Mark 2:1-12

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 5, 2004


Jesus’ ministry has begun.  After being baptized by John and then spending forty days being tempted in the wilderness, Jesus was in the town of Capernaum where He called Peter, Andrew, James, and John.  He’s cast out demons and healed sick people.  Then He left Capernaum for a quick tour around the Galilee area where He healed a leper and for a time was so overwhelmed with crowds that He couldn’t even spend time in any of the cities.

Mark 2:1-12

:1 …it was noised that he was in the house.

Jesus was probably gone on His preaching tour through Galilee for at least a couple of weeks.  He apparently entered Capernaum quietly and it took a couple of days before the people realized that He had come back.

He came back to Peter’s house.

:2 he preached the word unto them.

he preachedlaleo – to utter a voice or emit a sound; to speak; This is not the usual word for “preach” and in a loud proclamation.  This is a word that speaks of “lovely” sounds.

There’s a line in the old hymn In the Garden that says, “He speaks, and the sound of His voice is so sweet, the birds hush their singing.”

He’d be speaking in a conversational tone to the folks in the house.  One commentator writes, “The beauty of His voice, the charm of His manner, and the tenderness and love in His countenance, must have come to this weary, sick group of people as a breath from heaven.”[1]

:3 …bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

one sick of the palsyparalutikos – paralytic; the fellow can’t move.


You don’t have to do it alone.

The goal is to get the man to Jesus.  They can’t help the man, but Jesus can.  Getting the man to Jesus isn’t an easy thing.  It’s going to take a team of fellows working together.
There’s a team here carrying this fellow.
Baseball – for the Angels to get into the League Championship Series, they’re going to have to play well as a team.  One of their pitchers, Kelvim Escobar is probably their best pitcher, but he doesn’t have the best record.  He’s had a problem in many of the games he pitches because when he’s pitched, the Angels haven’t scored a lot of runs, and so he ends up losing even though he’s only allowed a run or two.
Casey Stengel said: “It’s easy to get good players.  Gettin’ em to play together, that’s the hard part.”
It’s really not all that important that we get all-stars on our team either.
Dr. Halbeck, a missionary of the Church of England in the South of Africa, from the top of a neighboring hill saw lepers at work. He noticed two particularly, sowing peas in the field. One had no hands; the other had no feet: these members being wasted away by disease. The one who lacked the hands was carrying the other, who lacked the feet, upon his back; and he again carried the bag of seed, and dropped a pea every now and then, which the other pressed into the ground with his feet: and so they managed the work of one man between the two.

-- 6000 Sermon Illustrations, Edited by Elon Foster, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992), p. 309.

Russia – eleven people from our church went to Russia and learned that as a team you can do a lot of cool things for Jesus.  Each person had an important part.  Each person contributed to the overall work.
God has a great work for us to do, bringing people to Jesus.  But you don’t have to do it alone.  Be a part of the team.

:4 …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 …

the pressochlos – a crowd; a multitude

uncovered the roofapostegazo (“away from” + “roof”) – to uncover, take off the roof

The Greek is:  “they unroofed the roof”

broken it upexorusso (“out” + “dig”) – to dig out, to dig through

bedkrabbatos – a pallet, possibly just a thickly padded quilt or a mat.

Houses use to have something like a patio on the roof where families would sleep on hot summer nights.  There was probably an outside stairway up to the roof.  The roof would have been made of a combination of mortar, tar, ashes, and sand on top of a tile base.  Sometimes grass would grow on the roof and sometimes goats would even graze on the grass on the roof.  The fellows dig through the layers and pry up the tiles to lower the fellow through.

Matthew also gives an account of this incident (Mat. 9), but Matthew doesn’t mention the part about the roof being torn up.  Since Mark is getting most of his information from Peter’s recollections, it’s interesting to note that Peter is the one that remembers the part about the roof (Luke also mentions the roof as well, Luke 5:19).

Sometimes ministry is costly.  I wonder what Peter thought about the repair bill he’d have after it was all over.  But sometimes when Jesus is a part of your life, there’s a cost involved.

