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Mark 2

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary

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Mark 2:0


The Healing of a ParalyticJesus Forgives and Heals a ParalyticHealing a ParalyticJesus Heals a Paralyzed ManCure of a Paralytic
Mark 2:1-12Mark 2:1-12Mark 2:1-12Mark 2:1-5Mark 2:1-12
Mark 2:6-7
Mark 2:8-11
Mark 2:12
The Calling of LeviMatthew the Tax CollectorThe Call of LeviJesus Calls LeviThe Call of Levi
Mark 2:13-17Mark 2:13-17Mark 2:13-14Mark 2:13-14Mark 2:13-14
Eating With Sinners
Mark 2:15-17Mark 2:15-16Mark 2:15-17
Mark 2:17
The Questions about FastingJesus is Questioned about FastingFastingThe Question about FastingA Discussion of Fasting
Mark 2:18-20Mark 2:18-22Mark 2:18-20Mark 2:18Mark 2:18-22
Mark 2:19-20
Mark 2:21-22 Mark 2:21-22Mark 2:21-22
Plucking Grain on the SabbathJesus is Lord of the SabbathJesus and Sabbath LawsThe Question about the SabbathPicking Corn on the Sabbath
Mark 2:23-28Mark 2:23-28Mark 2:23-28Mark 2:23-24Mark 2:23-26
Mark 2:25-26
Mark 2:27-28Mark 2:27-28

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five modern translations. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one main subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.


A. Mark 2:1-6 relates four incidents during the preaching tour spoken of in Mark 1:38-39.

1. a healing (Mark 2:1-12)

2. a reaching out to an ostracized group (Mark 2:13-17)

3. a question about fasting (Mark 2:18-20)

4. a controversy over the oral tradition (Mark 2:23-38)

B. Mark 2:1-6 is a literary unit that shows the expanding opposition to Jesus from the religious status quo. Jesus Himself acted in opposition to the Oral Tradition (i.e., Talmud) in order to initiate a theological dialog with the religious leaders. Notice the repetition of "why" (Mark 2:7, Mark 2:16, Mark 2:18, Mark 2:24).

C. Parallels

Mark 2:1. Mark 2:1-12 Matthew 9:1-8; Luke 5:12-26

Mark 2:2. Mark 2:13-17 Matthew 9:9-13; Luke 5:27-32

Mark 2:3. Mark 2:18-22 Matthew 9:14-17; Luke 5:33-39

Mark 2:4. Mark 2:23-25 Matthew 12:1-8; Luke 6:1-5

D. Jesus came to reveal the Father. Judaism had veiled Him in rituals and rules. Jesus exposes the religious leaders' bias and agenda in His conflicts with them recorded in Mark. These issues define the differences between rabbinical Judaism and Jesus' new covenant freedom and true religion.

1. Jesus' authority to forgive sin (Mark 2:1-12)

2. the necessity of fasting (Mark 2:18-22)

3. the necessity of keeping the Sabbath rules (Mark 2:23-28)

4. the necessity of the ceremonial laws (Mark 7:1-8)

5. the issue of divorce (Mark 10:2-9)

6. paying taxes to Rome (Mark 12:13-17)

7. the nature of the resurrection (Mark 12:18-27)

8. the chief commandment (Mark 12:28-34)


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. List the metaphors Jesus used to describe Himself in 17, 19, 21-22, 28.

2. Why were the religious leaders so hostile to Jesus' teaching?

3. Why did Jesus call someone who was so hated and alienated as Levi to be His disciple?

4. How are Jesus' teachings related to the oral tradition of the Jews?

5. Why isn't fasting a regular part of our worship of God?

6. What is the central truth of Jesus' parable in Mark 2:19-22?

7. Was Jesus unconcerned with ceremonial Law or is there another possibility to His actions in Mark 2:23-28?

8. What do you think about the historical error in Mark 2:26?

9. How does Mark 2:27 relate to today?

Verses 1-12

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 2:1-12 1When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. 2And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. 3And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. 4Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. 5And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." 6But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7"Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?" 8Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, "Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? 9Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, 'Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk'? 10But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"He said to the paralytic, 11"I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home." 12And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."

