About Jesus Steve Sweetman
The Section - Chapter 2 to 3:6
verse 1 we learn that “Jesus came home to
verse 2 we see that once people heard Jesus was home “many gathered”
at His place, so that there was no room left, not even outside of the
door. So Jesus took this
opportunity to preach to them.
men came to the house carrying a paralytic man.
They could not get into the house so they climbed on the roof, put
a whole in the roof, and lowered the man down in front of Jesus.
in this time period in this general location were built of stone with flat
roofs. Stairs would be built
on the side of the house, leading to the roof where there was often an
upper room situated on top of the roof.
might think that a passage way could have been made through this crowd so
this man could get through, but not so.
Everyone at the house wanted to be there and there was most likely
a great push to get in. I was
once at a Katherine Koolman meeting in
verse 5 we note that Jesus saw their faith.
I don’t think they were the only ones in the house that had
faith. There were others
trying to push their way in to be with Jesus.
But in this case, these 4 men and the paralytic had to be creative
in finding their way to Jesus. Jesus
saw this creativity and persistence and rewarded the sick man for it.
how Jesus rewards this man’s faith.
Yes, the man did find healing but the healing was not the thing
that Jesus initially addresses. Upon
seeing these men’s faith Jesus says, “son, your sins are forgiven”.
The Greek word “Aphiemi” is the word that is translated as
“forgive” in the New Testament. The
root of this Greek word means “to send away”.
So to forgive a sin is to send away the sin.
we think of sending the sin away we can look into the Scripture to see
what God thinks about sending sins away.
In Micah 7:10 we see that God sends sins to the depth of the sea,
never to be seen again. In
Isa. 43:25 we see that sins are blotted out and removed from God’s
record, and if removed from the record book, and after removed there will
be no accountability for them. In
Psa. 103:12 we see that sins are removed as far as the east is from the
west. These Scriptures show us
that if God forgives sins then He has no more recollection of them.
They’re gone. They’re dismissed and cancelled.
statement caused quite a reaction from the teachers of the Law.
They thought, “Why does this fellow talk like that?
He is blaspheming. Who
can forgive sins but God alone”.
question needs to be asked, “were the teachers right when they said that
only God can forgive sins”? With
the understanding of sending away sin as seen in the previous paragraph,
these teachers are right, Only God can send away sin in such a way.
Only God can forgive sin. Only
God can cancel sins from His records.
point we should thus realize then is that Jesus is in fact was God in
flesh and therefore had the ability to send sin away, or to cancel and
remove a sin from God’s records.
question can be asked, “when Jesus tells us to forgive, what does He
mean, if only God can forgive sin”?
First of all you notice that Jesus told His followers to forgive.
He didn’t tell the world to forgive.
In John 20:20-23 the context of His followers forgiving sin is that
Christians are sent out into the world on behalf of Jesus.
In the same way God sent Jesus into the world, so Jesus sends His
followers into the world to represent Him, because He’s no longer on
earth to represent Himself. Thus
as part of our job as representatives, we forgive sin on God’s behalf.
What we are actually doing is once a person repents and turns to
Jesus, we then proclaim that his sins are sent away, cancelled, and
removed from God’s records. This
is what forgiving another’s sins is all about.
another aspect to forgiving sin and that is seen in Matt. 18.
I won’t go into the story but Jesus says that if an offender sins
against you, you should go to him and point out his fault or sin.
The reason for this is to give the offender a chance to repent.
If he repents, you forgive him, resulting in reconciliation.
Then Jesus says in Matt. 18:18 that whatever is loosed on earth
will be loosed in Heaven, and whatever is bound on earth will be bound in
Heaven. This simply means that
if the sin is repented of by the offender, and if you forgive him, then
the sin is loosed and sent away from your accounts, from your records.
But if the offender doesn’t repent, then he’s not forgiven and
the sin still remains, is bound on earth as well as in Heaven.
So once forgiveness occurs on earth by us after the offender
repents, God automatically and at the same time cancels the sin from His
books. In this way we’re
working with God in the matter of forgiving sin.
If this understanding is correct, then we’ve got an amazing
responsibility in working with Jesus in forgiving sin.
verse 8 we note that “in His spirit” Jesus knew what the teachers were
thinking. Jesus had the
ability to see into people’s hearts and minds.
