- Jesus had returned from his preaching tour in Galilee. After all the miracles Jesus had done, people were naturally very curious about him and wanted him to perform more miracles. But for Jesus it was important not only to do miracles but also to teach the people.
- The Torah says that if a person has sinned, he must sacrifice an animal in the Temple and then receive God’s forgiveness through the priest who mediates the atonement (Leviticus 4:26).
- Jesus announces that this lame man is forgiven of his sins simply because he has “faith”.
- It is obvious that the lame man believed that Jesus could heal him.
- The scribes are outraged when Jesus gives God’s forgiveness before the lame man has sacrificed in the temple or even confessed his sin.
- Besides, it is God who forgives sins, so the scribes were upset that they thought Jesus was making himself God and thus blaspheming.
- Jesus’ death on the cross provides forgiveness of sins.
- All men have sinned and are sinners (Rom 3:23).
- Sin separates people from God (Isa 59:2).
- The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
- Because God loves us humans in spite of our sin, God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins (John 3:16).
- Jesus died a substitutionary death for all men (Rom 5:8).
- Jesus offered himself for the sins of all people (Heb 9:28).
- Everyone who believes in Jesus receives eternal life (John 3:16).
- A “scribe” studied and taught the most important text of Judaism; the Torah (the five books of Moses), and was well versed in Jewish tradition.
- In spite of the large crowd, these scribes were already “sitting”.
- Perhaps they had made an appointment with Jesus to discuss with him whether he was the Messiah described in the Scriptures? Now they were waiting for him where Jesus lived, in Peter’s home.
- Instead of discussing with Jesus, they now had a front-row seat to watch him teach the people. Jesus’ focus on the people rather than the scribes shows how he prioritised.
- The scribes knew the texts about the Messiah, some of the positive texts being these:
- The Messiah will be of David’s lineage and filled with the Spirit of the Lord (Isaiah 11:1-2).
- The Messiah would have been born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
- The Messiah will appear in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2).
- The Messiah would cure diseases (Isaiah 35:5-6, 53:4).
- The Messiah would establish the kingdom and become king (Zech 9:9).
- But there were also prophetic texts about the Messiah that are more negative:
- People will hear the Messiah but not believe (Isaiah 53:1).
- People will abandon and despise the Messiah (Isaiah 53:3).
- The Messiah will be imprisoned (Isaiah 53:8).
- The Messiah will die (Is 53:9).
- So the people and the scribes focused only on the positive texts about the Messiah and eventually wanted to make Jesus king. Jesus knew this and therefore tried to silence those who were trying to make him king. Jesus also had to teach his own disciples repeatedly that part of the Messiah’s mission was to die for the people (Mark 9:30-32).
- Although it is not explicitly stated that Jesus is God in Mark’s gospel, Mark shows this indirectly when he describes Jesus doing things that only God can do (Mark 2:7, 4:41, 10:18).
- The only one in the Bible who is described as being able to see into people’s hearts and know what they are thinking is God (Psalm 44:22, 139:23).
- Time and again, Mark shows Jesus doing things that only God can do.
- “Son of Man” is one of the Messiah’s titles and is a concept Jesus borrows from the prophet Daniel’s book.
- Daniel writes that he saw a “son of man” come with the clouds of heaven and be brought before God. The Son of Man was given all power and an eternal kingdom with people from all nations (Dan 7:13-14).
- When Jesus calls himself “the Son of Man” and preaches that “the kingdom of God” is here, people understood that he was referring to the book of Daniel and was claiming to be the Messiah himself.
- People called Jesus “the Son of God” because they saw a man who was like God. Jesus himself, on the other hand, calls himself the “son of man” because he saw himself the other way around; he is God who was born as a man.
- If Jesus was just an ordinary man, why would he go around calling himself a “son of man”? Everyone could see that Jesus was a man. What was special about Jesus was that he was the one of the Trinity who was born as a “son of man”, something neither the Father nor the Spirit did.
- What was greater; the forgiveness of sins or being healed from paralysis?
- Jesus gives both, but he starts with the forgiveness of sins, which shows what is more important.
- It’s not uncommon for Jesus to tell the sick to do something they can’t really do.
- A person’s faith + Jesus = the power of God.
- It was when the man, at Jesus’ urging, did what he could not do, that he was healed.
- The scribes seem to have been open to the possibility that Jesus was the Messiah and wanted to discuss this with Jesus. The scribes knew that the Messiah would heal the sick but they did not know that the Messiah would also have the authority to forgive sins. Here Jesus demonstrates that he has the power to do both!
- The mistake the scribes made was not that they did not understand everything about the Messiah, but that they did not believe in the Messiah once they met him. Their image of the Messiah was more important than the Messiah himself and they could not go beyond their own framework.
- A natural and good reaction to a miracle is to praise God.