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Mark 2.1-12 Notes

Biblical Commentary - Mark 2:1-12

CONTEXT:  The overriding issue is Jesus' authority (Greek: exousia) and the conflict that Jesus provokes with religious leaders (who consider themselves religious authorities) as he exercises his authority, e.g.:  (1) Jesus said, "Come after me," and "Immediately (Simon and Andrew) left their nets and followed him" (1:17-18). Jesus' word has authority to compel obedience. (2) Jesus "taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes" (1:22).  They were all amazed, and said, "What is this? A new teaching? (3) With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him" (1:27).  Jesus demonstrates his authority over illness and demons (1:29-34).  (4) Jesus demonstrates his "authority on earth to forgive sins" by healing the paralytic (2:10-12).  Faced with the overwhelming evidence of Jesus' Godly authority, the Pharisees and Herodians will not embrace Jesus but will conspire to destroy him (3:6).

2:1-12 is the first in a series of five controversy stories that show, in these very early chapters of Mark, how Jesus' authority is superior to that of the Jewish authorities-and how they reject Jesus' authority. It is unlikely that these five stories happened in exactly the sequence that Mark reports them. It is more likely that he gathered these stories from various places and grouped them together at the beginning of his account of Jesus' ministry. The five stories are arranged in a chiastic structure as follows:

     1.  The healing of the paralytic (2:1-12)

     2.  The call of a the tax collector and eating with tax collectors and sinners (2:13-17)

     3.  The question about fasting (2:18-22)

     4.  Jesus' defense of the disciples for a Sabbath harvest (2:23-28)

     5.  The healing of the man with a withered hand (3:1-6)

In that structure, the healing of the paralytic (1) is parallel to the healing of the man with a withered hand (5). The other three stories "have to do with food, or abstinence from food" (Witherington, 110).  So at the beginning of Jesus ministry Mark recounts five controversy stories. Toward the end of Jesus' ministry, Mark will recount five additional controversy stories (11:27-33; 12:1-12, 13-17, 18-27, 38-34).  Thus, the story of the healing of the paralytic (2:1-12)-our Gospel lesson-is the story of Jesus in miniature:  healing and teaching-opposition and vindication (Wright, 17).


1 When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them.

"When he had com back to Capernaum after some days, it was heard that he was in the house" (v. 1). Capernaum is Jesus' home (Matthew 4:13; Mark 2:1) and the center of his early ministry. In Mark's Gospel, Jesus opens his ministry in the vicinity of Capernaum by calling four disciples (1:16-20) and performing a number of healing miracles in the city (1:21-34). Then he goes on a preaching tour of Galilee (1:35ff). Now he returns to Capernaum, where this story finds him at home. It is not clear whether he has his own house or lives with Peter, Andrew, and their families (1:29), but the latter seems likely. It is difficult to imagine Jesus maintaining a house from which he would be so frequently absent.

"Immediately many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even around the door" (v. 2a). A crowd of people gathers in front of the house, blocking the door. In this Gospel, crowds often gather around Jesus but, while they might respond with wonder to his miracles, they do not respond by becoming disciples. They are passive and fickle.

"and he spoke the word (logos) to them" (v 2b). Speaking the word is central to Jesus' ministry. He began his public ministry by teaching the word with authority in the Capernaum synagogue, where he then exorcised a demon (1:21-28), and left Capernaum so that he might "proclaim the message" elsewhere (1:38). Preaching the word will also be central to the ministry of the church (Acts 6:4; 8:4; 17:11; Galatians 6:6; Colossians 4:3). Jesus both speaks the word and is the Word (John 1:1).


3 And they *came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men.4 Being 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. 5 And Jesus seeing their faith *said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."

"And they came, carrying a paralytic to him" (v. 3). We don't know how large this group is. Four of them bear the litter, but there are others as well.

"When they could not come near to him for the crowd, they removed the roof where he was" (v. 4a). They chop a hole in the roof to lower their friend into Jesus' presence. In the typical house of that day, the roof would be flat, supported by beams laid across the walls, and composed of a mud/thatch mixture. People would sometimes sleep on the roof during hot nights, and the roof would provide a private retreat from a busy household. There would usually be a ladder standing outside to permit access to the roof. Getting a paralyzed man up the ladder would be no small task, and would require courage on the part of the paralyzed man. Chopping a hole in the roof would be a bold means of solving the problem of access to Jesus. Some scholars say that it is easy to repair a mud/thatch roof, but it is difficult to patch any roof so that it doesn't leak. This damage is not trivial. It involves "a major demolition job" (France, 123).

"When they had broken it up, they let down the mat that the paralytic was lying on"(v. 4b). Just imagine the paralyzed man's feelings. He would not be securely strapped to a rigid litter-his mat would be a very makeshift carrying device. The friends probably didn't chop a hole large enough for him to be lowered while perfectly horizontal. Nor would his friends be trained to handle litter patients. It is likely that the paralyzed man experienced a bit of rough handling as his friends lowered him through the roof.

Furthermore, this man was probably accustomed to sick-room quiet and solitude. To be the center of attention in a crowd was probably as uncomfortable for him as his bumpy ride.

But he was a man without hope-except that in this moment he has hope that the healer will do for him what the healer has done for others. This would be a moment of almost unimaginable anticipation-and quite a lot of anxiety.

