As Jesus continues to heal, He gains status and popularity in the region. Crowds are flocking to Him to see what’s happening and to have their problems solved. These crowds aren’t always a good thing and here at the beginning of the chapter, they actually block access to Jesus so that a group of men have to get creative in their approach.
In this chapter we also begin to see that not everyone loved Jesus and what He was doing. The scribes and Pharisees begin to question and oppose Jesus and His work, yet He remains unphased by their animosity as He continues His mission of preaching the word. Here we see them raise the question in verse 7, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus answers by physically healing a man whom He has already forgiven, thus giving proof of his spiritual healing. He shows that they’re right that only God can forgive sins. And He is God. (From Pillar New Testament Commentary by James Edwards.)
As we begin to look at chapter two, let’s mark some key themes and repeated phrases. Some are found throughout Mark and some are main themes just from this chapter.
- Continue as we did in chapter 1, to mark the word “immediately” with a red circle.
2. An intriguing thing to note in the book of Mark is how Jesus responds when crowds form around Him. Circle the word crowd in orange when you find it in this chapter. Note in each instance how Jesus responds to the large gatherings.
3. Another interesting theme in this chapter is the way Jesus related to the religious leaders (scribes and Pharisees) as opposed to the way He related to sinners and tax collectors. Circle in black every instance of the words scribe and Pharisee and underline in brown every instance of the words sin and sinner. How does Jesus differ in the way He treats these two groups? How do these two groups differ in the way they respond to Jesus?
Where, according to verse 1, did Jesus now consider home?
What was still Jesus’ main concern? What was He doing when the crowds were around Him?
How crowded was it where Jesus was teaching? Why do you think it was so crowded?
What did the men with the paralytic do to get him near Jesus?
What made Jesus decide to heal the man according to verse 5?
How could he “see their faith?” What does this mean about faith? See James 2:14-18 for help with your answer.
What did Jesus say to show that He had healed the paralytic? How does that seem different that what you might expect? What kind of healing was happening here?
Who were the scribes? What did the scribes think about what Jesus said? What was Jesus claiming by His statement in verse 5?
How and where did the scribes question Jesus? How did Jesus know what they were thinking? What was His response?
Which is easier to say and do- heal a paralyzed person physically or forgive his sins?
Why did Jesus physically heal the man and not just forgive His sins?
From the text, what details that were mentioned help you know that this was a real healing and not just a fake show? How do we know the man was really paralyzed?
What was the response of the paralyzed man? What was the response of the crowd?
What did Jesus continue to spend most of His time on in verse 13? What does this show you about His commitment to his mission that He stated in Mark 1:38?
How many times are the words tax collector and sinner mentioned in verses 13-17? What does this tell you about the main idea of the story?
Does verse 14 sound intentional or random that Jesus met Levi? Which do you think it was?
How was Levi described in verse 14? Why do you think it includes this information?
Who was Jesus spending time with in these verses? What was the reaction of the scribes? Who did they ask their question to? Why would they have reacted this way?
In verses 6-8, Jesus perceives their questions in His spirit but this time they ask His disciples outright. Why do you think Mark makes this distinction? What does it show about the scribes?
How did Jesus respond to their question? What did He mean? According to His response, what was Jesus really looking for in a follower?
The crowds followed Jesus to get their needs met but most of those who were true followers of Jesus would ultimately suffer to the point of death because of Jesus. Which do you desire more of Jesus- that He meet your physical wants and needs or that He forgive Your sin and bless you spiritually? Are you willing to follow Him even when it’s hard?
The friends of the paralyzed man had big faith that resulted in action- so much so that Jesus “saw their faith” by their actions. How big is your faith? How can you “see” your faith in your actions?
Jesus had the gift of discernment and He used it to confront the scribes. Are you growing in discernment? How are you using your discernment for the glory of God?
The scribes were correct in their assessment that only God can forgive sins, but they were assuming that Jesus wasn’t God. They came to Jesus with a wrong presupposition. Do you have wrong presuppositions about who God is? How does that affect your view of Him? Ask Him to reveal any wrong ideas that you have that maybe you aren’t even aware of.
Jesus made it clear that what He said was a reality. He physically healed the man to prove that He spiritually healed him as well and forgave his sins. Are you trusting Him even with what you can’t see Him doing or do you have to see His work to believe it?
Jesus SAW Levi- He sees you too. This seems random but it was planned from before the foundation of the world. Thank God for seeing you and knowing your every circumstance.
Jesus spent time with tax collectors and sinners- people the world disdained and who could not offer much social, emotional or monetary benefit to Him. How do you pick who you invest time into? Are your motives pure? Are you willing to invest time and resources into people who cannot benefit you?
Thank God that you have a home, a place to belong
Praise God that He draws people to Himself
Thank Jesus that He remained faithful to His mission here on earth to preach the word
Stand in awe of God for being discerning and wise
Ask God for greater faith that results in action
Thank God for forgiving sins and not holding grudges
Thank God that you can be honest with Him because He already perceives your heart
Praise God for having the authority to forgive sins
Glorify God for His ability to make lame men walk
Thank God for giving us the Bible, which teaches us
Thank God for seeing you today, as you walk through the daily mundane things of life
Ask Him to help you trust that He sees and works on your behalf
Thank God for calling you to follow Him
Thank Jesus for caring about everyone, rich and poor, those with status and those without
Thank God that He looks past appearances and looks at the heart
Ask God to give you proper perspective- that you’re a sinner and not a righteous person