Mark 2 (New Living Translation)
Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
1 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’?
An interesting question! Of course, it is impossible for humans to forgive a man all his sins or heal him on the spot of his paralysis. For God, on the other hand, both are easy. In another way, though, it is easier to say “Your sins are forgiven” because that is invisible. To say, “Stand up” demands clear proof which would be satisfied only when the man begins walking.
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!”
from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw
FORGIVENESS OF SINS
The first thing God wants to do for us is to give us his gift of grace and forgiveness. Even among the people of God, I find a lot of people who live with great guilt. We will never develop into what God wants us to be until we find out what it means to have God’s forgiveness. That forgiveness is a gracious gift that we can never earn. In fact, there is nothing we can do to receive it except to take it from his hand in repentant faith. When we have accepted his gift, we are on our way to grace and growth.
The story of the paralytic who was lowered through the roof illustrates this beautifully. This man’s friends brought him to Jesus for physical healing, but Jesus knew what the man’s real need was, so he said to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven.” Everyone thought Jesus was sidetracked from the real issue of physical healing, but Jesus was the only one who saw the problem clearly.
The forgiveness of our sins is the doorway into a relationship with the Lord Jesus. Tragically, I have seen some people who cannot accept this gift. But we will never know any further growth or grace until we can say that our sins are nailed to his cross and that we are forgiven and free.
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!”
Very rarely in the gospel accounts do Jesus and the religious leaders join together in celebration. But the wonder and joy was so great! HERE is Simon Brading sharing more joy with “Greatest Day in History.”
The greatest day in history, Death is beaten
You have rescued me
Sing it out Jesus is alive
The empty cross, The empty grave
Life eternal You have won the day
Shout it out Jesus is alive
Oh happy day, happy day
You washed my sin away
Oh happy day, happy day
I’ll never be the same
Forever I am changed
When I stand, in that place
Free at last, meeting face to face
I am Yours Jesus You are mine
Endless joy, perfect peace
Earthly pain finally will cease
Celebrate Jesus is alive
Oh what a glorious day
What a glorious way
That You have saved me
Oh what a glorious day
What a glorious name
Jesus Calls Levi (Matthew)
13 Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him.
15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) 16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”
17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
(During Mark, portions of this book will be presented to help us understand our faith more deeply than perhaps we have before. I hope you enjoy learning more about Jesus as a Jewish man — and through these passages, see and appreciate more clearly the Jewish roots of our Christian faith.)
In Matthew 18:22 Peter says, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive someone who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus responded, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (italics added). What did Jesus mean? Most of us immediately check the footnote in our Bible, which says, “Or, seventy times seven.” We like the fact that 490 is so much larger than 77. So that’s what Jesus was saying! Believe it or not, we are still missing the punch line.
The key to understanding Jesus’ meaning is embedded in the passage to which he alluded. The phrase “seventy-seven times” is found in only one other place in the entire Bible—Genesis 4:24, in the ancient song of Lamech. But who was this obscure biblical character? Lamech was a descendant of Cain who had inherited his forefather’s murderous instinct, but who, in his shocking lust for revenge, outdid even Cain:
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man for injuring me;
If Cain is avenged seven times,
then Lamech seventy-seven times.
Anybody who crosses Lamech would have been paid back big time—not just seven times, but seventy-seven times! In Scripture, seven is a significant number. It symbolizes completeness. But Lamech lusted for a vengeance that went far beyond completeness.
Once you understand Jesus’ reference, you understand the contrast he is making. He is saying that his followers should be as eager to forgive as Lamech was to take vengeance. Just as Lamech was vowing a punishment that far exceeded the crime, we should let our forgiveness far exceed the wrong done to us. We should be Lamech’s polar opposite, making it our goal to forgive as extravagantly and completely as possible. As Christ did.
A Discussion about Fasting
18 Once when John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, some people came to Jesus and asked, “Why don’t your disciples fast like John’s disciples and the Pharisees do?”
19 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them. 20 But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
21 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.
22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”
A Discussion about the Sabbath
23 One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples began breaking off heads of grain to eat. 24 But the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?”
25 Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you ever read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 26 He went into the house of God (during the days when Abiathar was high priest) and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. He also gave some to his companions.”
27 Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.