The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 2   

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Jesus Heals a Paralytic   

1 A few days later Jesus went back to Capernaum. And when the people heard that He was home, 2 they gathered in such large numbers that there was no more room, not even outside the door, as Jesus spoke the word to them.

3 Then a paralytic was brought to Him, carried by four men. 4 Since they were unable to get to Jesus through the crowd, they uncovered the roof above Him, made an opening, and lowered the paralytic on his mat.

5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and thinking in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like this? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

8 At once Jesus knew in His spirit that they were thinking this way within themselves. “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?” He asked. 9 “Which is easier: to say to a paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralytic, 11“I tell you, get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”

12 And immediately the man got up, picked up his mat, and walked out in front of them all. As a result, they were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”


Study Questions to consider: If you were the paralytic man, how would you have felt when you learned that there was no way to get into the house to see Jesus? How would his four friends have felt? What is your reaction to their solution to “open the roof” to lower their friend to Jesus? What does this say about their faith — exceeding any fear they might have had.

If Jesus were to visit your neighborhood, what would you do to see him? Now remember that those people who have asked Jesus to forgive them and enter their heart are promised the blessing of the Holy Spirit to dwell within them. How willing are you to visit with others and share your forgiveness and blessing from God?

Jesus had healed so many other people, that those in the house thought he would just heal this paralytic man. But what did he do? He forgave the man’s sins! This was to confirm to everyone that He had the authority to forgive sins. The proudly religious scribes complained, “He is blaspheming, who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus confirms that he has this authority. What do you think? Is Jesus making the claim that he is the Messiah, the Son of Man?

Jesus saw that the major problem in the life of the paralytic man was unconfessed and unrepentant sin. Seeing that, he demonstrated his love and authority by forgiving him. Jesus was underscoring his authority on earth to forgive sins and to heal.


Special Question: Are all physical ailments caused by sin?

The answer is complex, because the scripture says “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and “there is no one righteous, no not one.”

In a world full of sinful people, our collective sins have opened the door to many kinds of illnesses, accidents and death. Perhaps your sin has led to your specirfic problem, but that might not be the case universally. But in a sinful world, sickness and death eventually prevail over all of us.

Wouldn’t it be great if God would provide a universal forgiveness for sin, and then heal all our infirmities? Great News! He has and will through Jesus Christ.

Jesus became the sacrifice for all our sins. If we confess our sin, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

And for all who put their faith in him, He promises a resurrected body and eternal life. Remember John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Do you have this confidence?


Jesus Calls Levi (also known as Matthew)

(Matthew 9:9–13Luke 5:27–32)

13 Once again Jesus went out beside the sea. All the people came to Him, and He taught them there.

14 As He was walking along, He saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth. “Follow Me,” He told him, and Levi got up and followed Him.

15 While Jesus was dining at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Him and His disciples—for there were many who followed Him. 16When the scribes who were Pharisees saw Jesus eating with these people, they asked His disciples, “Why does He eata with tax collectors and sinners?”

17 On hearing this, Jesus told them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Study Questions: Jesus did not come to earth to talk to the “righteous,” but to reach out to sinners and call them to repentence. What do you think of the scripture that says, “there is none righteous, no not one.” The proud and self-righteous Pharisees thought they were righteous already. If you were there, what would you tell them to do to get clean before God?


Questions about Fasting

(Matthew 9:14–15Luke 5:33–35)

18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were often fasting. So people came to Jesus and asked, “Why don’t Your disciples fast like John’s disciples and those of the Pharisees?”

19 Jesus replied, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while He is with them? As long as He is with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.


The Patches and the Wineskins

(Matthew 9:16–17Luke 5:36–39)

21 No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, and a worse tear will result.

22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. Instead, new wine is poured into new wineskins.”

Study Questions: A wineskin was a goatskin sewed together to make a watertight bag. If you put new wine in an old wineskin, when it expanded as the wine fermented it would burst the skin and ruin bag and wine. The Pharisees thought that they could “learn” to be righteous before God.

Jesus taught that none were righteous in and of themselves. That we needed to repent, be forgiven of our sin and made righteous by the ongoing presence of Jesus and the innerworking of the Holy Spirit.

What do you think? Can you overcome sin by your works, or do you need to be remade by God into a new creation in Christ Jesus?


The Lord of the Sabbath

(1 Samuel 21:1–7Matthew 12:1–8Luke 6:1–5)

23 One Sabbath Jesus was passing through the grainfields, and His disciples began to pick the heads of grain as they walked along. 24 So the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

25 Jesus replied, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 During the high priesthood of Abiathar, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which was lawful only for the priests. And he gave some to his companions as well.”

27 Then Jesus declared, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Study Questions: When God gave the children of Israel the Law of Moses, it was to show them what righteousness looked like, and how impossible it was for sinners to ever achieve righteousness by themselves. And to a people who worked hard every day, he gave them a day of rest every 7th day called the Sabbath. It was a day to stop working and rest and relax while considering the blessings of God. Unfortunately, the Sabbath had become a day of rules and restrictions by the ruling religious leadership. The Sabbath was meant to be a gift but had become a burden. Jesus declared the “Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” He doesn’t debate the “rules” with the Pharisees, he changes the rules.

How could he do this? Who does Jesus claim to be? He calls himself the LORD, even of the Sabbath.