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Bible Commentaries

Brown's Commentary on the New Testament

Mark 2

    READ: Isa 42:1-9
    The Gospel of Mark…
    1. The theme of the Gospel of Mark is seeing Jesus as a servant: (ref. Mar 10:45)…
    2. We remember that Mark is written to the Roman world and depicts Jesus as the Suffering Servant as many in the Roman world were servants. And…from a perspective – we all are servants to someone!
    3. Last week we ended looking at how leprosy is a metaphor for sin…we start with a little compromise, then a little more…a little more, until our lives are riddled with sin.
    4. We must take care to keep our hearts soft and be diligent to watch out for compromise in our lives…whether it takes the form of a big visible thing like adultery or an unseen thing like an unwillingness to believe and follow every area of the Bible.
    5. This week…we will see Jesus as the friend to sinners…but underlying all that we see is that Jesus continually “TAUGHT”. Everything is an opportunity for discipleship – and we need to see that the same is true for us both as teacher and student!

Verses 1-12

  1. Power to Forgive
    1. Mar 2:1-2 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. 2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
      1. Jesus went again to Capernaum…his informal headquarters; and everyone heard that He was back!
      2. And…they flooded the area to see and hear Him…and what did He do?
        1. ​​​​​​​He preached the Word to them!
      3. Jesus had a captive audience…and He took the opportunity to preach to them – why? He loved them and wanted them to hear and know the truth!
    2. Mar 2:3-4 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. 4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
      1. ​​​​​​​Four guys come carrying their paralyzed friend – hoping to get him to Jesus…but the crowd was too much for them.
      2. So, they went up on top of the house and dug a hole down through the ceiling and lowered their friend down into the midst of the crowd but in front of Jesus!
      3. Roofs back then, were made of mud and sticks and were thick and hard – people sat on their roofs, walked on them and going up on one was common. What wasn’t common was to dig a whole through them!
    3. Mar 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
      1. When Jesus saw the four friend’s faith…He said…
      2. Jesus responded because of the friend’s faith…do we drag our friends to Jesus no matter what?
      3. Look at what He said, “Son” -- a term of intimate endearment! Only God or the man’s Father could say that with the endearment and empathy that could turn a heart!
      4. Then He said, “…your sins are forgiven!” Why did He say that? Didn’t the man come to Jesus to be healed? That doesn’t help him get off the mat…it doesn’t help him walk around, play with his kids or stroll with his wife…
      5. Yet, Jesus knows the deepest recesses of our hearts and knew that this was the man’s greatest need. Forgiveness is always our greatest need – the heart of the issue is always the issue of the heart.
      6. Matthew’s gospel says, “Man, be of good cheer” – as in don’t distress over your sin (not “don’t worry, be happy”)
      7. But, think about it…what good does it do the man to get his legs back if they only allow him to walk himself into hell? Social justice and moral right never trump repentance and forgiveness!
      8. (Wiersbe) “Forgiveness is the greatest miracle that Jesus ever performs. It meets the greatest need; it costs the greatest price; and it brings the greatest blessing and the most lasting results.”
    4. Mar 2:6-9 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? 8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? 9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
      1. ​​​​​​​The scribes rightly say that only God can forgive sins…but they clearly did not recognize who Jesus really is…
      2. And it says that Jesus “Perceived in His Spirit what they reasoned” – the Word of God (Jesus) is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts!
      3. And then He challenges them…
    5. Mar 2:10-12 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,) 11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 12 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.
      1. ​​​​​​​To prove to those around and especially to the religious leaders, He heals the man.
      2. Think about this scenario, this man is paralyzed – unable to walk. His limbs are probably atrophied; he may no longer have a sense of balance nor strength or coordination…
      3. and yet, when Jesus healed him it says he “IMMEDIATELY” arose, took up the bed and left!
      4. There was not physical therapy required, nothing! He just got up and left – that’s our Lord!

Verses 13-17

  1. Call for Repentance
    1. Mar 2:13-14 And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
      1. This is Matthew Levi – Matthew himself tells us his name is Matthew, and here we see he’s from the tribe of Levi
      2. This is the disciple Matthew – the one who wrote the gospel of Matthew…and in his gospel he first says of Jesus that, “He saw a man…”. He didn’t see a tax collector, one who was despised of all because He was the one who enforced that Roman taxes on the people…
      3. Jesus saw a man…He saw him as flesh and blood, as one who has emotions, feelings and dreams…one who needs a savior and not as one to be run from or despised!
      4. And when Jesus called him, (the gospel of Luke tells us “he left all”) meaning he left his very lucrative business “IMMEDIATELY” and followed Jesus.
    2. Mar 2:15-17 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, 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.
      1. ​​​​​​​Matthew had Jesus over for supper – and invited all of his friends. Think of this as the “who’s who” of the scum of the earth culturally. It would be like having the IRS, the mafia, drug dealers and the homeless over for supper on Saturday night…culturally, that would be suicide. To Jesus, it was ministry!
      2. And…again the religious leaders are questioning Jesus’ discernment and wisdom and the truth of His calling…”How is it that He eats and drinks with publicans and sinners?”
      3. Read v. 17…Jesus came to call sinners to repentance!!!
      4. SINNERS are to turn away from their sin, the world and the old man and turn their lives to Christ!
      5. So, are you glad He’s not talking about you?? WRONG! We all need the Savior! All have sinned…
      6. Rom 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
      7. ​​​​​​​1Jn 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Verses 18-22

  1. New Wine
    1. Mar 2:18-22 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? 19 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. 21 No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse. 22 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
      1. Speak to a new patch on old material – it tears as it shrinks…
      2. Speak to wineskins…old are inflexible and burst…new are flexible and able to stretch with new wine’s fermentation.
      3. Jesus is talking about systems…Judiasm doesn’t work – it’s just a bunch of rules to show us we can’t be good enough!
      4. What we need is a relationship with the God of the Universe…fellowship with the Great “I AM” – we need the Messiah: the annointed One of God to call us His friends -- We all need Jesus!

Verses 23-28

  1. Lord of the Sabbath
    1. Mar 2:23-28 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. 24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? 25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? 26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? 27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
      1. Sabbath: Sundown Friday (when you could see 3 stars in the sky) until sundown Sat…NO WORK ALLOWED.
      2. The religious leaders wanted to claim it was work and they were breaking the Sabbath…the sabbath being a day of rest to reflect upon God…
      3. Yet, walking through a field of grain and eating a handful of wheat was permitted in Deuteronomy.
      4. Jesus reminds them of what David did…
        1. 1Sa 21:1-6 Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee? 2 And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place. 3 Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present. 4 And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women. 5 And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel. 6 So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.
      5. Jesus uses this story as an example that Holy things like holy days are made for man…not the other way around.
      6. Traditions/rituals/holy days -- they’re not meant to control or curse…rather, they are meant to bless!
      7. People are ALWAYS more important than stuff or tradition! People are why Jesus died!
      8. Thus, He is Lord of all that is Holy…and, as it tells us here, He is Lord of the Sabbath!
      9. Have we allowed the Lord to free us from the bondage of tradition and men’s rituals?
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Brown's Commentary on the New Testament is reproduced by permission of author. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Brown, Jim. "Commentary on Mark 2". "Brown's Commentary on the New Testament". 2017.