never find Him offering a sacrifice for sin. He daily taught in the temple yet never offered a sacrifice while He was there. The writer to the Hebrews said.

For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this he did once for all when he offered up himself (Hebrews 7:26,27).

This is another indication that He had no sin.

Jesus Did Not Need The New Birth

Jesus told the religious leader than everyone needed to be "born again" or "born from above."

Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above" (John 3:3).

However He never indicated that He needed the new birth.

Jesus Prayed On Behalf Of Others

Jesus prayed for others.

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers (Luke 22:31,32).

But we never find Him asking others to pray for Him.

Jesus Offered No Prayer For Forgiveness

We never find Him praying for forgiveness. Although a number of His prayers are recorded we never find Him even hinting that He had committed sin.

At the end of His life, while proceeding to the Garden of Gethsemane to be betrayed by Judas Iscariot, Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father saying,

I have glorified you on the earth. I have finished the work which you have given me to do (John 17:4).

Knowing of His impending death, His prayer was not one of confession, but rather one of victory. He had finished the mission given to Him by the Father and had finished it without committing a sin.

On the cross He asked His Father to forgive those who crucified Him

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).

However He never asked forgiveness for Himself.

Jesus Said God Was His Father, Not His Savior

Jesus called God His Father but He never referred to Him as His Savior - for He needed no Savior. He claimed to do only those things that pleased the Father.

And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him (John 8:29).

He also said He kept His Father's commandments.

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love; just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love (John 15:10)

6. The Testimony Of God The Father Concerning Jesus" Sinlessness

By far the most significant testimony that Jesus was sinless came from God the Father. He testified to the sinlessness of Jesus.

At Jesus' baptism the Father voiced His pleasure of the Son:

And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon him, and a voice from heaven which said, 'You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased' (Luke 3:22).

The Father's Testimony At Jesus' Transfiguration

Later in His ministry, at the Transfiguration, the Father again voiced audibly that the Son had pleased Him.

While he was still speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud saying, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear him!' (Matthew 17:5).

On another occasion, before the multitude, the Father testified to the ministry of the Son before the crowd.

'Father, glorify your name.' Then a voice came from heaven saying, 'I have both glorified it and will glorify it again' (John 12:28).

The Father Accepted Jesus' Sacrifice

The final act that demonstrated the testimony of God the Father to the sinlessness of Jesus was the acceptance of His sacrifice on the cross. The fact that He received Jesus into heaven showed that His mission was accomplished as the perfect, sinless sacrifice. Jesus' last words were,

Father, into your hands I commend my spirit (Luke 23:46).

If Jesus had sinned in any manner He would not have been able to appear in the presence of His Father. The Father's unqualified acceptance of Jesus was the final testimony to His sinlessness.

7. The Testimony Of The Law (He Was The Perfect Sacrifice)

The Old Testament sacrifices gave a foreshadowing of Christ's sacrifice on Calvary's cross. The Scripture was very specific about the requirement for the sacrifice.

The Animal Sacrifices Had To Be Without Blemish

The animal that was to be offered was to be without any blemish to be accepted.

When anyone brings from the herd or flock a peace offering to the LORD to fulfill a special vow or as a freewill offering, it must be without defect or blemish to be acceptable (Leviticus 22:21).

Moses also wrote.

This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke (Numbers 19:2).

We also read in the Book of Numbers.

This is the offering made by fire that you are to present to the LORD: two lambs a year old without defect, as a regular burnt offering each day . . . On the Sabbath day, make an offering of two lambs a year old without defect . . . On the first of every month, present to the LORD a burnt offering of two young bulls, one ram and seven male lambs a year old, all without defect (Numbers 28:3,9,11).

Jesus Was Without Blemish

The New Testament reported that Jesus was without blemish.

The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:13,14).

Peter wrote.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect (1 Peter 1:18,19).

Therefore, to be the perfect sacrifice, Jesus had to be without sin. There could be no blemish of any kind on His character.

Summary

Jesus never sinned. Jesus never asked for forgiveness, offered any sacrifice, or confessed to any sin. Jesus Christ was without sin. This is the testimony of the angel Gabriel to Mary as well as the demons. Unbelievers such as those at Jesus' trial, Herod, Pontius Pilate, Pilate's wife, the robber that died next to Jesus, and the centurion at Jesus' crucifixion all testified to His innocence. Believers such as Peter, John, Paul, the early church, and the writer to the Hebrews acknowledged the sinlessness of Jesus. Jesus Himself made it clear that He was without sin. Finally God the Father accepted Jesus as the sinless sacrifice for the sins of the world.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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