Mark Chapter 2
The Healing of a Paralytic Man:
(Read Mark 2:1-12)
When Jesus returned to Capernaum 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 the soul of the paralyzed man 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 religious leaders. Jesus' family also rejected him (Mark 3:20-21; 31-35). People oppose Jesus because of satanic influence. No one experienced rejection like our Savior. Jesus told his disciples that the world will hate them (John 15:18). The religious leaders failed to understand the 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 means to remove sin. The forgiveness of sin is more important than our physical healing. Only forgiven people can be 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 God. He gives eternal life to all those who believe in him (John 20:30-31). Only God can forgive sins.
Call of Matthew, Fasting and Sabbath:
Jesus challenged the religious leaders by associating with tax collectors and sinners. He came to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy (Isaiah 61:1-2). He met Matthew at his tax-collecting booth and said, “Follow me”. He got up and followed Jesus immediately. Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples for dinner. Matthew was not ashamed of Jesus. The religious leaders questioned Jesus for associating with tax collectors. Jews hated tax-collectors and considered them as traitors serving Romans. They were considered socially outcast and not allowed to enter the temple. Jesus 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”. Jesus pursues people not based on their merit. God’s salvation is not based on our merits but on the finished work of Christ (Romans 3:24). The Old Covenant was based on the Law, but the New Covenant is based on grace. Christ came to save sinners. He has shown compassion to others regardless of race, religions, and ethnicity. Only a Changed heart results in changed behavior. Fasting was a common practice among Jews. It is to experience the presence of God in life. Jesus was asked why his disciples do not fast. Jesus said to them “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?” People do not fast during weddings. The religious leaders turned blessing into burden. Fasting is more than abstaining from food. It implies self-control and sacrifice to focus on God. Fasting will not merit favor from God but it is a spiritual discipline to experience God's presence. Pharisees accused disciples of breaking the Sabbath by plugging the grain from the field (Matthew 12:1-8). In fact, plugging the head of grain was not a sin. (Deuteronomy 23:25). God instituted the Sabbath for the benefit of man. It was intended for rest to reflect on God and faithfulness. All that we do for God should flow from our love and devotion to him. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath and only he can give rest to our soul (Matthew 11:28). We are not accepted because of our obedience to God but because we are accepted in Christ when we believe. Christ wants all to be saved. Have you received Christ as your Lord and Savior?