They had their questions for Jesus, now He presents a question to
them. So Jesus asks, “which
is easier to say … your sins are forgiven you, or to say, get up, take
up your mat and walk”? Clearly
in Jesus’ mind, it takes the same power and authority of God to remove
sin from God’s book as it does to heal a paralyzed man.
Yes, only God can forgive sin, and only God can heal such a man,
and Jesus is God in the flesh.
verse 10 Jesus states why He said what He said. He wanted everyone to know
that He had the authority to forgive sin.
This would not sit well with the Jewish religious authorities,
because they viewed this as blasphemy.
Thus this is the number one reason why they wanted Jesus dead.
could forgive sins because He was God in the flesh.
He could also forgive sins because God sent Him as His personal
representative. In the same
way that God sent Jesus to represent Him, so Jesus sends us to represent
Himself. So part of Jesus job
was to forgive sin, and so part of our job is to forgive sin, that is with
a slight difference. We
are not God in the flesh as Jesus was.
So the way in which we forgive sins is to pronounce God’s
forgiveness on a person once they repent and come to faith and trust in
Jesus. Also, when
we forgive sins against us, then God forgives that sin as well.
Thus in a round about way, we sort of help God cancel the sin from
His records, but in reality He still does that.
verses 11 and 12 Jesus turns and tells the paralytic to get up and walk,
and he does. Everyone was
amazed. If Jesus says He can
forgive sin, and only God can do that, then when He heals this man,
everyone should realize that He was sent from God and is acting on God’s
behalf both in healing this man and forgiving his sins.
verse 13 we see that Jesus “went out beside the lake”.
Some translations have the word “sea” instead of lake because
14 is where we see that Jesus met up with Levi.
Levi was a tax collector and was sitting in his booth.
This means that he was working, collecting taxes.
Jesus asked him to follow Him, and like the first four men Jesus
called, Levi immediately left his work to follow Jesus.
Once again, the Holy Spirit must have been involved in the calling
of Levi. I’m sure Levi would
have heard of Jesus, and maybe for Jesus to call him out like He did was
thought to be special. Levi
might well have thought it a privilege at this point in time to follow
Jesus. Still I believe the
Holy Spirit had spoke to Levi’s heart.
is also called Matthew. Levi
is his Aramaic name while Matthew was his Hebrew name.
It’s often thought that Jesus called a band of simple young
uneducated fishermen to be His disciples, but not so in the case of
Matthew. He had to be fairly well educated in that society to do the job
was most likely what we would call a customs officer.
He would collect taxes from businessmen who brought their goods
verses 15 to 17 we see that Matthew invites Jesus back to his house for a
meal. The problem results when
Matthew also invites other tax collectors and so-called sinners to eat the
meal with them, and why not. These
were his friends, the only people he knew.
Thus Jesus is eating with sinners, something the teachers of the
Law and Pharisees would never stoop low enough to do.
But Jesus didn’t have a reputation to worry about as they did.
Therefore the teachers of the Law asked Jesus’ disciple why Jesus
was eating with such people.
not really sure at this point the disciples could answer this question.
This was early on in their relationship with Jesus, and maybe they
had the same question in the back of their minds.
the disciples didn’t have to answer the question.
Jesus answered it for him. He tells the Pharisees that it’s not
the healthy that needs a doctor. It’s
those who are sick. He then
says that He’s come for the sinner, not the righteous.
So He didn’t mind associating Himself with those who were viewed
see in verse 18 that both John the Baptist’s disciples and the Pharisees
were fasting on this day. Remember,
at this point John the Baptist was in prison, So his disciples were still
carrying on activities as normal. The
Pharisees had set days that they fasted, and this appears to be one of
those days. So some asked
Jesus why were the disciples of John and the Pharisees fasting, but His
disciples had just come from a big feast.
It’s a natural question to ask.
should be noted that the Law of Moses only required fasting on one
occasion and that was on the Day of Atonement. (Lev. 23:24)
The Pharisees fasted twice a week, more from a perspective of self
righteousness. They thought
their fasting would make them more holy.
see people fasting in Old Testament times beyond the Day of Atonement.
This might then suggest that fasting was more of a voluntary issue than
something to be obeyed because of a command.
