The Healing of a Paralytic Man: 2:1-12.
(Read: Mark 2:1-12)
The news about Jesus’ arrival at Capernaum spread fast and great multitude gathered around him. It prohibited four men to bring a paralytic to Jesus. So they removed the roof above Jesus and lowered the sick man on a mat before Jesus. Jesus saw their faith and said “Son, your sins are forgiven”. Jesus saw the healing of his sinful soul more important than his physical healing. Immediately he picked up his bed and went away. All people were amazed and glorified God, saying “We never saw anything like this before”. God alone can forgive sins. So the religious leaders opposed Jesus. Throughout his ministry Jesus was opposed by people. His family rejected him (3:20-21; 31-35). Judas opposed Jesus because of satanic influence and personal disappointment (14:3-11). Peter denied Jesus to preserve his own life (Mark 14:30). Jesus told his disciples that the world will hate them. The religious leaders failed to understand the true identity of Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus healed the paralytic to prove that he has the authority to forgive sin. The healing was not an isolated incident. Forgiveness actually means to remove sin. Our forgiveness is more important than our physical existence. Only forgiven people are reconciled to God. The healing was brought forth by the command of Jesus and was immediate. Miracle is not an end in itself but a means to an end. They point to the fact that Jesus is the Christ. He gives eternal life to all those who believe in him (John 20:30-31). Only God can forgive sins.
Call of Matthew, Discussion about Fasting and Sabbath: 2:13-28.
(Read: Mark 2:13-28)
Jesus challenged religious leaders by associating with tax collectors and sinners. He fulfills the Old Testament prophecy that God would forgive the sinful people (Isaiah 61:1-2). He saw Matthew at his tax-collecting booth and said “Follow me”. He got up and followed Jesus immediately. Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples for a dinner along with fellow tax collectors. He was not ashamed of Jesus. The religious leaders questioned Jesus why he is associating with tax collectors. Jews hated tax- collectors. When Jesus heard it, he said to them “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I come not to call the righteous, but sinners”. God’s salvation is not based on our merits but on the finished work of Christ (Rom 3:24). The Old Covenant was based on the Law but the New Covenant was based on grace. Christ came to save sinners who are not capable of saving themselves. Christians are called to reflect Christ’s compassion to others regardless of race, religions and ethnicity. Only a Changed heart results in changed behavior. The fasting was a common practice among Jews. Jesus was asked why his disciples are not fasting. Jesus said to them “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?” Fasting is more than abstaining from food. It implies self control. The fasting is not to merit favor from God but it is a spiritual discipline to experience God's presence. Pharisees accused disciples of breaking the Sabbath (Mat 12:1-8). God instituted the Sabbath for the benefit of man. It was intended to rest in the presence of God and to reflect upon his faithfulness. All that we do for God should flow from our love and devotion to God. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. He is the great Savior who gives rest to our soul (Mat 11:28). Pray that God would fill your heart with love and hope to serve others.