Refresh Ministry Bible Study – “Walk in Forgiveness”
I. Text: Mark 2:1-14 (ESV)
2 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
Ask for someone to give a point that they remember from last week (maybe get three or four people). Did anyone “pray, preach, and pity?” Last week, we talked about Jesus’s acts of healing framed against the simplicity of His rhythm of life. Have we figured out anything closer to what our own purpose is, as Jesus did? His purpose was to preach to the people; ours might not be too far off from that. Let’s continue working towards “praying, preaching, and pity” in our lives. This week, we’re going to be looking at another instance of healing from Jesus, and we’ll again take a look at how the supporting cast reacts to Him
III. Observations/Main Points
In v.1, He returns from Capernaum. “It was reported that He was home”; what might this be saying? In v. 2, similar circumstance as last week, except instead of healing people who were lined up at the door, Jesus was preaching to them. In v. 4, it’s pretty insane how much work they did just to get Jesus to heal the paralytic; there’s an urgency about it. In v. 5, what evidence of faith did Jesus see? Was it the urgency of the people lowering the paralytic? Was it the lengths they went to to have Jesus heal the paralytic? Was it something they said, maybe when they were asking Jesus to heal him? Jesus forgives the man’s sins, which is probably not what he was looking for. In v. 6, scribes were the contrast for Jesus’s teaching with authority; here in v. 7, they’re questioning His authority to say such a thing. In v. 8, we see Jesus understanding something that isn’t outwardly expressed “perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves,” shows us Jesus is omniscient. In v. 9, it is easier to say “Your sins are forgiven” because no one has an empirical way to disprove it; if you say, “Rise, take up your bed and walk,” and the man doesn’t walk, you’re proven to be a fraud. Jesus provides this contrast to show that He has the power to do both (as He says in v. 10). In v. 12, it seems like another parallel to last week in the case of Jesus healing the leper. In v. 13, Jesus once again goes somewhere else after He heals someone who shows himself to the crowd, and people are following Him, but He is taking the opportunity to teach. Perhaps their hearts are more prepared for it this time around because it wasn’t following an instance where many of them were healed, but just one person? In v. 14, He calls Levi, son of Alphaeus (a.k.a. Matthew in Greek; support for this in Matthew 9:9), to follow Him, and He does. Matthew is a tax collector, considered a traitor in their community.
Split into groups, and have them answer the following:
Where did Jesus return from? What might it suggest when it says, “It was reported that He was at home”? (see last week’s notes/observations)
In verse 5, what do you think it means when it says, “when Jesus saw their faith”? (see observations)
What are some parallels in this passage and last week’s? (lots of people coming to see Him, He heals someone, He retreats somewhere, people come to Him) What are the differences? (not following a time of lots of people being healed, started off preaching,
What is the situation with Levi all about? Does it say something about Levi, Jesus, or both? (shows that Jesus calls people specifically; we’ll find out more about this next week!)
Forgiveness only has power if Jesus is rightly perceived. Very few people come to Jesus and believe His message if all they know is a hateful church and have never understood the truth and reality of “God is love.” In the same way, when we’re coming to the Gospel and thinking about it and living it out, the power comes from correctly assessing who God is. In the life of Christ, we see that He is not just a Santa Claus-like figure because He’s not ultimately concerned with our wants; He knows and loves us so much that He addresses our needs. It’s not wrong to seek evidence for Jesus’s claims to forgive sins as the scribes did because it is important to be seeking the truth. However, because He is capable of healing the paralytic and forgiving our sins, our response should be similar to the crowd’s, watching in amazement and glorifying God for the work that really matters – our forgiveness. Unless we see the evidence that God can indeed forgive our sins and realize that this is truly who He is, we’ll be preaching a deficient Gospel; the Gospel will be one that is devoid of power and incapable of bringing Christ to those around us.