And this makes sense because fasting is a form of humility before
the Lord and humility must come from the heart as a matter of being
voluntary and not forced.
verses 19 and 20 Jesus gives the analogy of a wedding feast.
He says that if a bridegroom invites guests to his wedding, he’ll
feed them. He’s not going to
invite them to a feast and not feed them.
That makes no sense. Jesus
compares Himself to the bridegroom as others do in Scripture as well.
So as long as Jesus’ disciples, which would be the invited guests
in His analogy are with Jesus the bridegroom, they won’t fast.
But Jesus goes on to say, somewhat prophetically, that He will not
always be with His disciples. At
that time the disciples will fast. I
don’t see this as a command from Jesus to tell us to fast.
I see this statement as a matter of fact.
His disciples will fast.
also adds the phrase “on that day”.
On that day the disciples of Jesus will fast.
That might be a specific day, as in the day when Jesus ascended to
Heaven. Because the disciples
went back to the upper room and spent much time in prayer, and maybe
this may be the case, many people simply say that during the church age,
when Jesus is no longer on earth, Christians will fast.
They will continue the practice as in Old Testament times in the
sense it is voluntary. There’s
no place in the New Testament that changes the voluntary aspect to
fasting. Jesus only says that
His followers will fast. When,
where, why and how seems to be up to the individual.
If you look at fasting in the Bible you’ll notice that there
aren’t really any rules. Sometimes
people abstain from all food, and sometimes from just certain foods.
the topic of discussion in this section concerns fasting, but Jesus takes
a step or two beyond the topic of fasting.
Underlying the fasting topic is the whole issue of Judaism,
Pharisaical Law, and the Law of Moses.
Jesus addresses this issue with two analogies.
first analogy is that you can’t have an old garment with a hole in it
and put a new piece of clothe over the hole to repair the garment.
The old garment has shrunk with many washings.
The new garment has not shrunk but once it has been washed a few
times the new piece of cloth will tear away from the old garment as it
shrinks. You just don’t mix the two.
people probably didn’t understand Jesus at the time.
We do because of hindsight, but what Jesus was saying is that there
was a new way of doing things that will soon come, and you cannot mix it
with the old way of doing things.
say the old way of doing things was merely the Pharisees Laws.
But I believe it is one step farther and that includes the Law of
Moses. There was to be no
mixture between the Law of Moses and the Grace that would soon come.
And this is exactly what happened with the early New Testament
church that was primarily Jewish. They
said that in order to become a Christian, one first had to become a Jew if
he wasn’t already. This
caused great problems in the early church, but here in the early stages of
Jesus’ ministry He was beginning to speak to this issue.
second analogy that Jesus makes is that one doesn’t put new wine into
old wine skins or else the wineskin will rip open and the wine will be
spilled. In those days people
used goat skin to store wine in. They’d
actually skin the goat and keep the skin all in tact.
They’d sow up the holes where the legs and tales were and keep
the mouth open and the wine would be poured through the mouth into where
the goat’s body once was. The
skin was pliable and flexible at first when the wine was initially poured
in. But then after the wine
was used and poured out, the skin dried out and became brittle.
So if you put new unfermented wine
into the dried out skins, during the fermentation process that skin would
leak and even explode at times.
here we have the same principle at work.
Keep the old and the new separate.
The new covenant will not work with the old covenant. But the
tendency of Christians over the years is to mix the two – a little law
and a little grace. But this
is not New Testament thinking. Jesus
wants no mixture. Much could
be said about this subject which I won’t get into now.
whole discussion which doesn’t last long is just a hint of what the New
Testament is all about. I
doubt if anyone really understood what Jesus was really getting at.
liberal Bible scholars point out a so-called problem in this section in
that it seems to be out of order with the other gospel accounts.
But the fact is that Mark doesn’t seem to follow any particular
order in his account. There is
a general order, but no specific order of events, so there should not be
any problem with things being out of order since it wasn’t really
Mark’s idea to put things in exact order.
verse 23 we see that it was the Sabbath day and the disciples were hungry
and as Jesus and the disciples were walking through a corn field the
disciples stooped down and plucked some corn and ate it.
As usual, there were some Pharisees following them, trying to catch
Jesus in some kind of offense, and they thought they had Jesus this time.
Pharisees asked Jesus why His disciples were not obeying the Law by
plucking corn. The Pharisees
weren’t really interested in catching the disciples in an offense.