Mark 2:1 "Capernaum" The name means "village of Nahum." Because of the unbelief of the people in Nazareth, Jesus chose this town in Galilee (cf. Matthew 4:13) as His headquarters. It was located on a major caravan route from Damascus to Egypt. For further discussion see Cities of the Biblical World by Moine F. DeVries, pp. 269-275.

"it was heard" Jesus' reputation caused many people to come and see Him (i.e., the sick, the curious, the true seekers, and the religious leaders). Jesus' words are often addressed to different groups in the audience, but to which group is not usually recorded.

"He was at home" Whether this was Peter's or Mary's house or a rent house is uncertain.

Mark 2:2 "many were gathered" In eastern societies an open door meant "come on in," and they did.

"there was no longer any room even around the door" There may have been a small courtyard, but even so, this home would not hold a lot of people.

"He was speaking the word to them" This is an Imperfect active indicative, which can be understood as (1) the beginning of an act or (2) the repeating of an act. The "word" refers to Jesus' recurring message stated in Mark 1:14-15. His signs and actions changed, but the central core of His message remained the same.

Mark 2:3 "a paralytic" This is a compound of "to loose" and "along side." Possibly this was a stroke victim, paralyzed on one side. Jesus' actions had a twin purpose: (1) to fulfill the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 61:6 and (2) to proclaim His deity and authority by forgiving sin. For those who had spiritual eyes this was a clear, unambiguous sign!

Mark 2:4 "removed the roof" This is literally "they unroofed the roof." Roofs were accessible from the street and were often the place of social gatherings. They were usually flat and made of mud and branches with grass. Luke 5:19 has "tiles" which might imply a courtyard. Can you imagine Jesus trying to teach while pieces of the roof fell on all of them?

"pallet" This was a small straw mat used for sleeping.

Mark 2:5 "their faith" Jesus saw the faith of the friends as well as the paralytic's faith and acted on their belief.

"your sins are forgiven" This was probably or possibly an intentional provocation to the religious leaders who were present. Jesus was also encouraging this man's faith. The Jews believed there was a relationship between illness and sin (cf. Job; John 9:2; James 5:15-16). This man may have been concerned that his sin was somehow involved in his paralysis.

The UBS4 text has a present passive indicative. Some Greek texts have a perfect passive indicative (cf. P88, א, A, C, D, L, W), which is like Luke 5:20. However, Matthew 9:2 and MS B have a present passive indicative. It is hard to choose which of these two options is original.

Mark 2:6 "scribes" These were experts on the oral and written Law. They were either (1) an official delegation from Jerusalem sent to keep an eye on Jesus or (2) local interpreters of the Jewish traditions for the townspeople. They must have come early to get into the house or they expected to be allowed to move to the front because of their social status. See SPECIAL TOPIC: SCRIBES at Mark 1:22.

NASB, NKJV"reasoning in their hearts" NRSV"questioning in their hearts" TEV, NJB"thought to themselves"

The theological question is did Jesus read their thoughts, thus showing another evidence of His deity (cf. 1 Samuel 16:7; Psalms 7:9; Psalms 139:1-4; Proverbs 16:2; Proverbs 21:2; Proverbs 24:12; Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 20:12; Luke 16:15; Acts 15:8; Hebrews 4:12), or did He know their traditions and see their facial expressions?

This itself (cf. Mark 2:8) may have been another sign. The rabbis interpreted Isaiah 11:3 as the Messiah being able to discern people's thoughts.


Mark 2:7 "He is blaspheming" The penalty for blasphemy was death by stoning (cf. Leviticus 24:16). Jesus was guilty of this charge unless He was deity. Jesus' forgiving sin is also a not-so-subtle claim to deity or at least being a representative of divine power and authority.

"who can forgive sins but God alone" Jesus' message of repentance and faith (cf. Mark 1:14-15) was predicated on the assumption of the sinfulness of all humans (even the OT covenant people, cf. Romans 3:9-18). Sin is serious and has not only a temporal fellowship aspect, but an eternal eschatology aspect. Sin, and its power and consequences, is why Jesus came (cf. Mark 10:45; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

Only God can forgive sin because sin is primarily against Him (cf. Genesis 20:6; Genesis 39:9; 2 Samuel 12:13; Psalms 41:4; Psalms 51:4). Since the book of Isaiah is a recurrent reference (or allusion) in Mark's Gospel here are some verses in Isaiah that deal with the new age and forgiveness: Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 33:24; Isaiah 38:17; Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 44:22. This is another Messianic sign.

