Mark 2:1-22 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Jesus Came To Call Sinners
Comments for Study 3

Mark 2:1-22
Memory Verse: 17


I. Jesus Heals a Paralytic (1-12)

>1. Where was Jesus and what was he doing?

* Mark 2:1-2 "A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them."

* "A few days later" -seems to indicate less than a week's period.

* "the people heard that he" -Jesus was suddenly very popular.

* "he had come home" -by this time Capernaum was Jesus' home. He had left Nazareth where they rejected him. (Luke 4:14-31)

* "So many gathered...not even outside the door" -the people were thirsty to hear the word of God.

* "he preached the word to them" -Jesus taught the word of God whenever possible.

>Why did the four men carrying the paralytic have difficulty reaching him?

* Mark 2:3-4a "Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd..."

* "Some men came...carried by four of them" -seems to indicate that it was more than the four men carrying the mat.

* "bringing to him a paralytic" -some people can not come to Jesus by themselves because they are paralyzed (by sin, fear, doubt, etc.) they need the help of others.

* Sometimes a follower of Jesus needs others help to bring a person to Christ.

>How did they overcome the obstacles and bring their friend to Jesus?

* Mark 2:4b "...they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.

>What can we learn about friendship from them? (2 Samuel 9:1; John 15:13)

* 2 Samuel 9:1 "David asked, "Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?""

* John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

* Sacrificial

* Friendship goes beyond life.

* Show kindness.

* Open up to them.

* Help them out.

* Jesus is our friend.

* Friendship doesn't quit.

* Love.

* The four didn't do it for themselves.

* Bring friends to Jesus.

>2. How did Jesus interpret their unconventional entrance?

* Mark 2:5a "When Jesus saw their faith..."

* Jesus saw it positively.

* They were bold.

* This was very messy.

* It interrupted Jesus' speaking.

* Although the passage doesn't say where they were, this was probably either the synagogue or Peter's house. Either case the men were destroying private property.

* They were rude.

* From Jesus we learn to honor the faith of others and look at the heart of those who come to Jesus.

>How did their actions show faith?

* The four men knew how the people would react and they did not completely know how Jesus would react.

* They believed that if they meet Jesus, Jesus could heal their friend.

* They trusted Jesus. They believed in his love and power.

* Witnessing to strangers and friends several times seem rude by some.

* They did not give up where they meet obstacles.

* Genuine faith has action. (James 2:14-16)

* They had a "by any means" spirit.

>3. What did Jesus say to the paralytic?

* Mark 2:5b "...he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven.""

* "When he saw their faith he said to the paralytic" -Jesus didn't bless the four, but he did bless the paralytic. This is what the four wanted. They did not feel left out.

* Why did Jesus say this to the man and not everyone who came to him? He was burdened heavily with sin.

* "forgiven" -In Greek it is "aphiemi" meaning to send, to go, to send forth. In various applications it is interpreted elsewhere as follow; forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up.

>What did Jesus see as the man's most urgent problem?

* "Son, your sins are forgiven"-Jesus didn't say this to everyone. But he did to this man because it was his most urgent problem. It needed to be addressed right away.

* His sin problem. His spirit and mind clean.

* The paralyzed man must have had faith in Jesus too, for he did not object.

* "Son your sins are forgiven" -the paralytic was not baptized with water and yet his sins were forgiven. Thus, this paralytic did not receive John's water baptism in the ritual sense. However he did receive John's baptism spiritually, according to what God does, and thus his sins were forgiven. This is possible because Jesus is man's forgiveness. Jesus is the judge, not water. (Rev. 21:8)

>Can you think of any sinful habits or actions that can paralyze people or make them useless?

* Sin can be habit forming, or in other words addicting. Anything can be addicting. Addiction (habits) is an unnecessary out of the ordinary use and misuse of something. Sinful habits are those that are against God and man.

* Drug abuse -uncontrollable and death.

* Alcohol -uncontrollable and death.

* Pornography -distort God's order, see women as objects, child abuse, wife abuse.

* Work -do not work for God's glory.

* Overeating -destroying God's temple and making it less useful to God.

>4. Why were the teachers of the law critical of Jesus in their hearts?

* Mark 2:6-7 "Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?""

* "Who can forgive sins but God alone"-They were right in theology. Their error was that they did not know, nor accept who Jesus was.

