Lesson 8

The Gospel According to Mark

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

2:1 When he entered again into Capernaum after some days, it was heard that he was in the house. 2:2 Immediately many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even around the door; and he spoke the word to them. 2:3 Four people came, carrying a paralytic to him. 2:4 When they could not come near to him for the crowd, they removed the roof where he was. When they had broken it up, they let down the mat that the paralytic was lying on. 2:5 Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you."

2:6 But there were some of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 2:7 "Why does this man speak blasphemies like that? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

2:8 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you reason these things in your hearts? 2:9 Which is easier, to tell the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven;' or to say, 'Arise, and take up your bed, and walk?' 2:10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" - he said to the paralytic - 2:11 "I tell you, arise, take up your mat, and go to your house."

2:12 He arose, and immediately took up the mat, and went out in front of them all; so that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"

Today's Lesson 

Here is a story of the life of Christ that comes to us with all the authenticity of detail as to be an eyewitness account. Jesus goes back to Capernaum and is almost immediately surrounded by people. He returns to Peter's home and begins to teach there. But, while He is teaching, there are four men who want to bring a man who was paralyzed so that Jesus would heal him. Jesus is so impressed with the faith of the four friends that He heals the man of his paralysis.


But, the healing itself is not the main purpose of the story. It has already been established that Jesus can heal the sick, drive out unclean spirits and heal lepers. This story is told to demonstrate something more about Jesus of Nazareth. When the man was presented to Jesus, He said, "Son, your sins are forgiven you." Even though the scribes who were present believed Jesus to be guilty of blasphemy in this regard, Jesus was trying to lead them to an even greater revelation.


If Jesus had said, "Arise, take up your bed and walk," the miracle of the man's healing would have been accomplished through God's power and authority. Jesus wanted the scribes to acknowledge that the power that allowed Him to heal was God's power. He wanted them to see that the authority to heal came from the authority of the Creator over His creation. So, instead of saying "Arise and walk," He told the man, "Your sins are forgiven." It is true that only God can forgive sins, but they were being confronted with the work of God through Jesus.


Jesus had the authority to heal sins because He was the instrument of God in the world. God spoke through Him and acted through Him. He did nothing without being instructed by the Father. If the Son forgave sins, it was because the Father forgave sins. The purpose of each of these stories is to build faith in the claim that Jesus Christ was a unique messenger from God. He was the Son of God who came to do the will of the Father.


The paralytic picked up his mat and went to his own house just as Jesus told him to do. There were many that believed in Jesus because of this incident but there were others whose skepticism increased. Jesus did not do the sorts of things that they expected. This was always the way when God sent the prophets. The prophets were never accepted and honored in their own time, but afterward, people began to understand their message. After they had been put to death and after the things that they foretold came to pass, then the prophets received honor in Israel.


This is even truer of the Son. God does not usually speak with the voice that we expect to hear. He does not tell us things that we expect to hear. God has a way of turning our world and our preconceived ideas upside down. If we thought as God thought, we would not be in need of salvation. It is precisely because we think differently from God that we need a savior. Christ came into the world to bring a new revelation about God. We must allow Him to speak with His own voice to us from the pages of scripture.


What preconceived notions do you have about what God wants to tell you? Are you listening to everything God has to say, even though it might shock your sensibilities?


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