STUDIES IN MARK----Lesson Three
Jesus Heals A Paralytic
Mark 2:1--12; Matt. 9:1--8; Luke 5:17--26
I. After completing his first tour "throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out demons" (Mark 1:39), Jesus returned to Capernaum to teach (2:1).
A. Capernaum was "his own city" (Matt . 9:1), "the largest city on the shore of the Sea of Galilee" --Cox.
B. This was evidently his ordinary dwelling place after his rejection at Nazareth (Luke 4:30,31), where many of his mighty works were done (Matt .11:23; Luke 10:15).
C. He probably lived with Peter (Mark 1:29).
II. The primary purpose of Jesus ministry was to heal sin--sick souls (Luke 19:10; 5:32), but it is necessary to give proper attention to physical needs (Acts 10:36--38; cf. Matt. 28:18--20; Gal. 6:10).
I. JESUS TEACHES IN CAPERNAUM (Mark 2:1 ,2).
A. After some days: "And when he entered again into Capernaum after some days, it was noised abroad that he was in the house" (1).
1. The excitement of the lepers cure "some days" (perhaps weeks) earlier may not have died down, and this may have helped gather the crowd.
2. "in the house" may refer to Peters house, or another. ASV footnote: "at home." Possibly he did live with Peter for a time. See RSV & NEB.
B. He spake the word: "And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, no, not even about the door: and he spake the word unto them" (2).
1. Hearing of his miracles, "there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, who were come out of every village of Galilee and Judaea and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was with him to heal"(Luke 5:17).
2. It is possible this multitude, having "scented heresy from afar," had not gathered merely by chance or accident but by "preconcerted arrangement."
3. "And he spake the word unto them," which was his primary mission, regardless of the motives which gathered the hearers together.
4. We should use every possible opportunity to sow the seed and spread the kingdom even in the presence of enemies of Christ.
II. THE HELPLESS PARALYTIC (Mark 2:3).
A. A sick man: "And they come, bringing unto him a man sick of the palsy, borne of four" (3).
1. An illness or infirmity affecting some part of the nervous system, either feeling or power of riot ion.
2. He was a pitiful case, having lost the power to move himself.
3. Dependent upon others, he was brought upon a bed (Margin, "pallet." v. 4).
4. Paralysis is not such a dreadful disease as leprosy, "nor so painful as cancer, nor so fatal" as others. But no one likes to be such a helpless burden upon family or friends.
B. He was more than a paralytic, however: He was a sinner (Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20), and, as such, a representative man. (Cox). (See Conclusion I).
1. Sin is mankinds worst disease: It is a universal moral and spiritual ailment (Ran. 3:23; 1 John 1:8--10).
2. All men greatly need the Great Physician to be cured of this malady (Luke 5:30--32; Matt. 13:15).
III. HELPING TO REACH THE GREAT HEALER (Mark 2:4).
A. Faith overcoming obstacles: "And when they could not come nigh unto him for the crowd, they uncover ed the roof where he was; and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed whereon the sick of the palsy lay"(4).
1. Luke 5:19 says they "let him down through the tiles."
2. The rafters were covered with twigs, branches, then packed with soil, etc.; thus were easily uncovered.
B. His helpers were faithful and persistent.
1. He was "borne of four" friends or relatives, who had enough faith in the Lord to meet the demands of the occasion by overcoming difficulties.
2. Faith will find a way to remove or overcome its obstacles, when it works by love (Gal. 5:6). Those men evidently loved their lame friend.
3. The determination of those men to bring their helpless friend to Jesus is also outstanding.
4. They also demonstrate an excellent example of the power of teamwork or cooperation: As workers "together with God" (2 Car. 6:1; Phil. 1:27), they accomplished what was too much for any one person alone.
C. Sinners today must be brought to the feet of Jesus to hear his word, the "one thing needful" (Lk. 10:42).
1. Every sinner needs a friend who will do this (Prov. 11:30; Acts 26:16--18; James 5:19,20). Cf. Conclusion 2.
2. Are you ready to be such a friend (Acts 21:13; Romans 1:14--17; Mark 16:15,16)?
D. His hindrances (Some of these are always in the Lords work).
1. Hindrances without
a. Crowds & social pressure often stand between sinners and Christ.
b. The passive ones: Stood blocking the way thru the door, not meaning any harm, yet they re present a self--seeking, self--serving group, who, unmindful of the lost, hindered a good work.
c. The active hinderers: Cold carping critics, ready with fiery darts, speakers from the seat of the scornful: Malicious mean; party spirit; etc.
2. Those hindrances within.
a. We have always at hand difficulties which would prevent all obedience to Christ, if we allow them to overcome us with evil (Rom. 12:21).
b. Wrong ideas, desires, passions, loyalty to men, etc.
IV. THE GREAT PHYSICIAN FORGIVES AND HEALS (2:5--7).
A. "And Jesus seeing their faith saith unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins are forgiven" (5).
1. When faith is visible, it is living, effectual and rewarding (James 2:14--26).
2. Jesus must have surprised them with his first words.
B. The Great Physician has authority to forgive sins.
1. The words, "Son, thy sins are forgiven, affirm his divine authority, for only deity could claim to forgive without blasphemy.
2. His words also reveal his sympathetic heart.
3. His words set the stage for a demonstration of his divine authority.
4. The Great Physician has and gives what we need most: Forgiving mercy, through his gospel, which is Gods power to save (Romans 1:16).
C. Jesus censured: "But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak? he blasphemeth: for who can forgive sins but one, even God" (6,7)?
1. Knowing "the hearts of all men" (Acts 1:24; Heb. 4:13; Rev. 2:23), Jesus perceived their reasoning.
2. Based upon false premises concerning Jesus, their reasoning led them to false conclusions about the Lords actions.
V. JESUS QUESTIONS THEIR REASONING (2:8,9).
A. which is easier to say? "And straigbtwav Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, saith unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins are forgiven; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk" (8,9)?
B. According to Matthew 9:4, he asked, "Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts"?
C. The "heart" reasons, thinks, purposes, ponders, understands, desires, believes and obeys (9:4; 2:8; Acts 11:23; Luke 2:19; Matt . 13:15; Rom. 10:1,10; 6:17).
D. The Lords question presented his critics with a dilemma, as he often did, from which they could not extricate themselves.
VI. JESUS PROVES HIS AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE SIN (2:10--12).
A. Purpose of the miracle: "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins (he saith to the sick of the palsy). ." (10).
B. Three commands a paralytic could not obey: "I say unto thee, Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thy house" (11).
C. Try to visualize the scene: Tense, dramatic moment---- the man "arose, and straightway took up the bed, and went forth before them all. . . " (1 2a)
D. Effect of the miracle: ". . .they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion."
1. "They wore afraid, and glorified God, who had given such authority unto men" (Matt. 9:8).
2. "And amazement took hold on all, and they glorified God; and they wore filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today" (Luke 5:26).
1. "Palsy is a fit emblem of sins paralyzing power and of the utter helplessness of the sinner to do anything for his own relief. Yet the cross made possible a merciful provision for a palsied race" (Rom. 5:6)----Lockyer.
II. "While no moral paralytic can be saved by anothers faith, yet that one can be brought to another by him" -- Lockyer.