Studies in the Gospel of Mark- Chapter 2
I. The Son of Man has Authority to Forgive Sins
A. And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—”I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:1-12)
B. Jesus went to what is believed is Peter’s house, especially early in His ministry. People heard that He was there so they gathered to the house and crowded it to the point that there was no more room. In that moment He began preaching the Word of the Lord to them. Jesus not only is the Word made flesh but He always took opportunity to preach the Word to those that were positioned to hear it. He was not an echo but The Voice.
C. “They” These guys were evidently friends of or family members of the paralytic. However, more importantly, what we know about these guys is that they were stretcher-bearers for this man. Many times in life we need people to help us get where we may not know where we should be. In this case they were bringing their friend to the healer and deliverer.
D. They removed the roof off of the house. Sometimes we have to overcome terrible circumstances and when it seems we will be denied, we have to continue to press in and push through.
E. Jesus saw their faith. It wasn’t necessarily the faith of the paralytic, but the faith of the stretcher-bearers that the Lord noticed and moved to action for the sake of the paralytic. Jesus is always looking for those that will stand in faith for the sake of others, city, or nation so that God can exercise mercy on their behalf.
F. He forgave the man of his sins. His real need as is our’s is to be forgiven of our sins. Many times we misunderstand what our real needs truly are.
G. The scribes were accurate in that only God can forgive sin, but they were unwilling to recognize Jesus’ true identity. However, Jesus, knowing their own doubt and unbelief, gave them a grace encounter (Is it easier to say your sins are forgiven or to say rise up and take your bed and walk?) to which they hardened themselves. Jesus manifested His authority by doing both!
II. Calling All Sinners
A. He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:13-17)
B. Jesus passed by a tax collector, Levi, who Mark tells us the name of his father-Alphaeus, meaning “changing”. This was a season in Levi’s life that would be marked by change. Matthew gives us a little more information about himself. What we do know is that he was not intended to work for the Romans, having been named Levi. Yet, here in his house were many other tax collectors and sinners. Jesus encountered Levi with grace (an opportunity to change), by saying “Follow Me”.
C. Jesus went to his house and there reclining with Him were Levi’s friends. Jesus made himself available to those who truly needed Him. He declares that it is the sick that need a doctor.
III. Effective Righteous Activity
A. Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.” (Mark 2:18-22)
A. Here are two sets of religious and zealous people; John’s disciples and the Pharisees. Even these two groups were not in agreement with each other however, they participated in the same activity for possibly the same end. Fasting for dedication, devotion, discipline, and dispensation has been the focus for most fasting through the ages, but God gives us the prescription for the chosen fast…”Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (Isaiah 58:6-7) Then Jesus says His disciples will fast when He is taken away from them. It will be a new paradigm; a Love-Fast. Fasting for the return of the Bridegroom.
B. For you would not try to put something new “on” or “in” something old. It requires a new grid for the new to be contained in. Therefore to be effective in our righteous efforts we must also be relevant with the Holy Spirit and His move.
IV. Understanding the Spirit of the Law
A. One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:23-28)
A. Jesus again has to deal with the religious leaders of the day. They were asking Him to explain the behavior of His disciples on a Holy Day. Jesus responds with an unexplainable story of one of their heroes. Many times people have the inability to rightly discern situations due to their prejudices.
B. David ate the Bread of the Presence which was not lawful for him to eat, yet God did not strike him, condemn him, or correct him, nor did Abiathar (meaning father of abundance), the High Priest. Because He was God’s anointed and it was needful for him to eat it, which showed the Pharisees that their restrictive interpretations of the Law were missing the Spirit and intention of the Law.