4. The Mark Challenge: Chapter 2 Verses 1-12

In these blog posts I am breaking down the passages in sections, but please remember, in your personal study, do not do this. You must read it as one continuous story. When you are breaking it down, the chapters and verses are no consideration and no place to end a thought and begin another. In these blog posts I will begin to tie the sections together.
Chapter 2:1-12 are a continuation of chapter 1 and should not be broken off from it and considered a separate independent story. In chapter 1 Jesus is separating men unto Himself in order to clean them for use in the Kingdom. (Notice: This is a Work only God can do, as He had done before the birth of Jesus with John the Baptist; Jesus, being God, does the same thing with the apostles he calls.) He begins His ministry cleaning the pollution of the devil and goes so far as to cleanse and heal a leper! As we saw in the last post, this event was tantamount to forgiving sin. Now, we see in the progression of the story, Jesus actually forgives someone of sins. This is now, the actual spiritual work done that was demonstrated in the physical cleansing and healing of the leper. The leper event was an outwardly event to show the spiritual cleansing He was doing throughout the entire region. This was not just a regional event or just the synagogues (which is to demonstrate the cleansing of the House and Worship of God), it is the care and attention God gives to individuals.
Jesus has now gone back into Capernaum after having been there previously casting out demons and healing people by the dozens. It was here that He displayed enormous power and authority by giving a leper back his life. His work was not completed there, so He waited a few days to go back. Apparently this place was a stronghold of the devil and Jesus was going to take it back. We must take careful notice of Jesus’ response to the house full of people where He had chosen to go. The house was so full that that people were standing outside just to get a look or maybe even a touch from Him. The first thing Jesus did was preach the Word to them. They had come to receive from Him; did they expect a sermon? Probably. They knew this was what He had been doing, but it is also possible that they did not expect this because this was not a synagogue. They had only heard of Him preaching or teaching in the synagogue. They may have only come for the touch of healing. What they got was what they needed to break the bandages placed on them by Satan; they got the Word. This was the cleansing of the Word, truly effective. Think about the reality of what is happening: The Word is being preached by The Word! To Jesus, no healing could occur until they had heard the Word and faith had been strengthened. He did this at His Own choice because He wanted them to be healed!
Of all the people He healed at this time, only one is brought to our attention by the Holy Ghost; the man who was carried by four others who tore off a roof to get him to Jesus. After hearing the Word, these men were full of faith, and it caused them to be determined to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus for help. We know Jesus preached to build faith because of what verse 5 tells us; “when He saw their faith.” The Word had done Its’ work effectively!
Now, isn’t that an interesting statement; when He saw their faith? Jesus RECOGNIZES faith! Ask yourself this question and research to find the answer: what does this verse mean when it speaks of this kind of faith? It may not be as simple of an answer as you may initially think…..
In verse 5 we see that Jesus’ response to their faith is to forgive the man of his sins. (“Their” refers to the 4 men carrying the man and the man himself). Instead of healing the man’s physical ailment, Jesus forgives his sins! Why? This is the healing that had to happen before anything else would be truly of any value (Jesus got to the heart of the issue). Also, remember, Jesus is doing mighty things to clean and rid His people of the things that bind them and are keeping them captive.
The really interesting thing about the forgiving of the sins of this man is; the action Jesus is taking and the words He uses describe it, (what He says to the man) inform the man that the action is taking place at this very moment and it is so complete it has been done at this one single moment in time. The forgiveness was complete; there was no need for the man to go the Temple and offer a sacrifice! That is what would have happened under the man’s religion normally, but Jesus came to complete and fulfill the Law!
The men of the Law (the scribes) heard this and thought they knew better; they thought only God could forgive sins. You know something? They were absolutely correct! They missed the mark by thinking Jesus was blaspheming; it was as though Jesus was claiming to be God. He was! Jesus even knew what was in their heart when they thought this. When He confronted them on their thoughts shouldn’t they have recognized this as a strong indication that He was no mere man?!
It is an easy thing to just tell someone they are forgiven because there is no physical proof that can be produced. If they need proof of the power of His Word, then let there be proof! This is really very merciful on His part; He shows those men that refuse to believe Him Who He really is. He told the man to get up, pick up his bed, and walk. He didn’t do or say anything else! He only said He had power on earth to do this (and it was for their own good). But there was none of this needed to bring about the healing; it was only for those in the hearing of it.
This lame man is demonstrative of the inability of the religious leaders to help anyone, to be able to deliver anyone, or to effectively bring anyone to a relationship with God. The response of the people who witnessed this miracle was to say “they had never seen it on this fashion;” the religious leaders hadn’t either! The religious leaders should have had the kind of faith to carry the people to God in their stead, but they were powerless. They had missed the Heart of God’s Word. They had been more concerned about the rule of the Law being kept. They, in missing the intent of the Law, had missed God completely. Think of it this way; God is standing right in front of them, literally, and they don’t even recognize Him!
That this man can now take himself to his own home is the ultimate freeing from bondage (physically speaking), but that he has been made righteous before God is, well, AMAZING! The man went forth before them all; testifying to saving power of Jesus. The people glorified God; as well they should.
If Jesus had the authority to completely forgive sin BEFORE He went to the cross, just think how rich, complete, and full His forgiveness is now! This is a point you need to search out; why did He have to die if He could already make people right before God?
This story is chosen by the Holy Ghost to tell; it is there for us. There were many healings that day, but this one was especially significant; look what follows: the calling of Matthew, the questioning about fasting and the new wine in old bottles, and then the Sabbath debate. We see Jesus offering the people, everyone of them, the opportunity to be forgiven, delivered, and be out of the bondage of the taskmasters (the religious leaders’ demands of the Law). The people suffer from a paralysis of faith and unable to walk with God as they should, but God had not forgotten them or forsaken them. He is still the same God. He will never forsake you!