-The activities in the ministry of Jesus continue into this next chapter with several key events that Mark notates. First, we see the healing of a paralytic in Capernaum as Jesus comes back to His home base. In a crowded house, four men brought their crippled friend to be healed, but found no room for them to enter. In faith they devised a way to get to the Healer by removing the roof right above Jesus and letting him down on his pallet on which he was lying. The Christ saw their faith and purposed to heal them, but He made an important statement before the physical healing took place. He intently spoke to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Some of the scribes who were in attendance reasoned in their hearts about this perceived blasphemous comment by the Rabbi. Jesus, understanding their hearts and motivations, quickly addressed the situation. He claimed, “Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk?’ But so that you may KNOW (emphasis mine) that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” The crippled man got up immediately picking up his pallet and went out in the sight of everyone in attendance. Certainly they were amazed by this miracle and glorified God saying, “We have never seen anything like this (Mark 2:1-12).” Only Jesus could do this: forgive sins (the greater spiritual need first) and provide a miraculous physical healing (the material need after).
-Jesus then goes out by the seashore of the Sea of Galilee again to find people coming to Him, and he began to teach them. He passed by a hated and loathed tax collector by the name of Levi (later to be known as the gospel writer, Matthew), the son of Alphaeus, and He called to him, “Follow Me!” Levi got up and followed his new Master, even throwing a party for Him and His disciples in his house along with many other tax collectors and sinners. Jesus was gaining a large following. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with these types of people, they wondering why this Man would do such a thing. The Lord’s response was classic, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners (Mark 2:13-17).”
-Later, John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, and they questioned why Jesus’ disciples did not fast. The Lord took the opportunity to teach about His body, the church. While He, the bridegroom was with them (the bride, i.e. the church), it was a time of celebration and rejoicing. But, there would come a time, He predicts prophetically, when the bridegroom is taken away, and then they would certainly be fasting to draw close to the Spirit of God. He then begins to instruct on the New Covenant dispensation that was coming. This church era would be a new “wineskin” that would disrupt and irritate the traditional establishment (Mark 2:18-22). The Redeeming Savior would provide a lot of changes in people’s perceptions of what the Kingdom of God was all about. No longer would the Jews have a priority on the Law and knowledge of God. The nations would soon be able to experience the Holy Spirit in His fullness as He indwelt and moved in the whole world. This would be hard for the traditional Hebrews to accept, even though it had been clearly foretold by the prophets during the Old Covenant (Psalm 4:5-8; 67:2, Isaiah 56:7, Ezekiel 36:26 to name just a few).
-Jesus begins to assert His authority over misguided interpretations of the Law as it pertained to the Sabbath. As He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, His disciples were picking the heads of grain, which drew the ire of the lawful Pharisees in their midst. Jesus reminded them of David’s exploits when he was in need with Abiathar the high priest and the eating of consecrated bread, which was definitely unlawful to eat. The Lord’s point on this was, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-28).”
-*Application* The healing of the paralytic gives us ample instruction on how we should do benevolence. We must address the spiritual need of individuals first, and then take care of their material needs with the supernatural abilities of the LORD. It is also important for us to note the aspect that triggers this whole process in a person of need, that being FAITH. Faith unlocks spiritual well-being as well as opens door for God to do incredible miracles in a person’s life.
-*Application* We also see the conflict between the traditions of man verses the righteousness of God begin to rear up as we study these events of the Messiah’s life. God is always focused on the heart of the matter rather than the outward compliance of a given statue. When we get into arguments over interpretations of God-given directives we are in danger. Remember to assess the heart, or true intent, of any law before you go condemning a situation. Let love, mercy, class, goodness, and grace be your guide, and we will do well.
Verses to Memorize: Mark 2:12, 22