JESUS HEALS A MAN WHO COULD NOT WALK
Psalm 89:8, ESV
O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you?
MARK 2:1-2, NIrV
1 A few days later, Jesus entered Capernaum again. The people heard that he had come home. 2 So many people gathered that there was no room left. There was not even room outside the door. And Jesus preached the word to them.
After being baptized in the Jordan River and tempted by the devil in the wilderness, Jesus got straight to work! He traveled all over Galilee, a part of his home country, Israel. Going from town to town, he preached about God's kingdom, chased out evil spirits, and healed impossible-to-cure diseases. Eventually, he came to Capernaum, a town he’d lived in before beginning his travels. When the people heard that Jesus, the powerful preacher and miracle worker, was back home, it was big news! They packed as many people as possible into a house just to hear him preach!
+ Why did so many people in Capernaum crowd into the house where Jesus was?
+ What was Jesus doing in the house? (vs. 2)
MARK 2:3-4, NIrV
3 Four of those who came were carrying a man who could not walk. 4 But they could not get him close to Jesus because of the crowd. So they made a hole by digging through the roof above Jesus. Then they lowered the man through it on a mat.
Four men in Capernaum were extra excited to learn that Jesus had come to town. They must have heard about his power to fix impossible-to-fix problems. And they had a friend with just that kind of problem: legs that could not walk! But with half the town of Capernaum crammed into one house, these four friends couldn’t squeeze their way past the crowd. Quickly, they came up with a creative backup plan. Houses back then had a set of stairs that led to the roof. So they carried their buddy up the steps, dug a hole in the roof, and carefully lowered their friend to the floor.
+ Why did these four men want to bring their friend to Jesus?
+ If you were there and heard someone digging through the roof, what would you think?
MARK 2:5-7, NIrV
5 Jesus saw their faith. So he said to the man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
6 Some teachers of the law were sitting there. They were thinking, 7 “Why is this fellow talking like that? He’s saying a very evil thing! Only God can forgive sins!”
These four friends had gone through a lot of trouble to bring their buddy to Jesus. They hoped to hear him say, “Son, your legs are healed!” But Jesus had seen their faith and how much they trusted in his power to heal the legs of their friend. So he said something totally unexpected: “Son, your sins are forgiven!” What Jesus said left the four friends feeling surprised and probably a little bit confused. But his words left another group, the scribes, fuming with rage! These Bible experts thought to themselves, “Who does this Jesus guy think he is? Only God can forgive a person’s sins!”
+ What did Jesus say when he saw the faith of the four friends? (vs. 5)
+ Why were the scribes angry at Jesus? (vs. 6-7)
MARK 2:8-12, NIRV
8 Right away Jesus knew what they were thinking. So he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Is it easier to say to this man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’? Or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So Jesus spoke to the man who could not walk. 11 “I tell you,” he said, “get up. Take your mat and go home.” 12 The man got up and took his mat. Then he walked away while everyone watched. All the people were amazed. They praised God and said, “We have never seen anything like this!”
Jesus knew what the scribes were thinking: “Only God can forgive someone’s sins!” But we know Jesus’ secret: he was God! To prove this to the scribes, he asked “What’s easier for me to say to this man? Is it ‘Your sins are forgiven” or ‘stand up and walk’?” The answer is pretty clear. It’s way easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven.” Sins are invisible; no one would know if Jesus was lying. But if he told the man to stand up and nothing happened, Jesus would look like a big, old phony! So to prove he had the power to do what they couldn’t see (forgive sins), Jesus did a miracle they could see.
+ Why was Jesus able to know what the scribes were thinking?
+ What did the people do when Jesus healed the man who could not walk? (vs. 12)
MARK 3:1-3, NIRV
1 Another time Jesus went into the synagogue. A man with a weak and twisted hand was there. 2 Some Pharisees were trying to find fault with Jesus. They watched him closely. They wanted to see if he would heal the man on the Sabbath day. 3 Jesus spoke to the man with the weak and twisted hand. “Stand up in front of everyone,” he said.
After healing a man whose legs didn't work, Jesus met someone with a different body-part problem: a man with a withered hand. It was weak and the fingers wouldn't stretch open. Because of this, that hand was totally useless! A group of Bible experts, the Pharisees, watched Jesus closely. Were they hoping to see a miracle? Nope! They were hoping to get Jesus in trouble! It was the Sabbath, the last day of the week. On that day, God commanded his people to rest and do no work. If Jesus healed the man's hand, the Pharisees were ready to pop out and say, "Ha! You broke the Sabbath!"
+ What problem did this man have? (vs. 1)
+ Why were the Pharisees watching Jesus closely? (vs. 2)
MARK 3:4-6, NIRV
4 Then Jesus asked them, “What does the Law say we should do on the Sabbath day? Should we do good? Or should we do evil? Should we save life? Or should we kill?” But no one answered.
5 Jesus looked around at them in anger. He was very upset because their hearts were stubborn. Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand had become as good as new. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to make plans with the Herodians. They wanted to kill Jesus.
The Pharisees had their eyes laser-focused on Jesus. But they weren’t trying to catch a glimpse of a miracle; they were trying to catch Jesus breaking one of their rules. The Pharisees spent a lot of time reading and thinking and talking about God’s laws in the Bible. To make sure God’s rules were followed, they even came up with their own list of rules. Their rules were extra rules about obeying God’s rules!
One of God’s laws was about the Sabbath, the last day of the week. On that day, God told his people to rest. They weren’t allowed to do any work. But the Pharisees made loads of extra rules about the Sabbath day. They had a long list describing everything that was okay (and not okay) to do on the Sabbath. To them, doing the healing work of a doctor counted as work. If Jesus healed this man’s hand, even though it was a miracle, the Pharisees would say, “Caught ya, Jesus! You broke the Sabbath!”
But Jesus knew exactly what these Pharisees were doing. So he asked them a question: “Does God’s law allow us to do good on the Sabbath day or to do harm? Does God want us to save a life on the Sabbath or take a life?” By asking that question, Jesus was showing them how foolish their extra rules were. Their list of extra Dos and Don’ts kept them from doing any good or helping anyone on the Sabbath day.
Jesus would never dream of breaking any of God’s laws, but he had no problem breaking the Pharisees’ extra rules about the Sabbath. “Stretch out your hand,” he said to the man with the withered hand. And at Jesus’ word, the man’s hand was as good as new! For the first time, he could stretch it out and wiggle his fingers! If he wanted, he was now even able to use that hand to give Jesus a thumbs up!
But did the Pharisees celebrate this wonderful healing? Did they jump out and give the man a high-five on his just-like-new hand? Nope. They stormed out and started making secret plans to destroy Jesus! Why? Because he dared to break their rules!
This week, we’ve watched as Jesus fixed legs that could not walk and fingers that could not wiggle. With just a few words, Jesus solved both of these unsolvable problems. These two miracles show us what the Pharisees refused to see: Jesus was more than just an ordinary man. He was the all-powerful Son of God!
That’s good news for sinners like you and me! Since Jesus is God, he has the power to forgive our sins, to rescue us from the punishment we deserve. He came to earth to solve our unsolvable sin problem. To finish that mission, he allowed himself to be nailed to a cross and punished in our place. And with the same power that fixed legs and hands, Jesus fixed his own dead body! He rose back to life on the third day!
+ Why was Jesus angry with the Pharisees? (vs. 5)
+ What made the Pharisees want to destroy Jesus?