Summary: Jesus’ amazing ministry continues
Mark Chapter 2
Authority? Yes, And Power Too!
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
April 26th, 2009
In two sermons about chapter one of Mark, the earliest of the Gospels, we looked into several things concerning the beginnings of Jesus’ public ministry.
• John the Baptist as Jesus’ forerunner and the one announcing Jesus’ coming
• Jesus’ baptism in water, with its supernatural aspects of the Father’s voice from the sky, and the Holy Spirit manifested as a dove.
• Jesus 40 days of temptation and preparation for public ministry
• Jesus ministering in Galilee, and calling of four disciples
• Jesus teaching with authority, delivering people from demons, and healing all who came to him diseased or sick.
• A “Messianic” miracle as He healed a man from leprosy and instructed him to go and show himself to his priest for confirmation of the healing
The paralyzed man (verses 1-12)
(Read 1-2) Note that the huge crowds continued to seek out the Lord, no matter what town he went to. Being in Capernaum, his own village of residence, made no difference. It would be as if a famous evangelist came home after touring various cities, and the crowds from away followed him to his own town. Jesus spoke the Word of God to them, even as they crowded into the house.
(Read 3-4) These men pulled the tiles off from the roof of this home in order to get to Jesus. This tells me two things: 1. They believed that Jesus could and would heal their friend or loved one. Probably they had seen him healing the sick and had witnessed many amazing things. 2. They really cared about the paralyzed man, and were willing to do whatever it took to get him to Jesus; even tearing the roof off from a house.
(Read 5-7) Note that Jesus dealt with that which was most important in anyone’s life first. He forgave the man’s sins. One of the things the Jewish leaders, the Sanhedrin believed and taught, was that the Messiah (Anointed one) came, He would have authority to forgive sins. However, even though the spying scribes, from the Sanhedrin, were aware of the tremendous healings Jesus had been doing, they immediately thought evil of Him in their hearts, for doing this messianic act of forgiving sins.
(Read 8) Jesus did not “read their minds” as one famous paraphrase of the Bible states. He became “aware in his spirit” of their reasoning. This is a perfect example of the Holy Spirit speaking inwardly. This is a manifestational gift of the Holy Spirit in action. In I Corinthians 12, this is called the “word of knowledge”.
(Read 9-11) Jesus now backed up his words with action. He knew all along that the felt need of the man on the mat was healing from paralysis. It was certainly the Lord’s intention to heal this man as he had all the others. The delay here was for the purpose of exposing the heart attitude of those scribes. Now that the hardness of their hearts was clear, the time was right to heal the forgiven man.
(Read 12) As the man got up, took up his mat, and walked out, the truth that Jesus is the Messiah was starkly clear. The fact that the scribes had judged wrongly due to hard hearts and wrong motives was also made starkly clear in that moment. All were now amazed and glorifying God however.
Levi (Matthew) and Friends (13-20)
(Read 13-14) As Jesus now took a walk, with a few thousand friends, He picked out one man, a despised tax collector, a Jewish collaborator with the hated Romans, and he called that man to come and be his disciple. Levi was none other than Matthew. Like Peter, Andrew, James, and John before him. Matthew followed Jesus immediately.
(Read 15-17) It seems that Levi called over all his friends and business associates to a meal given in honor of Jesus. He was excited about Jesus and he wanted to share this great blessing with his circle of friends, even though they were not the most popular people in the region. One more time, the scribes showed hard hearts. Rather than seeing the tax collectors as likely candidates for the forgiveness of sin Jesus had recently given quite a lesson in, they saw them as scum to be avoided. They also judged Jesus for participating in a dinner with them.
Jesus’ reply was straight to the point. It is indeed sinners who need to respond to the call of the Lord. If a man knows that he is sinful, he is much more likely to respond to the Lord’s call, than someone who does not see himself as sinful, such as these scribes. The Lord was with exactly the right people. He was not joining in their sin, but he was caring about the needy condition of their souls.