Notes Mark 2 A


Last week we saw the beginning of the compassionate miracles that marked the ministry of Jesus. Wherever miracles are happening there is always going to be opposition and that is just what we see emerging in this chapter. The Pharisees and Scribes take it upon themselves to accuse and try to discredit Jesus on 3 different occasions in this one chapter. 

First they accuse Jesus of blasphemy because he takes it upon himself to forgive the sins of he paralyzed man. 

Second they attempt to taint His reputation because He chooses to eat with publicans and sinners.

Third they accuse Him of lack of piety because neither He nor his disciples fast. 

Now all of this opposition at this point is just words, verbal complaints but we will see the opposition progress as we also witness the Glory of God progresses in the life and ministry of Jesus. 

Chapter 2 verse 1

And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. 

I love this story because it show me that even though Jesus has something else on His agenda He is always ready to help those who will come to Him if faith. 

Verse 1 

Jesus was in the house. What home? Well some commentator believe it was Peter’s house where Jesus healed his mother-in-law and that this house served as a base of operation for Jesus and his disciples, because Matthew 4:13 tells us:

 “And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:

 Jesus never owned a home, Peter lived here and last week we read about Jesus visiting the home of Peter and this week it appear the writer just assumes we know what house he is referring to. Remember Mark received much of his information from Peter so it is believe this was his house. 


Verse 2

And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. 

1. I also want you to notice that the people did not wait until Jesus returned to the synagogue but as soon as they heard he was in town they gathered to meet him. 

Jesus is here, Jesus is here come let us go. We do not have to wait until we enter a church service to meet with Jesus.  

Matthew 18:20

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

2. Jesus is preaching the word when suddenly He is interrupted by thuds on the roof and then the roof is being torn away. Now we do not see any inclination that Jesus is upset that His sermon is being interrupted. He does not say I am sorry but this in not the order of the service; you boys are just going to have to wait until I finish and then maybe we will have prayer for the sick. 

No; we see nothing of the kind, in fact this is really a living example of what Jesus would later teach. 

Matthew 11:12 

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

Remember it is from the time of John the Baptist that Jesus began to teach that the Kingdom of heaven was at hand.
I like the Amplified version:

And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize--a [a]share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion]. 

And we see here a prime example of this verse and Jesus is more than willing to divert from His preaching to honor the faith of these men. 

Verse 3-4

And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. 

I want you to see that this miracle is another physical story that shows a spiritual truth. I also want to remind you that when I say this; I want you to know that these stories actually happen and the Holy Spirit handpicked them to be recorded for us to see the truth that lies behind the scenes.  

This man was sick with the palsy. In the Strongs the Greek word palsy means “paralytic”. Today Paralysis affects 1 in 50 people and can be particle, affecting just part of the body, or it can affect basically the entire body. 

This man was paralyzed, he wanted to come to Jesus, he wanted to be healed but he did not have the strength to get up and get to Jesus. 

Today there are many just like this spiritually, they want to come to Jesus, they want to be set free but they just do not have the strength to move.  

When I was studying about paralysis the encyclopedia said that there are many causes for physical paralysis and I am telling you today in the realm of the Spirit there are many causes of paralysis. 

Some are paralyzed by addictions, they want free but they just do not have the strength to move.

Some are paralyzed by fear; all they have heard about God is an angry God that wants to send them to hell.

Some are paralyzed by guilt; how could God ever forgive me after what I have done. 

So what can we do to help these people?

There are several lessons we can learn about this story. 

First, these men dared to do the difficult. That is where faith always manifests itself. They had to invest their time and their energy. It was not easy to bring this man to the Lord. They had to carry him, who knows how far, through the streets of the city -- perhaps many blocks. And when they found the doorway blocked, they had to carry him up an outside stairway to the roof. . Most homes in those days used the roof for many things and they most likely would have had an outdoor stairway. We do not know how heavy he was, but it is not easy to carry a full-grown man up a flight of stairs. Yet these men managed this difficult task. They dared to do the difficult. What an illustration this incident gives us of bringing OTHERS to Christ. 

Remember I am not just talking about the physical; there are times when you are going to have to carry someone into the presences of the Lord in prayer. As Paul put it;

Come boldly before the throne of grace that you may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

It may not be easy, it is going to take your energy, your strength, for they have none. 

We too have discovered that when you attempt to bring someone to Christ or to help someone in the Name of Jesus it is often not easy, you are going to have to put some effort into it. But remember the Lord is the strength of your life, he will lend you His strength, you cannot do it on your own but In Christ you can do all things. 

Second they dared to be different. They were not limited by the fact that it was not at all customary to break up a roof. When they met with opposition they refused to be denied. 

If you are attempting to bring someone to Jesus to be healed to be set free you are going to meet with obstacles. But remember Jesus said; Be of good cheer I have overcome the world. 