>How did Jesus answer their criticism and change the man from a useless man into a useful man?

* Mark 2:8-11 "Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins..." He said to the paralytic, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.""

* Order to how Jesus dealt with their heart criticism:
    1) Why...which" -Jesus confronted their hearts with questions with intent for them to judge their own hearts. All men being in the image of God and having discernment, basically know the answer to these questions at most of the time.
    2) "But that you..." -then Jesus answered his own question, without waiting for their answer.
    3) "Son of Man" -Jesus stated who he was. This is a term for the Messiah. All teachers of his day would know it.
    4) Jesus healed the man (an all but impossibility for man), thus demonstrating his authority was from God.

* ""Why are you thinking these things?" -A humble heart could answer this question of Jesus. But they were proud and did not. In answering this question, they would have to acknowledge that Jesus knew what they were thinking (a divine trait), then they would have to admit what they were thinking (if their thinking was right, one would tend not to be afraid to admit it), then wait for his rebuttal (which would most likely prove them wrong for he had been doing miracles before.)

* "Which is easier to say" -For man both of these questions are hard to do. And they are impossible without the help of a supreme being. So if one could do either of these, they must have God's blessing and could therefore do the other. This is basic logic. For God it is easier to make a paralyzed man walk than to forgive his sins. The difficulty of God forgiving our sins is seen in sending his one and only Son to die for our sins. Jesus did the harder first.

>What does this reveal about Jesus?

* Jesus has authority to forgive sins.

* Jesus is God who can forgive sins.

* Jesus wants all men to know and accept who he is.

* "Immediately" -Jesus did not need to pray at this instance because he was God and knew their thoughts. We would have to pray for discernment like Daniel and Joseph did. Being God Jesus knew right away what they were thinking.

* "Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts" -We don't know what is people's hearts, but Jesus did because he is God. He sees all of men's hearts.

* His patient shepherd heart even with those who criticized him. He even wanted them to know who he was.

* Even though the teachers of the law criticized Jesus, he still wanted to them to believe he was God that could forgive sins.

* Jesus didn't have to use his power. He could have avoided the conflict. Regardless of conflict Jesus addressed the problem.

>5. How did the ordinary people respond to Jesus?

* Mark 2:12 "He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"

* They were simple in heart and an open mind.

* The teachers of the law were hard of heart because of pride.

II. The Calling of Levi (13-17)

>6. Who was Levi?

* Mark 2:13-14 "Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him."

* Matthew 9:9-13 is Levi's own account of his calling.

* "son of Alphaeus" -a Jewish name. Obviously no one of importance for he is not spoken of elsewhere, although later Alphaeus might have became important in the church after Jesus' ascension.

>What can we surmise about tax collectors of that time?

* Luke 19 records Jesus calling of Zacchaeus.

* They were corrupt and greedy.

* They were people who left God's people to work with the Roman's.

* They were lonely and outcasts.

* They were selfish.

* Despised by the people.

>Why were they called "sinners"?

* This was a term used by the Pharisees and teachers of the law for public sinners.

* They were associates of sinful people.

* Served money more than God.

* Their sin was obvious.

>7. Where was Levi when Jesus called him?

* Mark 2:14a "As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth.

* "As he walked along" -Jesus was looking for followers. Jesus fished people like he would teach his disciples to do. He did it in the most unexpected place, especially for his day.

* "he saw Levi" -no one could accept Levi. But when Jesus did no one would question it.

* Because of Jesus calling Levi, such an outcast and selfish man as he was, we can have hope for anyone.

* "sitting at the tax collectors booth"-the destiny of sinners is a little booth.

>What did Jesus say to him and how did he respond?

* Mark 2:14b ""Follow me," Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him."

* It is highly possible that Levi knew of Jesus, for his booth seems to have been in Capernaum. Everyone in Capernaum must have known of Jesus for he did so many miracles. But Levi did not go to where Jesus was. Perhaps because he felt Jesus wouldn't accept him, the social outcast.

* "Follow me"-Levi did even need a promise as the others had. (Mark 1:17) He was ready to follow Jesus.

