Great Expectations

The Gospel of Mark – Part 8

Great Expectations – Mark 2:1-12

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Aug. 18th, 2019

Intro:

  • This morning we are continuing our series as we move into chapter 2 in the Gospel of Mark where we will read about the faith of four friends, the authority and power of God and the reasons for miracles. At this point in the story, Jesus had been ministering around the Sea of Galilee.  He was calling disciples to follow, teaching with authority, commanding evil spirits, and performing many miracles. His fame had spread far and fast and people were seeking after Him from many places.  
  • In chapter 2, Mark records a story of a healing of a paralytic, the events surrounding and the teaching from it. The first thing we will look at it the faith and the faithfulness of friends. 

The faith of friends

Mark 2:1-4 ESV
And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.

  • Jesus had been ministering in a number of places and then returned to the town of Capernaum. It was reported that He was home. Now, there is good reason to believe that it was not a home that Jesus owned, because He said, “the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matt 8:20 NIV), but perhaps it was a place he was renting or the house of Peter. Either way, Jesus was back in town and the news that He was back had gotten around and people came to Him.  So many people that there was no more room in the house! You could not even get close to the door there were so many people.  Jesus was “preaching the word to them,” that is, preaching from the word of God – speaking from the Bible is the only thing that can be considered “preaching.” Even God Himself used the written word.  
  • As He was preaching four men came carrying a man who was paralyzed. How far they came we don’t know, but we do know that carrying a man required effort, strength, time and persistence.  They came with the expectation that Jesus could heal their friend. But when they arrived at the place where Jesus was, there was a huge crowd and no room.
  • However, these guys did not give up. They were determined to get this man to Jesus. They came up with an ingenious way to accomplish their task, which required more effort and perhaps a rebuke and cost of damaging the property. You are truly and richly blessed if you have friends like this, that love you so much that they will do whatever it takes to get you to Jesus and get you the help you need. Which makes us ask a question, “Who are the people in my life that brought me to Jesus?” Reach out, thank and always honor them. This makes us ask another question, “Am I like one of these four friends? Would I do whatever it takes to bring someone to Jesus?” Or “Do I stop at wishful thinking or stop short when it gets difficult or too costly?” 
  • I wonder what Jesus and the crowd was thinking when they were seeing the roof being removed?  I wonder what the paralytic thought and felt about what was going on and what was being done for him and to him? It may have looked something like this (slide). Because of their faith and their faithfulness, something marvelous happened because Jesus and the power of God. 

The power of God

Mark 2:5-9 ESV
And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”  6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts?  9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’?  

  • Jesus responds to faith in people and gives them what they truly need. I imagine that their expectation was that Jesus would heal this man physically. But Jesus understood that this man and his friends had faith in Jesus, believed in Him and wanted to be with Him. Jesus gave the man what He truly needed most – greater than even his physical need- He granted him forgiveness of his sin which qualified him for eternal life.  
  • Now those who knew the Bible best understood that only God could forgive sins, and they did not believe that Jesus was God (isn’t it interesting that sometimes those who are the most religious miss who Jesus is). They understood that by Jesus saying this He was claiming the authority of God, meaning that He was God. Jesus knew their thoughts (as He does ours) and He addressed their thoughts by asking them, “Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’” The answer to the question is that it is easier to says your sins are forgiven. Why?  How do you know that is the case? It’s because it is an issue of standing with God, which is immaterial, where as saying “Rise, take up your bed and walk” is harder because the result of that statement would be immediately and physically demonstrated. Saying “Your sins are forgiven” is easier to say but harder to accomplish. To forgive sins took perfect obedience, steadfast love and overwhelming suffering. To heal required faith and power. 
  • Which is the greater miracle? The forgiveness of sins or the healing of a body? Which miracle has the greatest value? The body can be broken again and in the end it will fail. But forgiveness of sin results in life eternal and all that God has in store for those who love Him are forgiven of their sins. Forgiveness is greater than healing because in forgiveness of our sin there will be healing of the whole person that will last for eternity. We are to rejoice that our names are written in heaven which is the greatest miracle that anyone can ever receive. 
  • Jesus did physically heal this man as well, and in doing so, we see the reasons why God heals. 

The reasons for miracles

Mark 2:10-12 ESV
But 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, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”  12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” 

  • The first reason God does miracles is for people to know that He has the authority to forgive sins. It is to prove that He is God and that He has all power and all authority. That what He teaches is the truth and what He says He will do, will be done. The first reason miracles are done is to validate the nature and authority of God so that they will believe in Him for the true miracle and greater need of the forgiveness of their sin.
  • The second reason that God does miracles is so people will stand is awe and amazement of God and that God would be glorified.  
  • The first miracle was a declaration and the second miracle was a demonstration.  When declaration and demonstration are seen, people stand in awe and amazement and glorify God!  

Conclusion 

  • Give yourself because of your faith as a faithful friend and do whatever it takes to bring people to Jesus. 
  • We are to communicate the truth of God so that people will have faith and receive the forgiveness of their sin and eternal life. Rejoice that your sin is forgiven, and your name is written in the book of life. Glorify God for His goodness that grace that has been extended to you. Live to glorify Him and look forward to your reward. 
  • Ask God to demonstrate His power in and through you by His power of transformation in your life by how He has touched and changed you.