The text for this lesson is Mark 2:1–12.
- The miracle of healing the paralyzed man confirmed that Jesus, the Son of Man, has authority on earth to forgive sins and deliver all believers from death and the power of the devil.
- Law: Sinners don’t know what they need; they know what they want. They want instant gratification, their fancy tickled, their wallet fat, and their health pristine. They keep last things first. They major in minors. That which contributes the most to their salvation, they value the least.
- Gospel: Christ knows what we need, and He bestows it without our even having to ask. Though we, like the paralytic, suppose we need healing more than forgiveness, He gives forgiveness first. He keeps first things first: forgiveness, life, and salvation for us.
Several miracles cluster in this opening part of Mark. Jesus evicts demons from their human haunts (Mark 1:21–28), relieves ailments of every stripe (Mark 1:29–34), and rids a man of leprosy (Mark 1:40–45). Most of this He does in Capernaum, a town Jesus will later assail as worse than Sodom because of its inhabitants’ refusal to believe (Matthew 11:23). Because the locals have been wowed so much by Jesus, on His next visit to town, even Tom, Dick, and Harry shows up to cram himself into the house where He’s teaching.
Discussion Points and Questions
- What are some things that you ask God for? Do you have confidence that He will grant these things?
- Read Mark 1:32–34. How would you characterize Jesus’ ministry since He was baptized by John? Often the evangelists record Jesus out and about in the towns or countryside where the crowds can hear and access Him. Where is He in the passage we are studying today? Why would Jesus have stayed in the house with all the crowds trying to reach Him?
- What occurs in Mark 2:4–5? What does Jesus see prior to speaking to the paralytic? What does He say to the paralytic?
- What do the scribes say to themselves? What is wrong with their thoughts? What is right about their thoughts?
- What does Jesus do again in Mark 2:8, similar to what He had done in Mark 2:5? What do you think of His question in Mark 2:9? Which is easier to say?
- Why does Jesus eventually heal the paralytic? See Luke 4:17–21. Does Jesus heal the paralytic only to show that He has authority to forgive sins?
- What is the role of miracles in the Bible? Why does it seem like the Bible is so full of miracles, but our lives are not?
- What does it mean to blaspheme God? Read Mark 3:22–29. Who was really doing the blaspheming in the passage of the healing of the paralytic? Does God forgive blasphemy?
- What is the Fifth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, and its meaning? On what basis were the paralytic’s friends able to seek Jesus’ help? How do all blessings flow from the forgiveness of sins?
For next week, read Mark 5:21–24, 35–43, where Jesus heals Jairus’s daughter. If you have the chance, read the intervening verses, Mark 5:35–34, as well. See if you can discern any relationship between the assigned story and this intervening story.