* "and Levi got up and followed him"-In his heart Levi obviously did not like were he was at. But he saw no way out of his life and he had little strength to leave. But when Jesus came Levi saw in Jesus a way for him to change. Like Levi all men in their heart do not like were they are at. They want to change, but can not find a way out, or the way they think is the way out turns out not to be the way out.

>What would this mean practically in his life?

* He would have no permanent income.

* Tax collectors could not return to their jobs once they left for the Romans would be mad.

* He would know Jesus personally.

* He could be with Jesus.

* His life would change.

* He got what he wanted, a way out of his old life.

>Why do you think he responded so readily?

* He came to the point in his life were he hated his situation and wanted to leave.

* He accepted Jesus' words and acted on them.

* The Holy Spirit prepared him for this day.

* We are not like Jesus, we do not know when people are ready to leave their old life and come to Jesus. Therefore, we must be ready for God to move their hearts.

>8. What does the dinner party in Levi's house reveal about Levi's changed life?

* Mark 2:15 "While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him."

* He was thankful and happy.

* Even though his life was insecure because he lost his job, Levi wasn't selfish.

* He was happy because of his new direction in life.

* "many tax collectors and "sinner" -Levi did not immediately break off his friendship with old friends, but most likely if they did not change and follow Jesus, he lost contact with them for he would be walking around with Jesus and Jesus' disciples.

* "there were many who followed him" -obviously they were following Jesus. They followed because of Jesus' great word, work, and miracles.

>About Jesus?

* "While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house"-Jesus came to Levi's house, even though Levi was no saint yet. Jesus came because Levi began a life of faith.

* Jesus did not care who was his company because he knew he was there to celebrate Levi's new life decision.

* To Jesus, a "holy" life had a different meaning than the Pharisees understood it. To Jesus a holy life was separate from sin, not from sinners.

* "On hearing this, Jesus said" -Jesus addressed the criticism directly when it came up.

* "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick" -all Christians have admitted that they are sick. We also should recognize that sick people will come.

* "sick" -because of sin, fear, doubt, and unbelief.

* "sick...sinners" -synonyms to Jesus.

* "who needs a doctor" -Jesus is a spiritual doctor. We should have the attitude of a doctor (healer of sick people) as Jesus did.

>About the Pharisees?

* Mark 2:16-17 "When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.""

* "the teachers of the law who were Pharisees" -not all teachers of the law were Pharisees and vis-versa. The Pharisees became the main opponents of Jesus.

* "they asked his disciple" -they would not come to Jesus with the question. Perhaps because they were afraid of his wisdom or they wanted to draw people away from him because they were jealous.

* They didn't live to help the people.

* Criticized people all the time.

* They were proud and loved prestigious life and the praise that went with it.

III. New Wine Into New Wineskins (18-22)

>9. How did Jesus explain why his disciples were joyfully eating, and not fasting?

* Mark 2:18-20 "Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, "How is it that John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?" Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.""

* What is the point of fasting? To draw us nearer to God by relying solely on him. To deny one's flesh. Fasting is often part of repenting.

>What does it mean to Christians that Jesus is the bridegroom?

* "bridegroom" -Jesus is often called the bridegroom in the Bible. The manuscript "The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires" on this web site expounds on this.

* guests of the bridegroom" -The disciples who were all Jews called by Jesus to be trained to be leaders in his church. John the Baptist called himself a guest of the bridegroom. The Israelites were the bride in Old Testament terms. The church is the bride in New Testament terms. Basically the bride is those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah and have a relationship with God.

* Invited to his party of celebration.

* The disciples needed good fellowship like this.

>10. Why does one not put new wine in old wineskins or sew unshrunk cloth on an old garment?

* Mark 2:21-22 ""No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins."

>What does it mean to be like an old wineskin?

* Set in one's ways.

* No learning mind.

* Can't change.

* Fixed.

* We can refuse to grow, but we can't refuse to burst.

* Not just a patch job, but completely according to the gospel truth and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

>Who were the old wineskins of Jesus' day?

* People of tradition (i.e. Pharisees and the teachers of the law).

>Of ours?

* No retentive life, no learning mind, and no growth.

* Those who call themselves Christians but have not been truely accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, yet are proud of their claims and/or upbringing.

>What is new wine?

* Jesus' teaching of grace and mercy.

* The Holy Spirit

>How can we be prepared to receive it?

* Prayerfully repent and believe the good news of Jesus.