Mark: 2:1-12 | Jesus’ Authority to Forgive

July 5, 2020
Book: Mark
Series: Mark

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The Gospel of Mark reveals the authority of Jesus. We’ve learned how Jesus has authority over demons, disease, and nature. In this lesson, Pastor Dustin Daniels teaches how Jesus has the authority to do something that only God Himself can do–and that is to forgive sin.

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Full Sermon Transcript

Pastor Dustin Daniels | River Bible Church
Mark: 2:1-12 | Jesus’ Authority To Forgive
July 5, 2020

INTRO:

Last week we witnessed an extraordinary miracle from Jesus.

You say, “I thought miracles were all extraordinary and special!”

Well, Jesus shows us that miracles are all special, but healing a leper—a fellow Jew—as He did, places Him in a whole new category of Rabbi’s, Teachers, Healers, and Exorcists.

Three big takeaway’s from last week that is important for today’s lesson as well.

1. Rabbis viewed leprosy as something that could not be healed because man could not overturn God’s decision of judgment.

Leprosy was a punishment for sin.

Rabbis called lepers “the living dead.” They had no hope.

2. The leper saw himself as despised by men and cursed by God (2 Chron. 26:17–21). 

This was a man who has nothing to lose.

He’s was a position where he must break the law or die.

3. There is no record found in Scripture where a Jew was ever healed from leprosy. 

And yet we see Jesus heal this man instantly.

Today, we have a transition with the Gospel of Mark.

Today we’ll learn the first of five encounters that Jesus has with the Jewish Leaders. (Mark 2:1–12, 13–17, 18–22, 23–28; 3:1–6)

These five stories don’t focus so much on Jesus or healing,

But instead, they center on the leaders and their response to Jesus.

PLEASE STAND: SCRIPTURE: Mark 2:1-12

Mark 2:1 And when Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that He was at home. ESV

Mark 2:2 So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway, and Jesus was speaking The Word to them. CSB

Mark 2:3 Four men came to Him carrying a paralyzed man. GW

Mark 2:4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above His head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. NLT

Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” NIV

Mark 2:6 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, NKJV

Mark 2:7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” ESV

Mark 2:8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so He asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? NLT

Mark 2:9 Which is easier to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? NIV

Mark 2:10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So Jesus said to the man, NIV

Mark 2:11  “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” NLT

Mark 2:12  Immediately he got up, took the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” CSB

This is the Word of our Lord, Amen.

PRAY:
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. (Ps. 103)

In Christ’s name. Amen.

EXEGESIS: Mark 2:1-12

Mark 2:1 And when Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that He was at home. ESV

After some days— is a broad phrase — an indefinite period of time (cf. Luke 5:17).

Your translation may say “few days/several days.”

The reality is that it could have been weeks or even months.

The Jewish timeframe is not as important as it is in our culture. It’s not as exact.

He was at home— This is Simon Peter’s home. This is where Jesus is living in Capernaum.

Scripture tells us that Jesus did not have a home of His own; He simply stayed at other people’s homes as a guest.

Mark 2:2 So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway, and Jesus was speaking The Word to them. CSB

So many people gathered— is an understatement.

Simon Peter’s house was so packed that you couldn’t even get close to the front door.

Now, that doesn’t mean that people were there to actually listen, repent from their sins, and be saved.

For the most part, the crowds were spiritually indifferent to Jesus.

Most of them were curious about miracles.

We’ll see as we go through the gospels that, for the most part, the crowds represent spiritual apathy, doubt, and indecision.

The same things we deal with today.

Jesus was speaking The Word to them—Jesus was preaching the Gospel.

He wasn’t talking about current events, politics, or entertainment.

He was giving them the life-giving words of the Gospel.

And this is so important for us as The Church today.

Please know that the pulpit is to do one thing—and that is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, period, the end.

Why? Because that’s what Jesus did.

Mark 2:3 Four men came to him carrying a paralyzed man. GW

It’s possible that it was a large group of friends, but the focus is on these four men.

Mark 2:4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. NLT

Wow, who doesn’t want friends like that?

Your translation may say, “they unroofed the roof.”

Jewish homes were typically one story— with a flat patio roof.

This roof was accessible by an external staircase.

How difficult do you think it is to get a paralyzed man—with a stretcher— up this staircase and onto the roof?

The typical roof contained large wooden beams with smaller pieces of wood between these beams, covered twigs, straw, and mud.

Tiles would then be installed on top of all that.

Just picture the scene that these four men cause?

What a mess, Jesus is preaching and all of a sudden all this noise—

All this mud, twigs, and straw start falling on His head, and everyone else standing around.

We’re talking a big hole! Like six feet wide.

Here’s the crazy thing…Jesus is not offended by this mess—by this disruption to His teaching, he’s encouraged.

KeyPoint 1:
These four friends are not like the crowd—they are disciples.

