Study Notes

Mark 2:1-28

Last week, we saw the introduction of John the Baptist, who was out in the middle of nowhere preaching that men should turn away from their sins. People from all over were coming out to listen and be baptized.

Jesus was baptized, went into the wilderness for 40 days, and then began to preach and heal people. The more people He healed, the bigger the crowds got, and the less He was able to preach. So He kept moving, and telling people not to say anything about the miracles, but they told everyone. And people were coming to Him from all over.

2:1-2 Speaking The Word To Them

Whenever Jesus got a crowd, He concentrated on one thing: speaking the Word to them. The Word is the most important thing we can give to people. It is the only thing on this earth that is going to survive for eternity:

Ps. 119:89 Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.

Luke 21:33 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

God's word is eternal. It's going to outlive anything that you're putting above it in your life. It is also the most mportant and exalted thing in all of creation:

Ps. 138:2 ...Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name.

It is the only way to change your life, to find direction, to keep your way on the straight and narrow path:

Ps. 119:105 Thy word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.

Ps. 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping {it} according to Thy word.

So Jesus got this massive crowd of people crammed into and around this house, and the most important thing He could do for them was speak the Word to them.

2:3-12 Carrying A Paralytic

Everyone had heard about Jesus' miraculous healing power. Four men had a friend that was paralyzed, and wanted Jesus to heal him. But the people were so packed in, there was no way into the house.

They got up onto the roof,which was probably accessible by an outside stairway. (Roofs were made of thatch, dirt, or tile laid over beams.) They broke up the tiles and dug a hole through the roof. Picture how incredible this scene must have looked. Here a packed Bible study going on, and suddenly there's footsteps on the roof, followed by the sound of breaking tiles and digging. Suddenly, a massive hole appears in the ceiling, and a guy on a stretcher is being lowered down.

Jesus doesn't get angry, He sees their faith. He didn't see the paralytic's faith, He saw the friends' faith. Often, preachers will give you this line that you haven't been healed because you don't have enough faith. If you only had more faith, God would heal you. Well, God's healing doesn't happen just by your faith. Sometimes, nobody involved has any faith, but He heals anyway.

Once, Jesus was walking along and came upon a funeral procession.

Luke 7:12-15 Now as He approached the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, "Do not weep." And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise!" And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And {Jesus} gave him back to his mother.

Who had faith here? The widow didn't know who He was or what was going on. Her son was dead, and that was that. It certainly wasn't the faith of the dead guy - he was dead! No, it was just the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. So people aren't only healed because of their great faith. Here in Mark, it was the faith of this guy's friends that accessed the power of God for his forgiveness and healing.

Who Can Forgive Sins?

Before Jesus healed the man, He said, "Your sins are forgiven." The scribes thought, "This guy just spoke blasphemy! Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" What they were thinking was absolutely true - no one can forgive sins except God. But Jesus IS God, therefore He is able to forgive sins.

Jesus, knowing their thoughts, addresses what they are thinking. His answer to them is very simple. "Okay, I said 'Your sins are forgiven'. And you can't see any result of that. So it's easy for you to doubt My authority. So I'll tell you what - I'll say another thing that you can see the result of. You on the mat - rise up an walk." He showed them that He had the power to do the invisible - forgiving - by doing something that was visible - healing.

2:13 He Was Teaching Them

Again, we see Jesus teaching them. Giving them the Word of God. The teaching ministry has continued throughout the church age, as 1Corinthians and Ephesians tell us

1Cor. 12:28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers...

Eph. 4:11-12 And He gave some {as} apostles, and some {as} prophets, and some {as} evangelists, and some {as} pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ

So the Lord continues to teach us His Word.

2:14 Levi Is Called

Remember last week, we saw Jesus calls two sets of brothers: Peter and Andrew, James and John. All four were fishermen. Now Jesus calls a tax collector. Levi, was also called Matthew, the guy who wrote the book of Matthew.

The Roman Empire had conquered the land of the Jews, and occupied them. The way they collected taxes was to assess each region and then auctioned off the job of tax collector. The guy who won the bidding would be the region's tax collector, and be obligated to pay what the Roman government had assessed. Anything above and beyond that amount was his.

But the thing that made it worse, was that these were Jews that were taxing Jews. These guys were traitors, working for the enemy, getting rich by robbing from their own people. Now you can understand why people hated tax collectors. Tax collectors had the same social status as prostitutes and thieves. They weren't even allowed into the synagogue.

But Jesus didn't care about social status. He calls people to follow Him, and if they will, fantastic. It doesn't matter what you've done in your past. Prostitution, theft, even tax collecting!

2:15-17 Eating With Sinners

Jesus is hanging out with the lowest of the lowlifes of society. He's not hobnobbing with the religious guys in their robes. With their fancy highbrow talk and pomp and circumstance. These people won't admit they need God. No, Jesus always went to the people that knew they were distanced from God. If you're a heart doctor, you don't spend your time with people that say, "I'm great! Got no heart problems at all! Don't need you!" No, you spend your time working with people that know, "Doc, I've got chest pains all the time, I'm scared there's something wrong with me." So Jesus says,

Mark 2:17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, " it is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

That word "righteous" should be read with sarcasm in italics, since the Scribes and Pharisees were definitely not truly righteous.

2:18-20 Fasting

Fasting is where you deny yourself food to draw near to God. It is very effective, because every time you get hungry, you pray. You're feeding your spirit and denying your flesh.

But the Pharisees were fasting for their religion. Not to draw close to God, but to do something religious. God doesn't want religion. He wants you to have a relationship with Him.

When Jesus was on earth, He didn't have His disciples fast. He said, "as long as I'm here, they're not going to. This should be a time of joy." But when Jesus left them, that was going to the the time that they fasted.

2:21-22 New And Old Wineskins

It would be really dumb to us unshrunken cloth to patch a pair of pants. As soon as you washed it, it would shrink and tear even more of the pants.

The wineskins that Jesus is talking about was what they used for bottles back then. Animal skins like goatskins were sown up and new wine would be put into them. As the wine fermented, the wineskins would expand. If they were new wineskins, they would be pliable and expand easily. But old wineskins were alrady stretched, rigid, and brittle, so putting new wine into old wineskins would cause them to burst.

The gospel that Jesus was bringing was a new covenant. One of relationship, not religion. It wasn't a patch for the old covenant. It also wouldn't work to pour the new one into the old, rigid, brittle containers of the old one.

Every generation, it seems like God has to get a batch of new wineskins, because the ones from the previous generation have become old and unpliable.

2:23-28 The Sabbath For Man

What they were doing was legal according to the Jewish law, which said,

Deut. 23:25 "When you enter your neighbor's standing grain, then you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not wield a sickle in your neighbor's standing grain.

But the Pharisees were still stuck in their religion. They confront Jesus because what the disciples were doing was technically interpreted as working on the Sabbath day - harvesting. The Sabbath day was mandated by God as a day of rest, a day of no work.

Jesus reminds them of a time when their esteemed King David broke the law to feed hungry people (1Sam 21).

Then He tells them that,

Mark 2:27 ..."The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."

God gave us these laws to bless us, not to kill us. The Sabbath rule was given to make sure we'd take a day off, not to force us to go hungry.

Go to next study

Go to previous study