Mark 2:8, Mark 2:12 "Immediately" See note at Mark 1:10.

"Jesus, aware" See note at Mark 2:7.

"in His spirit" The Greek uncial manuscripts of the NT did not have

1. space between the words

2. punctuation marks

3. capitalization (all letters were capitals)

4. verse and chapter divisions

Therefore, only context can determine the need for capitals. Usually capitals are used for

1. names for deity

2. place names

3. personal names

The term "spirit" can refer to:

1. the Holy Spirit (cf. Mark 1:5)

2. the conscious personal aspect of humanity (cf. Mark 8:12; Mark 14:38)

3. some being of the spiritual realm (i.e., unclean spirits, cf. Mark 1:23).

In this context it refers to Jesus as a person.

I personally reject the theological concept of humans having three aspects (body, soul, and spirit based on 1 Thessalonians 5:23). Usually those who assert this concept turn this theological assumption into a hermeneutical grid by which all biblical texts are interpreted. These categories become airtight compartments by which God relates to humans. Humans are a unity (cf. Genesis 2:7). For a good summary of the theories of mankind as trichotomous, dichotomous, or a unity see Frank Stagg's Polarities of Man's Existence in a Biblical Perspective and Millard J. Erickson's Christian Theology (second edition) pp. 538-557.

Mark 2:9, Mark 2:11 "'Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk'" These are two aorist imperatives followed by a present imperative. This was an instantaneous and lasting cure. It was done for three reasons.

1. because Jesus cared for the needy man and rewarded his and his friends' faith

2. to continue to teach the disciples the gospel as it relates to His person and mission

3. to continue to confront and dialog with the religious leaders

These religious leaders have only two options: believe in Him or explain away His power and authority.

Mark 2:10 "'the Son of Man'" This was an adjectival phrase from the OT. It was used in Ezekiel 2:1 and Psalms 8:4 in its true etymological meaning of "human being." However, it was used in Daniel 7:13 in a unique context which implied both the humanity and deity of the person addressed by this new eschatological royal title (cf. Mark 8:38; Mark 9:9; Mark 13:26; Mark 14:26). Since this title was not used by rabbinical Judaism and therefore had none of the nationalistic, exclusivistic, militaristic implications, Jesus chose it as the perfect title of both veiling and revealing His dual nature, fully man and fully divine (cf. 1 John 4:1-3). It was His favorite self-designation. It is used thirteen times in Mark (often in relation to Jesus' various sufferings, cf. Mark 8:31; Mark 9:12, Mark 9:31; Mark 10:33, Mark 10:45; Mark 14:21, Mark 14:41).

"'has authority on earth to forgive sins'" Jesus performed this miracle for the purpose of witnessing to these scribes. This issue of authority (i.e., exousia) will become the focal issue. They cannot deny His power, so they will assert that His power and authority is demonic or Satanic in origin (cf. Matthew 10:25; Matthew 12:24-29; Luke 11:14-22).

Mark 2:12 "they were all amazed" This was not because of the healing; they had seen Him do that earlier, but for the forgiving of sins! They (the scribes and Pharisees) had their sign. Jesus clearly showed His power and authority. I wonder if these leaders were "glorifying God" on this occasion also.

Verses 13-14

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 2:13-14 13And He went out again by the seashore; and all the people were coming to Him, and He was teaching them. 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, "Follow Me!" And he got up and followed Him.

Mark 2:13 "all the people were coming to Him, and He was teaching them" These are two Imperfect tense verbs. Jesus always had time to teach the gospel and care for people. This is why the common people loved Him so much. He was so different from the judgmental, exclusivistic, religious leaders.

Mark 2:14 "Levi" The name in Hebrew means "a companion." It was the name of the priestly tribe of Israel. Jesus may have changed this man's name to "Matthew," which means "gift of YHWH" (cf. Mark 3:18; Matthew 9:9) or, like Paul, his parents gave him two names at birth.

"sitting in the tax booth" Tax collecting was a profession the Jewish population despised because it was purchased from the Roman authorities. Tax collectors had to levy a certain tax on all goods for Rome. Herod Antipas would also get part of the tax collected. Anything above the set amount which they collected, they kept as their salary. Tax collecting was noted for its high incidence of fraud. Levi was probably collecting the tax on fish exports.

