Mark 2:1 ¶ And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
Mark 2:2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
Eventually, Jesus and His disciples returned to Peter’s house in Capernaum. Almost immediately, so many people gathered there that they ran out of room and no one else could get near Him. Jesus then proceeded to preach the word to them, to talk to them about the Old Testament scriptures.
Mark 2:3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
Mark 2:4 And when 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 wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
A group of four men brought a friend who was sick of the palsy (paralyzed), obviously hoping that Jesus would heal him. When they couldn’t get through the crowd, they got up on the roof and removed a portion of it so that they could lower the bed upon which their friend lay. When Jesus saw the evidence of their faith (referencing the man and his four friends), He told the paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven. That certainly wasn’t what they were expecting to hear, I am sure; they expected to hear Him tell the man to get up and walk.
Mark 2:6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
Mark 2:7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
Mark 2:8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?
Mark 2:9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
Mark 2:10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
Mark 2:11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.
Mark 2:12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.
The words of Jesus really bothered some of the scribes who were there; they reasoned in their hearts that Jesus was speaking blasphemy because only God can forgive sins. When Jesus realized in His spirit (through the revelation of the Holy Spirit) what they were thinking, He asked them why they were thinking such thoughts. In my opinion, that should have made them recognize that they were dealing with someone very special; He could even read their minds. Shouldn’t this at least have made them consider the fact that He might be the promised Messiah? After all, these men were supposedly those most knowledgeable about the scriptures, and the prophecies of Daniel had identified the timeframe of His coming.
Jesus reasoned (my paraphrase), “Is it easier to tell a paralyzed man his sins are forgiven than to tell him to get up and walk? As a testimony to you that I have the power to forgive sins, I command you (paralyzed man) to pick up your bed and go home.” And he did!
Everyone was amazed and began praising God. They talked among themselves about how they had never seen such a miracle.
Jesus often referenced Himself as the “Son of man.” Some commentators point to Daniel 7 since that is the term used there to describe Him when He is seen being given the rule of His eternal kingdom.
Daniel 7:13–14 “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
I liked this quote Guzik used from Wiersbe about forgiveness: “Forgiveness is the greatest miracle that Jesus ever performs. It meets the greatest need; it costs the greatest price; and it brings the greatest blessing and the most lasting results.”
I believe that Jesus lived as the perfect man while here on earth. Everything He did in the realm of the supernatural I believe He did through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. It is only as the perfect man that Jesus qualified as the only acceptable sacrifice for our sin. I am reminded that He possessed the gifts of the Spirit without limitation.
John 3:34–35 “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.”
Jesus lived in complete faith and dependence on the Father and was empowered and enlightened by the Holy Spirit in every way needed to help Him accomplish the purpose for which He came.
It is a fearful yet awesome truth that the LORD knows what we are thinking.
1 Chronicles 28:9 “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts….”
Psalms 44:21 “Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.”
Psalms 139:4 “For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.”
That truth is actually a great comfort to this child of God. I know that He knows all about me—and it is certainly not all good—yet He loves me unconditionally and wants to help me grow in conformance to the image His Son.
Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son”
Mark 2:13 ¶ And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.
Mark 2:14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
Mark 2:15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
Jesus next went again to the seashore and taught the multitude of people that had followed Him. On His way, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus (aka Matthew) collecting taxes and told him to “Follow me.” To the great surprise of the rest of His disciples I am sure, he did.
Tax collectors were not respected in society; they were looked at as traitors to their own people, getting rich at their expense as they served Rome. The NIV Study Bible adds: “Jewish tax collectors were regarded as outcasts. They could not serve as witnesses or as judges and were expelled from the synagogue. In the eyes of the Jewish community their disgrace extended to their families.”
It seems that they went to Matthew’s house where he hosted a dinner for many of his friends to meet Jesus and the other disciples. As would be expected, most of his friends were “publicans and sinners” who had followed them there.
Publican = tax collector
Mark 2:16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
As usual, the scribes and Pharisees were keenly aware of what was happening around Jesus. When they saw Him eating with the publicans and sinners, they asked His disciples why He did so. Jesus heard the question and answered it (my paraphrase): “Those who are healthy have no need of a doctor, only those that are sick. My purpose is to call sinners to repentance; I can’t help those who do not realize they are sinners.”
Mark 2:18 ¶ And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?
Mark 2:19 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
Mark 2:20 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
Mark noted that the disciples of John and the Pharisees fasted (according to the custom of the day). An unidentified “they” came and asked Jesus why His disciples did not fast like those of John and the Pharisees. Jesus answered (my paraphrase): “Do you expect the family and friends of the bridegroom to fast while he is with them? No. When the bridegroom is taken away, that will be the time to fast.”
Mark 2:21 No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.
Mark 2:22 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
The Lord declared that no one would use a piece of new cloth to mend an old garment because the new piece will pull away from it and make the tear worse. Neither would a man put new wine into old wineskins because the new wine would swell and cause the wineskins to burst, spilling the wine and ruining the wineskins; new wine must be put into new wineskins.
There is nothing to indicate a break between these verses and the previous ones, so what is the connection. We know that Jesus came to institute a new covenant of grace to replace the old covenant rooted in the law. This did not mean that He came to do away with the law; He came to fulfill the law.
Matthew 5:17 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”
The new covenant would in essence take effect after His death, burial and resurrection. The new covenant of grace would empower a person to live in victory in such a way that the law never could. It would be through the new covenant that the LORD Jesus, the bridegroom, would receive His bride.
I loved Guzik’s way of showing how Jesus fulfilled the law: “Jesus came to introduce something new, not to patch up something old. This is what salvation is all about. In doing this, Jesus doesn’t destroy the old (the law), but He fulfills it, just as an acorn is fulfilled when it grows into an oak tree. There is a sense in which the acorn is gone, but its purpose is fulfilled in greatness.”
Mark 2:23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.
Mark 2:24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
Mark 2:25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
Mark 2:26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
Mark 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
Mark 2:28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
Mark’s next snapshot was taken on a Sabbath day. Jesus and His disciples were walking through some cornfields, and the disciples began to pluck some ears of corn to eat. The Pharisees asked Jesus why they were breaking the law on the Sabbath. Jesus then answered them by reminding them what David had done when he and his men were hungry during the time when Abiathar was the high priest. He went to the house of God and asked Ahimelech (Abiathar’s father) the priest for some food. The only thing the priest had to give them was the shewbread, bread that only the priests were supposed to eat. Still, he gave them the bread after ascertaining that the men were not unfit to eat it. The hunger of the men took priority over the point of law; human need always takes priority over the law.
Jesus then pointed out that the Sabbath was made for man’s benefit; it was meant to provide a time of spiritual and physical renewal each week. Man wasn’t made for the purpose of honoring the Sabbath. Then He declared Himself to be Lord of the Sabbath.
It should be noted that the law allowed for the actions of the disciples who were hungry.
Deuteronomy 23:25 “When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.”
The law they had broken pertained to Jewish tradition established by Jewish religious leaders over quite a long period of time.