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Bible: What Does Mark 2-3 Teach Us About Divine Forgiveness, Discipleship, and Family Issues?

Updated on June 10, 2016

Jesus Heals A Paralytic


Mark 2

Several days pass before Jesus can visit “the house” (of Peter?) in Capernaum (v. 1).

Overflow crowds quickly gather there, and He preaches the word to them (v. 2).

As He teaches, four men lower a paralytic through the roof, since they could not enter by the door (vv. 3-4).

Then Jesus says something blasphemous—“Son, your sins are forgiven you”—blasphemous, that is, according to the scribes’ judgment (v. 5).

They rightly conclude in their minds that only God has the prerogative to forgive sins, and that if a mere man presumes upon His rights, he is guilty of blasphemy (vv. 6-7).

[Who told Mark what the scribes were thinking—Peter, a scribe who later became a believer, or the Holy Spirit?]

Immediately, Jesus intuitively knows their faulty reasoning and moves to correct it.

Not only does Christ heal the paralytic, but He also proves through this tangible exercise of power that He has authority to forgive sins.

In effect, this miraculous healing shows the scribes that He is not a mere man, but actually God in the flesh (vv. 8-11).

Mark pens another “immediately” to indicate how quickly the cured man wanted to experience his new freedom (v. 12a).

The spontaneous healing causes amazement and worship among the witnesses (v. 12b).

Sea of Galilee


New Wineskins

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Leaving Simon’s house, Jesus walks to the sea where He teaches the assembled multitude (v. 13).

As He is going, He calls Matthew to discipleship, and this man (also named Levi) follows Him (v. 14).

Later, he invites Christ to a dinner party at his house, and permits other social “undesirables” to attend, causing the Jewish leaders to grumble (vv. 15-16).

The Lord does not allow the latter’s discontent to go unanswered, but reminds them of His mission to call sinners—and not the righteous—to repentance (v. 17).

[Does Jesus consider the scribes and Pharisees to be truly righteous?

No, He uses the term here to refer those who think they are righteous; that is, the self-righteous.]

This writer does not know whether the following Q & A session occurs at Matthew’s party; nevertheless, certain disciples of John and of the Pharisees ask Jesus why His disciples do not fast as they do (v. 18).

Christ’s answer encompasses proper and improper times to fast.

His men do not fast now as the “sons of the bride-chamber” because the bridegroom is present; such is an occasion for joy and celebration (v. 19).

However, they will fast when He is taken from them; that is, when He is crucified (v. 20).

Jesus then points out that it makes no sense to sew new cloth onto old or put new wine into old wineskins; in other words, His new teaching is incompatible with the legalism of the Pharisees.

His disciples receive new wine into new wineskins (grace teachings into their thirsty souls) [vv. 21-22].

[Mark provides a truncated version of Matthew’s account, omitting a reference to priests profaning the Sabbath (vv. 23-28; cf. Matt. 12:5-6).

See the writer's commentary on Matthew’s gospel for more details].



Healing on the Sabbath

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Mark 3

Jesus returns to the synagogue on the Sabbath—perhaps the same Sabbath during which His disciples picked and ate grain from the field (cf. 2:23-28).

Under the watchful eye of the legalistic Pharisees, eager to accuse Him (according to their tradition) of unlawfully healing a deformed man present there on that holy day, He calls this fellow to step forward (vv. 1-3).

Turning to His opponents, Jesus questions them about whether it is right to withhold healing on the Sabbath (v. 4a).

When they refuse to answer Him, Christ outwardly manifests righteous anger at their spite, but inwardly feels grief at their hardheartedness (vv. 4b-5a).

Addressing the deformed man again, the Lord restores his hand to wholeness before their eyes (v. 5b).

Blinded by hatred, the Pharisees conspire with the Herodians to destroy Him (v. 6).

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

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Various Healings and the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

Jesus wisely leaves the synagogue, and travels to the sea where a “great multitude” from many cities and regions gather to Him; they so press Him that He has to command His disciples to ready a boat for His escape (vv. 7-9).

The Lord heals many of the afflicted, and admonishes “unclean spirits” inhabiting people not to reveal His identity (vv. 10-12; cf. 1:24-25, 34).

[The commentary in Matthew also records Jesus’ choice of the Twelve; a detailed discussion regarding the differences between names occurs there (vv. 13-19)].

Nearby (and inside) Simon’s house, multitudes gather again, causing a postponement of lunch for the disciples (v. 20).

Word of Jesus’ doings finds its way to His family (“His own people”), and they stop by as well.

However, they think Him insane and wish to take Him home (v. 21).

The scribes fling an illogical charge at Him, believing Jesus to be casting out demons by Satanic power (vv. 22-27).

Deflecting this accusation, He turns the sin back on their heads, judging them worthy of eternal condemnation for blaspheming the Holy Spirit (vv. 28-30).

[See Matthew 12:31-32 for more on this particular sin.]

Mary: Out of Fellowship with Jesus?

Was Mary

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Family Issues

Verse 31 seems to resume the thought introduced in verse 21.

“His own people”—members of Jesus’ family—had come to Simon’s house to take custody of the Lord, thinking that He has gone mad (v. 21).

Here they (specifically, His brothers and mother) still stand outside calling for Him (v. 31).

When those inside inform the Lord not only of their presence outside but also of their request, Jesus indicates that the former—those who do the will of God— have a closer relationship to Him than the latter—His natural family (vv. 32-35).

[From John’s gospel, we know that Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him (John 7:5); this statement implies that Mary may have been out of fellowship with her Son.

Can we read it legitimately in any other way?]

© 2014 glynch1


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