They wanted to catch Jesus and they figured that Jesus who Himself
was not plucking corn, still allowed His disciples to pluck corn, thus
He’d be at fault for allowing such things to be done by His followers.
23:25 permits one eating a few grains of corn on the Sabbath if you are in
a neighbours field, but you can’t put the grains in a basket and take it
home with you.
is really happening here is that the Pharisees have massive amounts of
interpretations to the Law of Moses. So
what they’ve done is take Duet. 23:25 and have interpreted it with many
qualifications. They’ve actually got 39 things you can’t do with a
grain of corn on the Sabbath. It
was one of these 39 things that the disciples of Jesus were not obeying.
replies to the Pharisees by reminding them that David one time ate the
bread from the
Jesus was telling the Pharisees here is that they had poor hermeneutics.
They were picking out individual verses and not allowing other
verses in the Old Testament to shed light on the topic at hand.
And another thing that the Pharisees were doing was relying too
much on their own interpretation and not the Word of God itself.
This too is bad hermeneutics. On
both counts the Pharisees were wrong, yet even today many Christians fall
prey to the same bad way of interpreting the Bible.
We make too much out of our own traditions and leave the Word of
God out in the cold. We also
fail to let the Bible shed light on itself and allow our personal
interpretations and traditions to take the place of what Scripture can say
Jesus says in verse 27 is important, and it’s really the point that ends
the conversation. He says two
things. The first thing He
says is that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”.
Both in the beginning before the Law of Moses was instituted and
then within the Law, the reason why Sabbath rules were legislated was to
give man a rest from his work. Thus,
the Sabbath was made for man’s rest.
The Pharisees had turned things around and made it feel like the
reason why God made man in the first place was to subject him to binding
Sabbath rules. But this was
not the case.
Jesus says that “the Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath”.
By this statement Jesus was not saying that He and His disciples
could do whatever they wanted on the Sabbath because He was in charge of
what could or could not be done. Jesus had to obey the Law of Moses when
it came to Sabbath rules, because He had to fulfill every Law by obeying
it. He could not disobey the Law, neither could He encourages others to
disobey it. What He was in
fact saying is that He as Lord was the one who had Moses write these Laws
down to be followed. And it
was He who would fulfil these Laws in order that at a future date, meaning
the cross, these rules would be laid aside.
thing to note for Christians today and that is, we should not confuse the
Jewish Sabbath with the Christian Sunday.
They are two different things altogether.
The Sabbath was a seventh day rest mandated by the Law.
It was on our Saturday. The
Christian Sunday obviously is not on Saturday, and it is not mandated by
anyone. It became a tradition
of the church early on in church history, and anything done on that day in
a spiritual sense is completely voluntary.
There are no set rules in the New Testament concerning things that
should or shouldn’t be done on Sunday.
Any rules that one may follow are merely a tradition of the church,
and must be seen as that. If anyone suggests that you can or can’t do
certain things on Sunday because the Bible says so, then they don’t
understand how to interpret the Old Testament in light of the New
verses 2 and 3 we see that Mark is still speaking to the topic of the
Sabbath when he gives us another Sabbath day event.
This time Jesus was in a synagogue and all eyes were on Him.
Some of these eyes were just waiting for Jesus to make a slip, and
do or say the wrong thing.
was a man with a withered hand and Jesus told him to stand up in front of
verse 4 Jesus addresses the audience by asking if it was lawful on the
Sabbath to save a life or to kill – to do good or to do evil.
Everyone was silent.
verse 5 Jesus is angered at the silence and the stubbornness of their
hearts. We should note that
Jesus was both angered and distressed by those in attendance.
So in this time of anger Jesus simply turns to the man and heals
Him, as to say, “if you don’t have an answer for me, then I’ll just
go ahead and heal this man despite what you think.
turn the Pharisees got angry. It
appears they left the synagogue in silence, not knowing how to respond to
Jesus. They thus went out and
plotted a way to try to kill Jesus.
both of these Sabbath day examples we see the real reason behind the
Sabbath Law of the Old Testament. The
rules were there to help the Jewish people, not to bind them in all sorts
In verse 6 the Pharisees began to plot against Jesus.
They joined forces with the group called the Herodians.
The Herodians were Jews who viewed Herod, and the family of Herods
as the means