"'Follow Me'" This is a present active imperative. This was an official call to discipleship (cf. Mark 1:17, Mark 1:20). It must be remembered that the rabbis called disciples to bind themselves to the Law, but Jesus called these men to bind themselves to Him. Jesus, not human performance of Mosaic rules (i.e., the Talmud), is the way of salvation. Repentance is not a turning back to the Mosaic Law, but a turning to Jesus, YHWH's Messiah. Jesus did not reject the Law, but put Himself in its traditional place and as its only proper interpretation (cf. Matthew 5:17-48). Salvation is a person, not just a creed or the performance of a code. This issue is basically the reason Jesus came into purposeful conflict with the religious leaders.

In his book The Method and Message of Jesus' Teachings, Robert H. Stein makes a good point about this statement:

"Although the term 'totalitarian' has many negative connotations, Archibald M. Hunter's use of this term is an accurate one and describes well the total commitment that Jesus demanded of his followers. On the lips of anyone else the claims of Jesus would appear to be evidence of gross egomania, for Jesus clearly implies that the entire world revolves around himself and that the fate of all men is dependent on their acceptance or rejection of him. . .According to Jesus, the fate of man centers around him. Rejection of him means eternal judgment; acceptance of him means acceptance by God. The pivotal point of history and salvation, Jesus claims, is himself. To obey him is to be wise and escape judgment, but to reject his words is to be foolish and perish, for his words are the only sure foundation upon which to build (Matthew 7:24-27)" (p. 118).

Verses 15-17

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 2:15-17 15And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. 16When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, "Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?" 17And hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Mark 2:15 "He was reclining at the table in his house" This was Levi's home (cf. Luke 5:29). Jesus ate with the socially and religiously outcast as a way to initiate a religious dialog with them. They flocked to Him because He acted so different from the self-righteous Jewish leaders. Eating was a special event in the Ancient Near East which expressed friendship and acceptance. They would have reclined on their left elbow around a low horseshoe-shaped table with their feet behind them (this has been challenged by J. Jeremias in his book The Eucharistic Words of Jesus, pp. 20-21. He asserts that Jews did not regularly follow the Mediterranean custom of reclining, except during feast days). In the Near East others who were not invited to the meal could come into the dining area and stand around the walls or at the door or windows and listen to the conversation.

One wonders how much eschatological symbolism should be read into this context. Is this feast a foreshadowing of the Messianic banquet which will include outcasts (cf. Matthew 8:11; Luke 13:29 possibly reflecting Isaiah 59:15-21)? If so, then there is the theological insight that temporal fellowship with Jesus mirrors eschatological kingdom fellowship. Sinners are reconciled now and in eternity! All sinners are welcome (and all are sinners, even the OT covenant people, cf. Romans 3:9-18).

"sinners" This refers to those people who did not keep all the details of the Oral Traditions (i.e., the Talmud). They were often referred to in a derogatory sense as the "people of the land." They were not fully welcome at the synagogue.

"and His disciples" These select men were privy to all of Jesus' words and deeds. In truth they were primarily meant for them. They would record and explain Jesus to the world.

"for there were many of them, and they were following Him" The grammar is ambiguous, but seems to refer to "sinners" and not to His disciples.

Mark 2:16 "the scribes of the Pharisees" Scribes were not exclusively of one religious/political party, though most of them in Jesus' day were Pharisees. The Pharisees were a particular theological sect of Judaism which developed during the Maccabean period. They were very committed and sincere religionists who strictly followed the Oral Traditions (i.e., the Talmud).


Mark 2:16 "He was eating with sinners" This must have been a regular event, not an exception (cf. Luke 5:29; Luke 7:34; Luke 15:1-2). It was so shocking to the self-righteous, religious elite!

Mark 2:17 "'those who are sick'" They had a sense of need that was essential for faith (cf. Matthew 5:3-4) and Jesus was their healer and friend (cf. Luke 7:34; Luke 19:10).

