This is writing about Chapters 1 and 2 of the Book of Mark. This first paragraph is a summary of last week’s lesson on Chapter 1.
We learned some important spiritual lessons from this chapter. To begin with, if the Son of God came as a servant, then being a servant is the highest calling. It would seem we are never more like Jesus than when we are serving others. Second, God shares His authority with His servants. When we are serving those in need are we not doing the will of God? Remember this- if you are going to be a servant, be sure you have compassion. People who come to you for help will rarely ask if it is convenient. But, isn’t it a great privilege to follow the example of Jesus and meet the needs of others? Isn’t that the mark of a Christian life? Not everything for us but meeting others needs.
The crowd wanted to see Jesus heal the sick and cast out demons. News of the remarkable man spread all over Galilee. This indeed interfered with His message of the gospel. Jesus knew how shallow was their thinking and how great their need.
The Lord often found it necessary to leave the city and go into the wilderness to pray. We should follow His example and take time from people and things in order to pray to the Father and through prayer be revitalized. Have a place of prayer in your home.
In this chapter, the Lord makes it clear that He came to bring all who would trust Him three wonderful gifts:
Forgiveness (Mark 2:1-12)
Fulfillment (Mark 2:13-22)
Freedom (Mark 2:23-3:12)
Forgiveness. Jesus was staying at Peter’s house and using it has His headquarters while he was in Capernaum. The people, uninvited, came to His house in droves. Such a crowd. Some truly needy people probably could not fight the crowd to get help. A paralyzed man had four friends. They lowered him through the roof with faith that Jesus would heal him. Jesus did. Why do we not have that healing today? Here is what Jesus saw. He looked up. Houses then had flat roofs that were usually accessible by means of an outside stairway. It would not be difficult to remove the tiles, lattes and grass that covered the roof and make a hole large enough to fit their friend though. This is just what the four friends did. They indeed had faith. Difficulties didn’t stop them. How many people said there is no sense trying to get to Jesus today? Maybe we can come back tomorrow. The four men dared to do some thing difficult in faith. Jesus saw their faith. When faith is seen by God, prayers are answered.
Jesus immediately went to the heart of the paralyzed man’s problem- sin. He forgave his sin and also healed him. Not all sickness comes from sin. In John 9:1-3, we find the story of a man blind from birth. Jesus said neither this man or his parents have sinned. Forgiveness was the greatest miracle that Jesus ever performed. It meets the greatest need, costs the greatest price, and brings the greatest blessing.
Notes on Jewish religious groups at the time of Christ
Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and the Essenes
Scribes-Mark 2:6- A Jewish class of learned men who made a study of the law. They were also called lawyers and where devoted to the preservation of the law. They developed a complicated system of teaching. Scribes often served as judges in Jewish courts. They were the originators of the synagogue service and were greatly respected.
Pharisees- Mark 2:16- Of the three prominent societies of Judaism at the time of Christ, Pharisees, Sadducees and the Essences, the Pharisees were the most influential. Pharisees means separated ones. They pledged to obey every facet of the Jewish law and tradition. They paid tithes and a temple tax. Pharisees believed in predestination, the immortality of the soul, and in a final reward for good works. They also believed that the soul of the wicked was forever under the earth. As you can see they bitterly opposed Jesus and His teachings. (Read Matt. 23)
Sadducees- They accepted the Law, but not oral traditions. They denied the resurrection, immortality of the soul and the spirit world. The Sadducees opposed Christ and the church.
The Essenes- In Christ’s time they lived a simple life, mostly unmarried. Most Essenes lived together in settlements, but some did live in cities with the Jews. They kept up their numbers by adopting other people’s children. The Essenes did not participate in the temple worship but observed the Sabbath day strictly and greatly venerated Moses. Many of them died in wars against the Romans. Some of the survivors became Christians.
Some additional notes.
The Scribes and Pharisees, as religious leaders, had every right to investigate Jesus, this new teacher. But they came with closed minds, not seeking the truth.
Why did the disciples of John the Baptist and the pharisees fast and not Jesus disciples?
Jesus ate with sinners. Jesus ate with disciples on the Sabbath picks corn. The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.
Jesus claimed His deity, not only by forgiving man’s sins and healing his body but by applying to himself the title “Son of Man” a title used fourteen times in Mark’s gospel.