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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
Mark 2

 

 

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Introduction

Jesus Can Forgive Sins

- Mark Two -

Mark chapter two begins a look at Jesus as he faced controversies with the opposing Pharisees. It was difficult for the Jews to accept the fact that it was God"s plan trough Christ for Christianity to replace Judaism.

After His temptation Jesus returned to a house in Capernaum. There Jesus was swamped with a host of people desiring to have healing and to hear Him preach. Jesus healed a man that was let down through the roof. He forgave the man"s sins. If God is the only one with authority to forgive sins, then by this action Jesus shows Himself to be God in the flesh.

A multitude gathered with Jesus. As He passed by He called Levi (Matthew) to follow Him. He went into the house of Levi and ate with many publicans and sinners. The Pharisees criticized saying, "How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?" Jesus replied, "They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Jesus was upsetting to the norm in every way. The people could not understand why His disciples did not fast. Jesus explained by identifying Himself as the bridegroom that was still present with them. Jesus also disturbed religious tradition by the manner in which He observed the Sabbath. God had commanded Sabbath keeping. Therefore, it was holy. If Jesus failed to properly keep the Sabbath His claims about Himself and His mission could be questioned.


Verses 1-12

Lessons From A Crippled Man - Mark 2:1-12

Immediately after Jesus was tempted by Satan he returned to Capernaum. There He healed a crippled man that was let down through the roof. Let us observe:

Faith overcomes difficulties. The four men could have easily said, "Too many people" or "too much trouble." Yet they went up on the roof and removed some tiles and let the man down before Jesus. We must possess this same bold faith that allows us to overcome life"s obstacles through Jesus.

Faith brought the Lord"s blessings: Saving faith is always obedient faith. And in this case the faith of these four men prompted the Lord to provide an even great blessing than they expected. They desired that the Lord would heal the body of this man. In addition to that the Lord said, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." Obedient faith brings great blessings from God.

Faith brought these men to observe Divine authority: Jesus wanted them to not only believe that He could perform miracles but that He was God in the flesh. It is amazing how the tide of life turns when one"s being is given over to the authority of God. A worthless and wasted life can become meaningful and strong through the Christ. God can forgive sins and change lives!

Faith overcomes human criticism. The Devil always finds ways to discourage good works. He especially hurts and hinders Christians and the church through criticism. The critics of Jesus asked, "Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?" Likely with any good work that we try to do there will always be some critic there asking why. Faith fortifies us against the Devil"s criticism!

The Bible says, "Many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized." These Corinthians had saving faith. Do you have this same kind of faith?


Verses 13-17

Jesus chose Levi, a tax collector - Mark 2:13-17 : Next we observe Jesus by the Sea of Galilee. Crowds always came, many to be healed and some to hear and learn. As He walked along He saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus. Levi (Matthew) was a tax collector. When Jesus called him he rose and followed Him. He would become an apostle and write a gospel that bears his name. Jesus was invited into Levi"s house for a meal. Many tax collectors and other sinners that had become followers of Jesus were also guests at the dinner.

The Pharisees saw this and continued their criticism of Jesus. They asked, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" These self-righteous people felt that the Lord should not lower Himself to the social rank of eating with such people. If these critics were as righteous as they claimed they would have realized that "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick." It is the sinner that needs the Savior. These people knew that they were sinners. The Pharisees were blind to the fact that they also were lost.


Verses 18-22

People ask about fasting - Mark 2:18-22 : Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" Fasting was not a commanded by God as a general religious practice. John the Baptist was dead and his disciples were fasting in his memory. Jesus identified Himself as the bridegroom and He said His disciples would fast after the wedding. It would be appropriate for His special friends to lament after He was gone.

Jesus gave the illustration of the new cloth on the old garment. He was doing the right thing at the right time. He did not come to patch up Judaism with the new teachings of Christianity. Christianity was a new and better way. The new wine in old wineskins also teaches the lesson of doing the right thing at the right time. Jesus" new teachings could not be subordinated to Jewish customs. They simply would not fit. Something would break.

What about fasting today? Christians are not commanded to fast under the New Testament. When Christ spoke of fasting He spoke of it as a matter of private devotion to God. (Matthew 6:16-18) Fasting can provide strength and encouragement for the Christian. However, since we find neither a certain time nor required observance for fasting in the New Testament, we conclude that fasting is an individual activity determined by each Christian.


Verses 23-28

A question about the Sabbath - Mark 2:23-28 : Jesus and His disciples were condemned by the Pharisees for picking grain on the Sabbath. They were not condemned for taking the grain. Deuteronomy 23:24-25 gave the right for personal use of the grain. They just could not take any away. The Pharisees said, "Why are your disciples picking grain on the Sabbath? They are not supposed to do that!" The Pharisees objection was because they did this on the Sabbath.

Jesus asked them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him." Jesus wanted them to know that they had read this account and that they were just being inconsistent about their reactions to the two situations. During the days of Abiathar the high priest David and his men ate the bread that had been on the table in the tabernacle. It had served its religious purpose and therefore it was no desecration of it for David to eat it. Jesus concluded by saying, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." He wanted it understood that "the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath." Law is no greater than the authority behind it. Jesus and His Father had given the Sabbath Law.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Mark 2:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/mark-2.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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