Other people are going to get in your way; many who were there that night were there to see and hear Jesus but many were not as we shall see; there were the religious Pharisees and Scribes looking on and posed to criticize even Jesus, much less these men who dared to do the different and the difficult. 

When they found that the door was blocked, they did not sit down, as we probably would have done, and appoint a committee to research the various ways to get to Jesus.

They did not blame the other people who were in the way. 

They did not say, well we tried, it must not be God's will, that they get healed, or delivered, or set free. 

No, they just did what was necessary, and risked the disapproval of not only of the owner of the house but also every person there by interrupting the meeting in order to get their friend to Jesus. The remarkable thing is that Jesus never rebuked them, never criticized their interruption. He never does. There is never an incident recorded in which Jesus got uptight or disturbed about an interruption by someone intent on receiving something from him and pressing through to him despite the disapproval of those around. Remember the story of Mary who came to anoint Jesus with the precious ointment, she did not belong there, they criticized her for who she used to be, yet she was determined to press on despite criticism. These men here in this story dared to do the unorthodox. They got out of the box of religious tradition. If we are going to get to Jesus or bring other people to the Lord we are going to have to break out of tradition and dare to be different. 

Third, they dared to do the costly. Somebody had to pay for that roof. Imagine the face of the owner, sitting there at the feet of Jesus, when he hears this scratching on the roof. He looks up and, to his amazement; the tiles are beginning to move. Then daylight appears, and suddenly he has a large hole in his roof! I do not know what his thoughts were. He probably wondered if his Homeowners Policy would cover it or not. Or maybe he was mentally adding up the bill to present to these men. But somebody had to pay that bill, somebody repaired that roof, and surely it was one, if not all, of these men. They dared to do the costly. That is faith! They laid it on the line -- at cost to themselves. What a witness this is to what it takes to bring people to Christ! Sometimes when we have a need to be met it is going to cost us something. We can not pay for Jesus’ help but we do reap what we sow. 
And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize--a [a]share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion]. 

THE LESSON HERE IS TO BRING SOMEONE TO JESUS IT WILL COST YOU SOMETHING, TIME, STRENGTH, MONEY but it is a well spent investment and the Lord will bless you for it. 

Verse 5

When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

When He saw their faith; they refused to give up, they refused to be denied, they were going to get their friend, brother, sister, daughter, son, or whoever to Jesus. It may cost them time, energy, the disapproval of the religious. There will be obstacles but they refused to be denied. That is faith and faith will always move the hand of God. 

Matthew 17:20

…for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, 
Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

I want to take just a moment and look at this verse out of Matthew.

First Jesus said; If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed. 

Faith is something you possess.

Romans 12:3 tells 

…God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

BUT Faith must be acted upon to move the hand of God.

James 2:20 tells us:

faith without works is dead

We also see from the verse in Matthew that our words are also related to our faith.

That does not mean we can just speak something enough times and it will come to pass. But the Bible does tell us that our words matter. 

Proverbs 6:2

Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.

This if for both good and bad. 

Hebrews 4:14-16

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Not just our words, but God's word. Remember Revelations 12:11

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony;

Psalms 138:2

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

Finally

Psalms 37:4-5

Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 

REFUSE TO BE DENIED. 

So Jesus sees their faith and says:

 “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”

1. In the realm of the Spirit it was Sin that paralyzes those who want to come but just can’t. But I also want to point out that sin can cause physical ailments. Do you know that doctors will tell you that 50% of all illnesses are directly caused by emotional anguish? People are really sick but the illness has it roots in bitterness, unforgiveness, worry, anguish. It has been said that you do not get ulcers from what you eat but by what is eating you. 

2. Jesus forgave him before he ever did anything. This is what will give them the strength to receive their healing is the fact that Jesus forgives them. Jesus did not heap condemnation on them, no he spoke the Good News, I forgive you, I accept you, I love you. 

In fact listen to Matthew version of this story, Jesus told the man; 

Matthew 9:2

And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

Don’t just sorrow over your sin, wishing you had never gotten caught up in it. But rejoice because Jesus has made a way of escape. Jesus did not point him down he pointed him up.

Now the second part of this story deals with the response of the religious leaders. 

Verse 6-8

But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

First we see the scribes are questioning this miracle and the words of Jesus “in their hearts”. They were shocked but they were not discussing it among themselves. 

Then we see the gift of discernment in action. Jesus knows by the Spirit what these men where thinking and feeling in their heart. 

Verses 9

Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? 

I want you to look verse 9 very closely. Jesus asked the Scribes; which is easier to say not which is easier to do. 
We all know it is easier to heal a body then it is to forgive sins. Right eating can heal a body, doctors can heal a body. Time can heal a body. But only God can forgive sin. We can forgive someone who sins against us but we have no ability to forgive or pardon sin. 