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

saweido – to see; to see with the mind’s eye, signifies a clear and purely mental perception

sonteknon – a term of affection, “my child”.

forgivenaphiemi – to send away; give up a debt, forgive

It’s used to carry the idea of “letting go” as in “letting the pot drop”.

It’s used by the ancients to talk about letting go of a debt as in “total remission” of certain taxes.  Our IRS doesn’t use this term, but the ancients did.

Today we talk about renegotiating a credit card debt as “forgiving” part of your bill.


Can Jesus see my faith?

Faith isn’t supposed to stay invisible.
Faith is learning to trust in something you don’t see, but when you trust in Jesus, it will cause you to react.  It will change the course of your life.  It will cause you to do things.
(James 2:14-26 KJV)  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Can a faith that doesn’t result in action be the right kind of faith?  No.
{15} If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, {16} And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? {17} Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. {18} Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.
People ought to be able to see how real your faith is by the kinds of things you do.

These four friends demonstrated their faith that Jesus could help their friend by doing whatever they could to get their buddy to Jesus.

{19} Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. {20} But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? {21} Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? {22} Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? {23} And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. {24} Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. {25} Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? {26} For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Doug Nichols of Bothell, Washington writes,
While serving with Operation Mobilization in India in 1967, tuberculosis forced me into a sanitarium for several months. I did not yet speak the language, but I tried to give Christian literature written in their language to the patients, doctors, and nurses. Everyone politely refused. I sensed many weren't happy about a rich American (to them all Americans are rich) being in a free, government-run sanitarium. (They didn't know I was just as broke as they were!)
The first few nights I woke around 2:00 A.M. coughing. One morning during my coughing spell, I noticed one of the older and sicker patients across the aisle trying to get out of bed. He would sit up on the edge of the bed and try to stand, but in weakness would fall back into bed. I didn't understand what he was trying to do. He finally fell back into bed exhausted. I heard him crying softly.
The next morning I realized what the man had been trying to do. He had been trying to get up and walk to the bathroom! The stench in our ward was awful.  Other patients yelled insults at the man. Angry nurses moved him roughly from side to side as they cleaned up the mess. One nurse even slapped him. The old man curled into a ball and wept.  The next night I again woke up coughing. I noticed the man across the aisle sit up and again try to stand. Like the night before, he fell back whimpering.
I don't like bad smells, and I didn't want to become involved, but I got out of bed and went over to him. When I touched his shoulder, his eyes opened wide with fear. I smiled, put my arms under him, and picked him up.  He was very light due to old age and advanced TB. I carried him to the washroom, which was just a filthy, small room with a hole in the floor. I stood behind him with my arms under his armpits as he took care of himself. After he finished, I picked him up, and carried him back to his bed. As I laid him down, he kissed me on the cheek, smiled, and said something I couldn't understand.
The next morning another patient woke me and handed me a steaming cup of tea. He motioned with his hands that he wanted a tract.  As the sun rose, other patients approached and indicated they also wanted the booklets I had tried to distribute before. Throughout the day nurses, interns, and doctors asked for literature.
Weeks later an evangelist who spoke the language visited me, and as he talked to others he discovered that several had put their trust in Christ as Savior as a result of reading the literature.  What did it take to reach these people with the gospel? It wasn't health, the ability to speak their language, or a persuasive talk. I simply took a trip to the bathroom.
Does your relationship with the Lord affect your actions?  Can Jesus see your faith?  Can the people around you see that you’re different?  They’ll pay attention to your words if your actions say something too.


Digging up roots

Why does Jesus say “your sins are forgiven” instead of saying “be healed”?
Because this man’s deepest need was to be forgiven.
Not every illness is a direct result of sin, but in this man’s case, apparently his wretched condition came from the sin in his life.
Jesus deals with the root cause, not just the symptom.
This is one of the chief things Jesus came to do, to bring forgiveness.