The crowd stands around, listening, and doing nothing.

These men are committed to action.

They love their friend are not going home until they get him in front of Jesus.

If there are obstacles in the way, they are going to find around, above, and through those obstacles for their friend—no matter the cost.

Who doesn’t want friends like these? We all do.

But the better question is, are you a friend like this?

Why did these friends do this?

Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” NIV

What did these friends have faith in?

They believed that Jesus had the power to heal their friend.

These men have heard the stories; maybe they’ve seen Jesus preach for themselves…

And as soon as they heard Jesus was back in town, they gathered the troops.

This is the first mention of faith in the Gospel of Mark.

Note here, Jesus is linking action with faith.

Jesus doesn’t emphasize knowing anything or how they feel.

Think about it; we have no idea what these friends believe.

We have no clue what the paralyzed man believes!

What’s Jesus’ point?

KEYPOINT 2:
Faith is not knowledge about Jesus but trust in Jesus.

Trust that He is who He says He is.

And evidently, these four friends truly believed it and proved it by their actions.

Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” NIV

“Son, your sins are forgiven.”— Wait, This is a bit strange.

He’s not there to be forgiven, but to be healed.

Can’t you just see one of the friends shouting from the broken roof,

“No…Jesus, he needs to be healed.”

Evidently, everyone else in the room could see that this man was brought for healing,

But only Jesus saw the more significant problem—his need for forgiveness.

This man has two problems:

  1. Physical healing
  2. Spiritual healing

Jesus is addressing the more severe issue first.

“Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Can you just hear the silence in the room?

This had to shock everybody.

When Jesus looked up at the roof, Jesus saw faith.

And it’s because of their faith, that Jesus wants to do something more than heal the man.

Mark 2:7 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, NKJV

The Scribes— A scribe is an expert in the understanding and study of the law of Moses.

They’re also referred to as lawyers and teachers of the law.

With scribes in the audience, we know that the investigation from last week worked, didn’t it?

The scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem had to walk at least three days to get to Capernaum.

Gospel of Luke tells us that these men were from all over, specifically Jerusalem.

Why all the fuss? Why would these religious leaders walk at least three days —90 miles to hear Jesus preach?

No prophet had ever healed a Jewish leper before.

So, the investigation into how the leper was healed from last week triggered another investigation by the Sanhedrin.

The Sanhedrin is like the Jewish Supreme Court.

It includes 71 members that were chief priests, elders, and teachers of the law.

It was led and managed by the High Priest.

All the muctky-mucks were in the little town of Capernaum.

It would be like Billy Graham visiting Cottonwood during his hay-day.

And what we see here is the first stage of their investigation—observation.

Observation is the first of two stages of the investigation.

The second stage is the interrogation.

During the observation stage, the religious leaders only observed what was being said, taught, and done.

At this point, they didn’t ask any questions or state any objections.

Usually, it was a small group of leaders—like those investigating John the Baptizer.

But, Jesus is different.

Jesus is not only claiming to be the Messiah, but has also performed a selective miracle to prove it.

So, instead of a small delegation, religious leaders from all over the country chose to go.

This is one reason we see so many people at Simon Peters’ home in verse 2.

Now, Jesus has the Jewish Supreme Court watching every move He makes.

Do you think for one moment, this statement was an accident?

Of course not, Jesus is sending a message.

Jesus is sending these religious leaders to their Hebrew Bibles.

Specifically, the book of Leviticus.

In Leviticus 4-6, the theme is atonement.

Atonement is all about reconciling sinful humanity to a holy God.

Atone: “At-one”.

In Leviticus 4-6 details the blood sacrifices that are necessary for the forgiveness of sins.

The phrase “your sins are forgiven” is in the passive voice.

This passive voice is only found in one section of the Hebrew Bible—you guessed it—Lev. 4-6.

The passive voice means— that God is one doing the forgiving.

These leaders knew that Jesus was claiming the authority that God asserted for Himself.

Jesus was using terminology that only God would use—

And spoke words that no other Rabbi would dare to speak.

KEYPOINT 3:
Jesus is speaking as God.

In doing so, Jesus was issuing a direct challenge to the religious leaders.

Mark 2:7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” ESV

Apart from the Day of Atonement, not even the chief priest could forgive sins.

The Day of Atonement is the holiest day of the year for Israel.

This is the day the high priest entered the Most Holy Place in the Temple to offer sacrifices for the nation’s sins.

The Most Holy Place is where the Spirit of God dwelt.

It is a reality of the unapproachable presence of God on our own terms.

Keep in mind; this is the observation phase of the investigation.

The religious leaders weren’t planning on saying anything.

So they think to themselves, Who can forgive sins but God alone?

Who has the ability?

No one can forgive sins except God alone.

Their theology is correct.