So it is easier to heal a body then to forgive sin. But that is not what Jesus said, Jesus said which is easier to say..
Anyone can say. Your sins have been forgiven, a priest can give absolution but he cannot forgive sin. There is no outward sign that someone has been forgiven. It is by faith. But now if someone says you are healed and skeptics are to believe; there had better be evidence. These men were skeptics of Jesus and His Word, remember Jesus had been preaching when all this took place. 

The point is Jesus said if I just told the man who is bound with this illness because of sin in his life that he has been forgiven you would have no outward evidence that it was true. But if I say to this man that is paralyzed your sins are forgiven now be healed the evidence you need is in the natural act. 

Verses 10-11

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

The proof that you are looking for is in the healing. 

Jesus said in John 14:10-12

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

I love these verses in the amplified version

Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? What I am telling you I do not say on My own authority and of My own accord; but the Father Who lives continually in Me does the ([a]His) works (His own miracles, deeds of power). Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the [very] works themselves. [If you cannot trust Me, at least let these works that I do in My Father's name convince you.]I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.

Let your words line up with your works!

Now the first half of these verses Jesus was talking to the Pharsees and Scribes but the second half Jesus is speaking to the man sick with the palsy.

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

It reminds me of 

Isaiah 60:1 Arise, Shine for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”

Amplified

ARISE [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you--rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!

That is just what had happened to this man who was paralyzed by sin. Paraphrasing Jesus, if I may, Get up, get out of that sin, and leave nothing behind. Do not leave any reason to have to return. Take up your bed and go. I have given you a new start, Trust me, take up your bed and walk out my deliverance, my glory is upon you and I have made a way. 

Verse 12

And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

You might say the proof is in the pudding. 

Verse 13

And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.

The curtain closes and as it reopens we find Jesus once again by the sea side. Here is Jesus He is going fishing for another disciple. Who will he catch today?

To often we get the picture of Jesus that He was this mild manner almost milk toast kind of guy who went around doing good and never offending anyone, never provoked anyone but always tried to keep the peace. In a sense that is true, it is certainly true that Jesus went around doing good but He was far from milk toast and He often provoked certain groups of people. Remember when we learned what the word meek means. Meekness which is a character of Jesus, is strength under control. Jesus never backed down from confronting wrong but He was not a revolutionist as we think of today. He would not have been a suicide boomer or a terrorist! But He did strike such fear in and among certain groups that the only way they could get rid of Him was to kill Him. 

 FIRST remember what we learned about Jesus’ choice of disciples, how He chose his first disciple from those who had been rejected by the religious elite early on in their life. 

Well now Jesus is going fishing again now look where He goes to choose His next disciple. 

Verse 14-16

And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him. And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 

Levi, his name means “to borrow or attach”. However we know Levi as Matthew, many commentators believe that Jesus was the one who changed Levi’s name to Matthew, it is certain that Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter and Jesus nicknamed James and John the “Sons of thunder” at any rate Matthew means “Gift of God” and this is how scripture remembers Levi not as a borrower or one who snags on to something, but As a Gift of God.

 Isn’t it amazing how Jesus can change our nature? 

Now Jesus finds Levi setting at the receipt of custom meaning Levi was a tax collector. Tax men were no more loved in Jesus day then they are today. In fact, these tax collectors were very often hated. For the most part, they were trained extortionist, making their living by taxing the people beyond what the law demanded. They were paid no salary -- only given the opportunity to fleece everyone they collected from. They did have to turn in a certain percentage to the government, according to law, but they were allowed to collect what they could and their pay was any amount they could collect above what they had to turn in. They were usually rich men, but hated by all for their practices.

But God. Paul was always using that tiny phrase. But God...

Ephesians 2:4-5

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

1 Corinthians 1:27

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

Jesus saw something in Levi that everyone else missed. That is always how Jesus looks at us. He does not focus on what we are but what we can be if we will come to Him. Now Levi lives in Capernaum where Jesus now had his headquarters. Hundreds where coming to hear Jesus speak and to be healed so there is no way Levi had not heard about Jesus and it is very likely he may have heard Jesus speak. 

Jesus comes to Levi and looks at him and says “Follow me.” The next thing we see Jesus is eating at this man’s house, eating food that was paid for by ill gotten gain, hanging around with friends of Levi and no telling what they did for a living. Birds of a feather flock together so I am sure it was not what may have been thought of as a righteous living. Now Jesus gave no thought to His own reputation, He gave no thought what the religious leaders might think of Him; in fact I think Jesus was looking for them to react, looking for an opportunity to expose their self-righteous heart. 
So we find Jesus here in the midst of fellow tax collectors and SINNERS. Oh were the scribes and Pharisees absolutely scandalized!

