Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, May 30th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Mark 2

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

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Verses 1-12

31. Jesus heals a paralyzed man (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26)

This story shows the first signs of organized Jewish opposition to Jesus. A group of religious leaders from Jerusalem, Judea and Galilee came, with evil motives, to find out for themselves what Jesus was doing and saying (Luke 5:17).

Some friends of a paralyzed man were so sure Jesus could heal him that they allowed no obstacle to stop them from bringing the man to him. In his response Jesus did more than heal the man. He went to the root of all suffering in a fallen world, sin, and on the basis of the faith that had been displayed, he announced forgiveness of the man’s sins. The Jewish leaders saw that Jesus was claiming to be God, for only God can forgive sins. Either Jesus was God or he was a blasphemer (Luke 5:18-21).

Jesus left his critics in no doubt of the meaning of his words and actions. A person can just as easily say ‘You are forgiven’ as say ‘You are healed’, but whereas the first statement cannot be proved by external evidence, the second statement can. If, therefore, Jesus’ claim to heal the man’s disease could be proved true, his claim to forgive the man’s sins must also be accepted as true. When the man, in response to Jesus’ words, stood up and walked, the onlookers had clear proof that Jesus was all that he claimed to be (Luke 5:22-26).

Verses 13-17

32. Call of Matthew (Matthew 9:9-13; Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32)

The next person to join Jesus’ group of chosen disciples was the tax collector Matthew, also known as Levi (Matthew 9:9; Mark 2:13-14). Matthew took Jesus home for a meal and invited his fellow tax collectors and other friends to come and meet his new master. Jews despised tax collectors as being unpatriotic, dishonest and irreligious. The Pharisees despised Jesus when they saw him eating with them (Matthew 9:10-11; Luke 5:27-30).

Jesus replied that if tax collectors were as bad as the Pharisees claimed, then tax collectors were just the sort of people who needed his help. God was pleased with Jesus’ action in showing mercy to outcasts. He was not pleased with the sacrifices of those who thought they were superior to others (Matthew 9:12-13; Luke 5:31-32).

Verses 18-22

33. Why Jesus’ disciples did not fast (Matthew 9:14-17; Mark 2:18-22; Luke 5:33-39)

Both John the Baptist’s disciples and the Pharisees were slow to realize that Jesus’ coming had brought in a new era. Their traditional ceremonies and fastings were now of no use. The coming of Jesus may be compared to the coming of a bridegroom to his wedding feast. In a time of such joy no one thinks of fasting, and therefore Jesus’ disciples did not fast while he was with them. But Jesus would be taken away from them and killed, and then they would fast because of their great sorrow. Their sorrow, however, would be turned into joy, because Jesus would rise from death victoriously (Mark 2:18-20; Luke 5:33-35).

Jesus reminded his hearers that, now that he had come, they should not expect to continue the old traditions of the Jewish religion. He had not come to repair, improve or update Judaism. Judaism was useless, worn out, finished. Jesus brought something that was entirely new. Judaism was like an old worn out coat that could not be mended; it was like a brittle old wineskin that could not stand the pressure of new wine (Mark 2:21-22; Luke 5:36-38). Yet the Pharisees preferred their old worn out religion (Luke 5:39).

Verses 23-28

34. Picking corn on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5)

When the Pharisees criticized Jesus’ disciples for picking a few pieces of corn to eat on the Sabbath, Jesus defended his disciples by referring to two examples from the Old Testament. First, when David and his men were very hungry and urgently needed food, they were rightly allowed to eat the holy bread of the tabernacle, which normally only priests were allowed to eat (Matthew 12:1-4; cf. 1 Samuel 21:1-6). Second, even the Levitical priests worked on the Sabbath, for they had to prepare and offer the sacrifices (Matthew 12:5; cf. Numbers 28:9-10).

These two examples show that in a case of necessity the legal requirement of the law may be overruled. Life is more important than ritual. To exercise mercy is more important than to offer sacrifices. Jesus is more important than the temple. People are more important than the Sabbath. The Sabbath was given for people’s benefit, not for their discomfort; and since Jesus is the messianic Son of man, he has authority to decide how the Sabbath can best be used (Matthew 12:6-8; Mark 2:27-28).

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Mark 2". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/mark-2.html. 2005.
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