Review of Mark 2

Review of Mark 2

by by Victor Fawole

In Mark 1, we saw how the Jews marveled at the authority of Jesus when He taught. He also showed His authority over demons and disease. In Mark 2, He goes on to display and declare His authority, in FIVE instances. Jesus is authority personified! Join me as we explore the five instances that Jesus demonstrated His authority in Mark 2.

Immediately after Jesus delivered the demon-possessed man, He became the “trending topic on all social media platforms” throughout all the region around Galilee (Mark 1:28). At this point in His ministry, Jesus attracted crowds wherever He went. The moment He entered into Capernaum, “it was noised that He was in the house.”

(Personal thought: Oh, how I wish that it can be noised in the city of Ibadan that “The Truth of the Gospel” is coming to them next week!)

In no time, the room became crowded with people who wanted to hear Jesus preach. And trust Jesus, He preached the word to them! The people were so many that the door became blocked! Then came four men, carrying a crippled man on his bed. The crowd hindered them, but they went all the way. They had so much love for their friend – and so much faith in Jesus – and opened the roof! Normally, teachers/preachers don’t love distractions, but this was the kind of distraction Jesus loves!

Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

Wait… The man needed physical healing but Jesus saw his greater need for spiritual healing. The guy needed “a miracle”, but Jesus gave him “the miracle”. He needed “new limbs” but Jesus gave him “new life”. Hallelujah!

Instead of rejoicing at the “declaration of freedom” that Jesus made, the scribes that were sitting there began to accuse Jesus of blasphemy in their hearts. Here, Jesus displayed two divine attributes: Omniscience (He knew their thoughts) and Power to forgive.

Mark 2:8,10 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

Repeat after me: My Jesus has forgiven me once and forever!

Mark 2:11-12 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

In Mark 1, Jesus had healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law of fever (v. 30-31), “many that were sick of divers diseases” (v. 34), and leper (v. 40-41). But in this instance of the crippled man, the people were all amazed, glorified God, and exclaimed: We never saw it in this fashion!

(Singing: I never see this kain God before, wonder wonder, wonder wonder!)

The faith of the four guys was a new fashion. Opening a roof to reach the Healer was a new fashion. Healing by forgiving sins was a new fashion.

I pray for everyone reading this: The Lord will set a new fashion of wonders in and through your life in Jesus’ name!

Jesus was a “man of many sides.” He meant different things to different people, based on the perception or revelation that they had about Him. As we saw in Mark 1, He was not the regular scribe (law teacher), or the regular pharisee (law enforcer). The Jews thought and expected that Jesus would naturally despise publicans and sinners. Most of the times, Jesus’ audience was split into two groups, (1) The Pharisees and Scribes (2) The publicans and sinners. But Jesus knew how well to “sort” his mixed crowd for effective teaching (You can learn more about Jesus’ sorting method in this teaching by Pastor Damilola Akinyera, titled: “Sorting The Father’s Love”)

Jesus invited Matthew (a publican – Luke 5:27) to become His disciple, an action that infuriated the religious minds. As though that was not “bad” enough, Jesus went to Matthew’s home, sat together and ate with many publicans and sinners. He didn’t just sit with them; he ate with them! Not one sinner. Not two. Not three. Many! Then when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with publicans and sinners, they challenged His disciples. “Why does he eat with such scum?” (v. 16 NLT) As in…Holy people don’t move around people like that! It was a “scandal” that Jesus was “the friend of sinners.”

Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Self-righteousness is irritating to God, worse than licentiousness in the face of divine irritation (Rabbi DV Akins, 2022). Jesus shows His superiority over self-righteousness by declaring that, because the self-righteous think they don’t need a Saviour, then He will stretch his hands to save sinners who know they need a Saviour. Those who are sick sense their need for salvation, and the Doctor Jesus is here to give them life, and life more abundantly! Hallelujah!

A word of caution to believers who latch on this scripture to justify their “love for the company of the unrighteous”… Jesus was never influenced by the sinners. Rather, He was bringing hope, truth, love, mercy, and grace to them in full measure. He never compromised His “holiness” to affirm, approve, or promote their “licentiousness”. He came to “call sinners to repentance”, not to “call sinners to revellings.” He was “healing” them, not “hailing” them.

Mark 2:18 And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?

How often do people accuse us for “not being given to fasting”! The Pharisees were well known for fasting twice a week (Luke 18:12), and John the Baptist also stressed fasting, but Jesus came feasting! This irked the religious guys.

God did not cancel fasting, but it has its “boundaries” in the Christian life – it should not be rigorous or ascetic. What then should be our perspective on fasting? I recommend that you listen to this teaching by Pastor Damilola Akinyera titled: “What Grace Says About Fasting”

The religious guys had already accused Jesus of four “evils”: (1) blasphemy (2) eating with sinners (3) not fasting, and now (4) breaking the Sabbath.

Let us carefully consider their accusations again:

Mark 2:7 “WHY does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Mark 2:16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “WHY does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Mark 2:18 And John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting: and they come and say unto him, WHY do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?

Mark 2:24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, WHY are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

This is a common pattern with legalists. They question God’s intentions and graciousness. There are times when some believers compare their lives with other believers (or even unbelievers), they ask “Why me?” or “Why not me?” If you find yourself asking such questions, I recommend you listen to a teaching by Pastor Damilola Akinyera titled: “Why Do Good Things Happen To Bad People?”. We need to take caution here and resist the temptation to ask God the “why” question.

Jesus took His critics down the memory lane. He used the example of David to show that the spirit of the law is superior to the letter of the law. In 1Sam. 22:10, Abiathar “inquired of the Lord” and he discerned that it was better to preserve David’s life (and his men’s) — by feeding him the sacred temple bread — than trying to “hold tightly to the law concerning temple bread”. In Matthew’s account of this event, Jesus went on to show their hypocrisy by pointing them to their own priests too!

Matthew 12:5-7 And haven’t you ever read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the Temple may WORK on the Sabbath? I tell you, there is one here who is even greater than the Temple! But you would not have condemned those who aren’t guilty if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to be merciful; I don’t want your sacrifices.’

God would want them to be merciful to the hungry disciples of Jesus, instead of holding tightly to ceremonial laws of Sabbath.

If their priests could work on Sabbath (Num. 20:9-10) and were yet not guilty of breaking the Sabbath, then the Law of Sabbath has no hold on the Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus repeatedly affirmed his divinity. “I am greater than the temple! I am the Lord of Sabbath!”

That is the conclusion of the whole matter:

Mark 2:28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

What a bombshell! Jesus had emphasized His divine authority to forgive sins, divine assignment to save sinners, divine aura of joy and feasting… and now, He responded to His critics by emphasizing His divine Lordship over Sabbath! (To learn more on “What Grace Says About The Sabbath Day”, listen to this teaching by Pastor Damilola Akinyera)

Repeat after me:
Jesus is LORD over my sins, I enjoy complete forgiveness!
Jesus is LORD over my diseases, I enjoy complete healing!
Jesus is LORD over my accusers, I enjoy complete justification!
Jesus is LORD over my stress, I enjoy complete rest!
Jesus is LORD over my growth, I enjoy complete joy!

Grace to you. Amen.

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