"'I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners'" This is an ironic, possibly sarcastic statement like Mark 7:19. This statement was not meant to imply that the religious leaders were righteous (cf. Matthew 5:20) and therefore did not need to repent, but that Jesus' message (cf. Mark 1:14-15) was more appealing to those who sensed their own spiritual need. Jesus uses proverbial statements often in His teaching (cf. Mark 2:17, Mark 2:21, Mark 2:22, Mark 2:27; Mark 3:27; Mark 4:21, Mark 4:22, Mark 4:25; Mark 7:15; Mark 8:35, Mark 8:36, Mark 8:37; Mark 9:40, Mark 9:50; Mark 10:25, Mark 10:27, Mark 10:31, Mark 10:43-44). No one is more blind than those who think they see!

The Textus Receptus adds "to repentance" at the end of this verse following the Lukan parallel (cf. Mark 5:32) and Byzantine texts, but this variant is not even included in the UBS4 critical apparatus as a possibility.

Verses 18-20

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 2:18-20 18John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and they came and said to Him, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?" 19And Jesus said to them, "While the bridegroom is with them, the attendants of the bridegroom cannot fast, can they? So long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day."

Mark 2:18-20 "fasting" The Pharisees and John's disciples were culturally conditioned to fast twice a week, on Mondays, and Thursdays (cf. Luke 18:12). The Mosaic Law only had one fast day a year, the Day of Atonement (cf. Leviticus 16:0). These twice-a-week fasts are a good example of developed traditionalism (cf. Zechariah 7-8). Fasting loses its spiritual value when it becomes mandatory and draws attention to itself (cf. Matthew 6:16-18).


NASB, NKJV"they came" NRSV"people came" TEV, NJB"some people came"

Verse Mark 2:18 starts out noting that John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting for some occasion. Some others took note of this and came and asked Jesus about why His disciples did not fast on this occasion.

Mark 2:19 Grammatically this question expects a negative answer.

"'bridegroom'" There is so much OT imagery involved in the concept of "bridegroom." In the OT YHWH is the bridegroom or husband of Israel. In this context Jesus is the bridegroom and the church is the bride (cf. Ephesians 5:23-32). In Mark 2:20 "the bridegroom is taken away" refers to a time when a separation will occur.

Now, as interpreters we have two choices. First, we can see this as a cultural metaphor about a time of joy connected to a wedding. No one fasts during a wedding! Second, we can see it as parabolic of Jesus' time on earth and His coming crucifixion. Mark (Peter's interpreter) would have known the full implication of these metaphorically laden terms (in Judaism the bridegroom was a metaphor, not of the Messiah, but of the coming Kingdom of God). Is this a prediction of Jesus' death? He has clearly revealed His Messiahship and deity through His words and deeds (i.e., exorcisms, healings, forgiving sins). However, the Messianic Secret of Mark causes one to wonder! But the parabolic language and its implication of Mark 2:21-22 make me see the entire context in a vicarious, yet eschatological, setting (i.e., the bridegroom dies, but the Son of God returns and remains). Between the death and return (i.e., the Messianic banquet), His followers will fast in an appropriate way and at an appropriate time.

Mark 2:20 "'taken away'" This may be an allusion to Isaiah 53:8 in the Septuagint. After the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension Peter fully understood the significance of Isaiah 53:0.

"'they will fast'" This is a future active indicative (a statement of fact), not an imperative (command).

Verses 21-22

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 2:21-22 21"No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; otherwise the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear results. 22No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins."

Mark 2:21 This reflects a cultural truth, turned into a proverb.

Mark 2:22 "wineskins" This referred to goats being skinned in such a way as to allow the skins to be used as a container for liquids. These newly tanned skins would have elastic qualities. When these skins became old, the fermentation process and expansion of the new wine would cause them to split. Judaism was unable to receive Jesus' insights and corrections and, therefore, was about to be made null and void. The new covenant (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:22-38) has come in Jesus! Nothing can remain the same.

There are several Greek variants connected to this verse. Some come from the parallels in Matthew 9:17 and Luke 5:37-38. Mark's succinct way of recording these events caused scribes to attempt to clarify his language.

Notice the metaphorical titles for Jesus in this context: (1) the physician, Mark 2:17; (2) the bridegroom, Mark 2:19; (3) the new wine, Mark 2:21-22; and (4) the Lord of the Sabbath, Mark 2:28.

"lost" See Special Topic: Apollumi at Mark 3:6.