This means one of two things:

  1. Jesus is a blasphemer, or 2) Jesus is the Messiah—the anointed one of God.

There are three different levels of blasphemy.

Jesus is being charged with the most severe level—

He claimed to possess divine authority and equality with God.

For a mere man to act as if he were, God was the most shocking and appalling offense of all.

I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal to us today,

but the consequence for claiming to be God was death (Lv 24:16; Jn 10:33),

and it was the charge of blasphemy where Jesus was eventually executed (Mk 14:64).

Mark 2:8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? NLT

Jesus answers their question with a question of His own.

Mark 2:9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? NIV

Jesus asks them a question to get them to think.

What’s easier to say?

It’s easier to say, “that your sins are forgiven.”

How do you test this? What proof do you need? What outward visible sign is required that sins have been forgiven?

The harder thing to say is, “Get up, take your mat, and walk.”

Because there is visible proof!

Mark 2:10  But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” NIV

Son of Man—Jesus’ favorite title for Himself.

He probably chose this title because it’s free of the political and military overtones of a new king.

The title emphasizes His humanity, but what He’s doing—forgiving sins—also emphasized His deity.

This is why we say that Jesus is truly man and truly God.

This is why Jesus is the only one who can forgive sins.

Jesus is man, because man is the one who sinned.

Jesus is also God, because He is the only one who can make the satisfaction for sin once and for all.

Mark 2:11 So he said to the man, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” NLT

Mark 2:12  Immediately he got up, took the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” CSB

Just like the four friends who were all action, Jesus now takes action.

Jesus proves that he can say the easier thing (your sins are forgiven) and by doing so, accomplishes the harder thing by healing this man.”

When Jesus accomplished the harder thing to do, it also proved that He could forgive sins.

It proved that He is indeed God.

Note here, the forgiveness of sin comes before the healing.

Jesus shows us that this man is not truly healed until his sins are forgiven.

Lastly, Jesus wants the man to walk about in front of everyone to prove that he was completely healed.

The religious leaders accused Jesus of being a blasphemer,

But blasphemers are:

  1. not able to read minds.
  2. They can’t forgive sins,
  3. and they can’t heal paralyzed men.

By performing this miracle, Jesus proved for everyone to see that He was not a blasphemer.

KEYPOINT 4
If Jesus was not a blasphemer, then He was God—just as He said.

PREACH:
What does this story mean for us today?

It corresponds directly to mankind’s greatest need—the forgiveness of sins

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;

And we will one day very soon stand guilty before a holy God for those sins.

That’s the bad news.

And yet, God provides the good news— going back to the OT.

God introduced Himself to Moses with these words,

Exodus 34:6 The Lord! The Lord!The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. 

Exodus 34:7 I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected
even children in the third and fourth generations.” 

The man’s physical disease is a symbol of his spiritual condition,

And Jesus’ power to heal his body validated the claim that He can forgive sin.

God can both uphold justice, because an honest judge must punish people for their crimes.

And at the same time, God can also forgive sinners because your penalty for sin was satisfied by His Son, who died as a substitute for sinners (2 Cor. 5:20–21; Col. 2:13–14).

That is the beauty and grace of the Gospel—

PRAY:
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; 
may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. (Ps. 103)

In Jesus Name Amen.

Tithes and Offerings:

I want to introduce you to Steve and Jen Hagen. They are missionaries in the Philippines.

They are working with a tribe called the Bugkalot people. Years ago, the Bugkalots were headhunters.

They used to kill members of other tribes and take the heads home as trophies. Then missionaries took the gospel to them.

Now more than a fourth of the Bugkalots are Christian. Steve and Jen have been visiting Christians in the villages to disciple them – to train them as missionaries able to take the gospel to those other tribes they once killed.

Wow, that’s the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And that’s why a portion of your tithes and offerings go to missionaries like them all over the world.

Ways to give:

  1. Two black boxes in the foyer.
  2. PO Box 4540 Cottonwood AZ 86326
  3. Online via our website at RiverBible.org
  4. Or text 928-421-4030. Give 1

Sermon Bibliography
Beale, G. K., and D. A. Carson. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos, 2007.

Blight, Richard C. An Exegetical Summary of Mark 1–8. Dallas, TX: SIL International, 2012.

Blum, Edwin A., and Trevin Wax, eds. CSB Study Bible: Notes. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017.

Cross, F. L., and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Edwards, James R. The Gospel according to Mark. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2002.

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Yeshua: The Life of Messiah from a Messianic Jewish Perspective. Vol. 2. San Antonio, TX: Ariel, 2017.

Kernaghan, Ronald J. Mark. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007.

MacArthur, John. Mark 1–8. MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015.

Manser, Martin H. Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser, 2009.

Osborne, Grant R. Mark. Edited by Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton. Teach the Text Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014.

Oden, Thomas C., and Christopher A. Hall, eds. Mark (Revised). Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998.

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