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Mark 2:1-12 Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man

Posted by Ez1 Realty on October 30, 2012

Mark 2:1-12 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. (2) Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, (3) four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. (4) They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. (5) Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” (6) But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, (7) “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” (8) Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? (9) Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? (10) So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, (11) “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” (12) And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”


It doesn’t take long for a new believer to hear a number of sermons on this story. It seems to be a favorite for pastors. We already know Jesus healed the paralyzed man, and forgave his sins. How many times do they feel they need to repeat the same sermons with little or no depth?


Before we look at this particular story, we must first respect the simple rule of context by reviewing the previous text.


In chapter one Mark tells us about John the Baptist, Jesus’ baptism and His trial in the wilderness. God His Father and the Holy Spirit were present at Jesus’ baptism. After the temptation in the wilderness Jesus began His ministry. “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” (Mark 1:15)


Jesus began calling His disciples. The first four He called were Simon, Andrew, James and John. Is there a connection between Jesus’ first four disciples and the four men carrying the paralyzed man to Jesus? The first place Jesus takes His disciples is a synagogue where Jesus is confronted by a man possessed by and evil spirit. Then they go to Simon’s house where Jesus heals his mother-in-law. She gets up and feeds them. The entire town shows up at Simon’s house where Jesus heals many and casts out demons. It seems a little strange. The demon in the synagogue yelled out to Jesus, but Jesus did not allow the demons at Simon’s house to speak. Some interesting points to consider.


From there Jesus took His disciples throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons. (Mark 1:39) A leper came to Him. Jesus healed the leper, instructing him not to tell anyone, but go to the priests with an offering. We are not told if the priests performed the ceremony or not. There are two important points revealed in the story of the leper. At that time the priests were not aware of Jesus and His ministry. If they would have performed the ceremony for the leper they would have been publicly endorsing Jesus as a prophet? But Jesus was more than a prophet. Elisha directed Naaman, told him what to do, but did not heal him. In this case Jesus healed the leper with His touch. The other point is the fact, the strange ceremony for a healed leper is the same ceremony to anoint the high priest.


We now find Jesus preaching inside a home. As a new believer I cannot help but notice the shift from a synagogue to a home. There seems to be a distinct difference between the details in a synagogue and a home. In this story we find religious leaders inside the home.


When Jesus returned home, He preached inside a friends home. Is this a prerequisite to the church homes set up by the first Christians in the New Testament? When Jesus preached the house was filled to overflowing. Imagine if we could duplicate Jesus’ example today.


Four men carried a paralyzed man to Jesus on a mat, but could not gain access to the house because of the crowds. Does this show how a large group or church can be detrimental to people gaining personal access to Jesus? How would this apply to the forms of religion we see today?


The four men do not give up. Some how they are able to get the paralyzed man to the roof of the house with a set of ropes. The men dig a hole through the roof of the house and lower the man right in front of Jesus. How did the men know where to dig the hole? Something led them to the right spot.


Notice Jesus saw their faith. Not only the paralyzed man’s faith, Jesus saw the faith in all of them. As a new believer I have to ask why Mark included this detail in his account of the scene. What do the four men represent? Most people avoid people who are different. Many cross the street or attempt to ignore people in need. They cast a blind eye at the needy, pretending they don’t notice them, hoping they would go away. In this case the paralyzed man has four people helping him. How thankful do you think this man felt? What do you think the four men felt as they sat on the roof watching their friend stand, then hurrying to the edge of the roof to see him walk out the door and down the road? Did these men receive the blessing they came for, or much more? What are the details that led to such a blessing?


I also have to question why Jesus first forgave the man before healing him. When I go back and look at the close of the previous chapter I can compare the story of the leper to the paralyzed man. I instantly see one link Mark recorded. The leper presented himself to the priests. Jesus was questioned by the teachers of the religious law when He forgave the sins of the paralyzed man. When the leper presented himself to the priests, it was the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. The priests had no idea who Jesus was. All they knew was a man claimed he was healed by Jesus. It would have been normal for them to doubt. The New Testament tells us to test everything. They had every right to investigate. Their next step would have been to locate Jesus and gather the facts. As religious leaders this is part of their role. Based on their reaction, their investigation centered around proving Jesus was not a prophet. “This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” What do you think? Does Mark confirm this when he writes, “Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking.” Jesus knew actions speak louder than words, so He said, “I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers.


Why did some people believe Jesus and praise God while others doubted? What held the religious leaders back from believing?


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