Verses 23-28

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 2:23-28 23And it happened that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. 24The Pharisees were saying to Him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?" 25And He said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; 26how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?" 27Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

Mark 2:23 "He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath" This referred to the footpaths through the grain fields which surrounded the villages and towns. These "grainfields" could refer to any kind of cereal grain (i.e., barley, wheat).

Mark 2:24 "'why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath'" The Pharisees considered the disciples' actions as (1) harvesting; (2) winnowing; and (3) preparing food on the Sabbath, which was illegal according to their oral traditions based on Exodus 34:21. Jesus' disciples were not doing anything illegal in their actions according to the gleaning laws of the OT (cf. Deuteronomy 23:25); the problem was the day (cf. Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11; Exodus 23:12; Exodus 31:15; Deuteronomy 5:12-15) on which they did it! It seems that the Gospel writers record Jesus' actions on the Sabbath to show (1) the controversies they caused or (2) that Jesus did these kinds of things everyday and the Sabbath was no exception.

Mark 2:25-28 This famous statement (cf. Mark 2:27) by Jesus is unique to Mark. It expresses His authority to reinterpret OT traditional understandings and guidelines (cf. Matthew 5:17-48). This was in reality another sign that Jesus was claiming to be God's Messiah.

Mark 2:25 Grammatically this question expects a negative answer. It refers to an account of David's life recorded in 1 Samuel 21:0. Jesus often used the OT to illustrate His teachings (cf. Mark 2:25-26; Mark 4:12; Mark 10:6-8, Mark 10:19; Mark 12:26, Mark 12:29-30, Mark 12:36).

Mark 2:26 ' "the house of God'" This referred to the portable Tabernacle located at Nod.

"'Abiathar'" There is a historical problem between 1 Samuel 21:1ff, when compared to 2 Samuel 8:17 and 1 Chronicles 18:16 over the name Abiathar or Abimelech: (1) both the father and the son are called High Priest and (2) Jesus used a preposition, epi, with a genitive in the sense of "in the days of" which meant "during his time" (cf. Acts 11:28; Hebrews 1:2). We know that shortly after this event King Saul killed Abimelech and Abiathar fled to David (cf. 1 Samuel 22:11-23) and became one of two recognized high priests (i.e., Abiathar and Zadock).

This is one example of the kinds of problems that simply cannot be explained away. This is not Greek manuscript variation. If it was one has to assume an early scribal error before the papyri manuscripts were hand copied (which is speculation). It bothers all Bible teachers that Jesus misquotes a part of the OT history, especially since in this context Jesus is chiding the Pharisees for not reading the Scripture.

There are some books that try to deal with the conservative options in interpreting difficult texts.

1. Hard Sayings of the Bible by Walter C Kaiser, Jr., Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce and Manfred T. Branch.

2. Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason L. Archer.

3. Answers to Questions by F. F. Bruce.

"'consecrated bread'" The loaves weighed about 6 pounds each! There were 12 loaves replaced weekly and the week-old loaves symbolizing YHWH's provisions for the twelve tribes of Israel were to be eaten by the priests only (cf. Exodus 25:23-28; Leviticus 24:5-9). God made an exception to the rule in this case. Jesus is claiming to have the same authority as the High Priest and the same right as the soon-to-be king, David!

Mark 2:27 The Sabbath regulations had become the priority. These traditions had become the issue of religion, not love for humans made in God's image. The priority of rules had replaced the priority of relationship. Merit had replaced love. Religious traditions (i.e., the Oral Law) have replaced God's intent (cf. Isaiah 29:13; Colossians 2:16-23). How does one please God? A good OT analogy might be sacrifice. God intended it as a way for sinful, needy humanity to come to Him and restore broken fellowship, but it turned into a ritual, liturgical procedure. So too, Sabbath law! Mankind had become the servant instead of the object (i.e., the reason for the laws).

The three statements of Mark 2:27-28 are, in one sense, parallel (i.e., all use the general terms for humanity). The term "son of man" in Mark 2:28 is the Semitic idiom for "human person" (cf. Psalms 8:4; Ezekiel 2:1). It became Jesus' self-designation. Jesus, the Man, reveals the ultimate dignity and priority of humanity! God became one of us, for us! Human need precedes religious tradition. God is for us individually and collectively.

Mark 2:28 "Son of Man" See note at Mark 2:10.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Mark 2". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/mark-2.html. 2021.
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