When we talk about forgiving each other, we usually have the idea of not feeling bad about someone anymore.  A person has hurt our feelings or offended us, and when we say we “forgive” them, we think about feeling better about them.
There’s an article this week in Newsweek about the importance of forgiving others and how unforgiveness affects your actual physical health.  Yet the article isn’t even talking about real forgiveness, it’s just talking about letting go of bitterness.
But the Bible’s idea of forgiveness is not about feeling better.  It’s about resolving a debt.
First, the debt is paid.

When a sinner asks God for forgiveness, God is able to apply the payment necessary to resolve the debt.

The consequence of sin is death.  To be forgiven correctly, someone needs to pay the debt, someone needs to die.

God sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross, paying for my sin, dying in my place, so I could be correctly forgiven.

Second, the debt is replaced with righteousness

God has let go of the debt I owed, and replaced it with the righteousness of Christ.

(2 Cor 5:21 KJV)  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

God took our sin and exchanged it for the righteousness of Christ, so we are not considered by God to be a good as Jesus.

:6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,

scribesgrammateus – religious leaders, men skilled in studying the Law of Moses.

These guys are also in Peter’s house, listening to Jesus teach.

reasoningdialogizomai – to bring together different reasons, they’re thinking some of these issues through.

These guys aren’t talking out loud, this is all going on in their minds.  And Jesus knows what they’re thinking.

:7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

blasphemiesblasphemia – slander; these fellows think that Jesus is speaking in a way that is slandering God.

They are partly correct in their thinking.

When it comes to forgiveness, if I do something to hurt you, you can forgive me, but there’s an aspect of sin in which sin not only offends another person, but sin offends God.

Ultimately, only God can forgive sin:

(Psa 130:4 KJV)  But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
(Isa 43:25 KJV)  I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
(Dan 9:9 KJV)  To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
(Psa 103:3 KJV)  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

These religious leaders consider what Jesus has said to be blasphemy because He’s talking as if He’s forgiving the offense towards God.

They consider Jesus’ statement on par as if saying that He has the same authority as God.

But they are missing a few possibilities.  What if God has given Jesus the authority to forgive sins?  What if Jesus is actually God in the flesh?

:8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit

He knew what was going on in their hearts.

:9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy …

The scribes are having difficulty with Jesus telling the man that he was forgiven.  Yet in reality, it’s easy to just offer sweet words like “you’re forgiven” when you have no way of proving whether or not it’s true.  You’d have to be able to access the records of heaven to find out if you were truly forgiven.  It’s not so easy to tell someone who’s paralyzed to get up and walk.  It’s easy to tell whether that statement works or not simply by looking at the man.

:10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins…

powerexousia – authority, delegated authority

Jesus is going to give these scribes a big taste of who He is.  He’s going to make a big statement about His being the Messiah, about His being God in the flesh.

:12 they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

they were all amazedexistemi – We get our word “ecstasy” from this word; to throw out of position, displace; to amaze, to astonish, throw into wonderment; to be out of one’s mind.  They are blown away with what just happened.


Jesus can forgive you too

(1 John 1:9 KJV)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
To “confess” means literally “to agree with”.  When I confess my sins, I admit my sins to God, and I agree with God that they are wrong.  I also agree with God that Jesus has paid for my sins.  Though it can be valuable to confess my sins to another person (Jam. 5:16), forgiveness comes when I confess my sins to God.
He is faithful because He always will forgive a sinner who confesses his sin to Him.
He is just because He has met the requirements of justice.  He hasn’t just swept the crime under the rug.  He’s paid for it.  God met the requirements of justice when His Son Jesus died on the cross and gave up His infinite life to die in our place.
He forgives our sins – He lets go of them.  They no longer stand between us and Him.

(Micah 7:18-19 KJV)  Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. {19} He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

(Psa 103:12 KJV)  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

(Jer 31:34 KJV) …for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

He cleanses us – He washes us clean.

(Isa 1:18 KJV)  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

David wrote,
(Psa 32:3-5 NLT)  When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. {4} Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude {5} Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, "I will confess my rebellion to the LORD." And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
Do you need God’s forgiveness today?

[1]Wuest, K. S. (1997, c1984). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (Mk 2:2). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.