Oh, dear this is horrible do you see what Jesus is doing, oh, my this is awful. Now get this, Jesus was not sitting wagging his finger at them, he was not giving them a piece of his mind. No He was eating and drinking with them. 
So these religious men pull aside Jesus’ disciple, they aren’t ready to confront Jesus they are trying to slip through the back door to get to Jesus. So VERSE 16 said to his disciples….

But they do not get away with it, Jesus heard them. Last time Jesus confronted them, He perceived what was in their heart but this time He hears them and He answers their question in verse 17.

Verse 17

When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

The Matthew version adds something else.

Matthew 9:13

But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Amplified

Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy [that is, [a]readiness to help those in trouble] and not sacrifice and sacrificial victims. For I came not to call and invite [to repentance] the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), but sinners (the erring ones and all those not free from sin).(A)

Notice Jesus does not defend the activities of these rowdy men. Jesus calls them sick. Jesus knows they need to change or they will die, that is what sickness does it strips a person of strength, often self esteem because they can no longer work or take care of their family and ultimately it causes death. So Jesus agrees these men are sick BUT Jesus came to heal the sick, spiritually as well as physically. 

Will you go and learn what this means; Will you learn to show mercy and not judgment. 

DON’T JUDGE THE SINNER SEE THEM AS IN NEED OF HEALING! BUT DO ALL THAT YOU CAN DO TO GET THEM TO THE HEALER. 

I want to make one more point. Remember Jesus said 

I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Contrary to what some might think, Jesus does not hate these religious leaders. He is trying to expose their heart, their sin so he can heal them as well. 

The sinners know they are not righteous, they know they have sin, but most if not all of the scribes and Pharisees felt "righteous" in right standing with God, but Jesus was trying to show them, it was not their sacrifices, not their religious activities that made them right with God, but it faith in God, Faith in Jesus and a heart of love and mercy.

Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy [that is, [a]readiness to help those in trouble] and not sacrifice and sacrificial victims. For I came not to call and invite [to repentance] the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), but sinners (the erring ones and all those not free from sin).(A)

Verse 18 3rd confrontation.

And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?

First in their hearts they accuse Jesus of blasphemy because he takes it upon himself to forgive the sins of he paralyzed man. 

Second they attempt to taint His reputation because He chooses to eat with publicans and sinners.

Third they accuse Him of lack of piety because neither He nor his disciples fast. 

Now there is only 1 fast day that was required by God of the Jews and that was Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. However the Pharisees fasted twice a week and it appears that the disciples of John followed this custom. 

It also appears that this night was a “fast day” for the Greek word means they do fast, or are fasting

Look how Jesus addresses this problem. 

And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. 

It seems odd that the Pharisees are talking about fasting and Jesus starts talking about a wedding. 
Jesus is trying to tell them that they have their religion or their relationship with God all wrong. 

They treat serving God as though it were a funeral, something hard and sorrowful. 

This is the way religion or following the “law” is. 

Listen to what Romans 7:8-10 says about the law.

But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.

Jesus said in me a relationship with God is not a funeral it’s a wedding. It is a time of rejoicing, a time of being united together. 

Now there are two opinions as to when; and then shall they fast in those days is.

Some commentators believe it is from the time that Jesus died and will last until Jesus returns.

Others believe it is from the time Jesus died until the day of Pentecost.  

This group says; there are times of mourning in our life, times of sorrow. But in every such instance there is always the availability of Jesus Christ by his Spirit to step into the situation and turn our sorrow into joy our fasting into feasting. 

You may want to fast to die to the flesh to die to the things of this world but fasting is not required for the presents of Christ in your life. 

I have a tendency to agree with the latter. You may want and need to fast but no activity you do will replace a joyous relationship with the living God. 

Jesus parable of the patched garment is closely connected to his answer about fasting. 

Verses 21-22

No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles. 

The “religion” of the Pharisees required fasting. But the Gospel of Jesus was new; remember Mark 1:27

And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this?

Although Jesus came to fulfill the law; he did not nor would not adhere to the traditions and practices added on to the law. His gospel was new wine and could not be set by the boundaries of the traditions of men nor could it be used to patch up the legalistic practices of the Pharisees and Scribes. 

When God begins to move in a new and fresh way we often want to add it to our old agenda. We can’t seem to break out of “Church” as usual, we want a new and fresh move but we have a hard time giving up our old traditions. 

It is kind of like Nicodemus who earnestly came to Jesus seeking “new wine or new teaching” to put new vigor in his life. But Jesus said; No There must be a new creation, a new birth, new life straight from the Spirit of God. 

If you want to drink New Wine, break out of the old traditions that have settled into your life and seek to experience God in a fresh and new way. Move In Him not For Him!

Seek Him give him your heart not just your works When you sense a fresh presence and renewed joy don’t try to fit it into you old agenda, but be willing to move with God and He will move in you.