"Jesus, seeing their faith" (v. 5a). The faith that Jesus sees is not simply intellectual assent or emotional feeling, but is manifested in determined, visible action. Jesus can read people's hearts (v. 8), but he doesn't need to do so here. The faith of these men is out in the open for all to see.

Some scholars suggest that it is the litter-bearers who have faith rather than the paralyzed man, but there is nothing in the text to suggest that. Presumably, the paralyzed man is a full participant in this endeavor. Nobody has to take him forcibly to Jesus. Nevertheless, he is the beneficiary of the faith of his litter-bearers. It is their faith as much as his own (perhaps even more than his own) that makes his healing possible. Without their rock-solid confidence that Jesus could help, the man would never have seen Jesus. Without their bold determination to surmount the difficulties imposed by the crowd, the healing would never have taken place.  But Jesus "could do no mighty work" in Nazareth because of their unbelief (6:1-6a). On two occasions, he will rebuke the disciples for their lack of faith (4:40; 16:14)

"said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven you'" (v. 5b). We (and, no doubt, the paralyzed man) expect Jesus to say, "Take up your mat and walk," but that will come later (v. 9). Instead, Jesus says,"Son, your sins are forgiven you" (v. 5). Note that he does not say that he forgives the man's sins. The passive voice ("are forgiven") admits to two possibilities. One is that Jesus is forgiving the man's sins. The other is that God has forgiven the man's sins, and Jesus is simply acting as God's agent in announcing the fact of God's forgiveness.  In either event (whether Jesus forgives or simply announces God's forgiveness), his words raise two issues:

     • First, what authority does Jesus have to forgive the man's sins? This is the issue that precipitates the grumbling of the scribes in vv. 6-7.

     • Second, what is the relationship between sin and infirmity? The people of that time would answer that infirmity is God's judgment on sin.

Given our scientific worldview, we disagree. Viruses and bacteria cause illnesses-the remedy is antibiotics. Pinched nerves cause paralysis-the remedy is surgery. While we don't know the cause of and remedy for every illness, we know a great deal and learn more every day. We must not "blame the victim" by attributing illness to sin. To do so only makes life worse for the person who is already suffering.

As usual, the truth lies somewhere between the poles. Some illness, both physical and emotional, is the result of specific behaviors. If we believe in sin at all, we must admit that some illness-producing behaviors are sinful. In some cases, the sinful behavior was that of the person who is ill (people who smoke, abuse drugs, or engage in promiscuous sex are obvious examples). In other cases, one person's sinful behavior causes illness in others (a child seeing an abusive father beating his/her mother can suffer emotional illness as a result). Other illnesses strike us "out of the blue." Saintly people die of illness just like the most terrible sinner.

Jesus says, "Son, your sins are forgiven you" as if he knows this paralyzed man's heart. In the Greek, the word "your" is emphatic, which suggests that Jesus is addressing this man's personal situation:

     • Perhaps the man has led a wanton life that somehow resulted in paralysis.

     • Perhaps his paralysis is psychosomatic, resulting from guilt over real or imagined sin.

     • Perhaps he is a sinner only in the sense that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

     • Perhaps he simply feels guilty because he interprets his illness to be punishment for his sins. Any person who suffers serious illness or loss tends to wonder what he/she has done to deserve such a fate. If that is true for people today, imagine how much truer it would be a person of that day.

"Son, your sins are forgiven you." This is a pastoral word to a man who is wounded in spirit as well as in body. This word assures him that he need not fear that God is waiting around the corner to strike him down again. The man surely hopes that Jesus will take the next step and heal his body, but it seems possible that, for the moment, he feels overwhelming relief at the healing of his soul.

     "Son, your sins are forgiven you." This might be a "divine passive," a way of speaking about God's action without pronouncing God's name. Jews are careful about using God's name lest they use it in vain. Perhaps Jesus is not forgiving the man, but is simply acknowledging God's forgiveness. That would be akin to the actions of a priest, who performs an atoning ritual but acts only as God's intermediary-God does the forgiving (Leviticus 4:26, 31).

     There is only one other story in the Gospels where Jesus pronounces forgiveness of a person's sins-the story of the woman who washes Jesus feet with her tears (Luke 7:48).

Note that the forgiveness of sins does not cure this man's paralysis. He is forgiven, but is not yet able to walk. He has received one blessed word from Jesus, but he needs yet another.


6 But 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?"

"But there were some of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts" (v. 6). These scribes are sitting, the position from which they teach. Later, Jesus will accuse them of seeking the best seats in the synagogue (12:39). Their genteel posture seems out of place in this crowded doorway, which is one indication that Mark has combined two stories here-a healing story and a controversy story. This is in character for Mark, who also inserts the story of a woman with a hemorrhage into the story of the raising of Jairus' daughter (5:21-43)-and the story of the cleansing of the temple into the story of the fig tree (11:12-25).

     The scribes are the authorized, ordained interpreters of Torah law. Because we know that they are Jesus' opponents, we quickly label them bad. In fact, they are anxious to please God and are devoted to God's law. They study God's law in meticulous detail so that they might lead people rightly. If they sometimes fail to see the forest for the trees, who among us is fit to judge their failure?

"Why does this man speak blasphemies like that? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" (v. 7). The scribes silently judge Jesus for usurping God's prerogative of forgiving sins. While it is possible for a person to forgive a sin committed against him/herself, every sin is, in the end, a sin against God. David captures that idea perfectly when he writes, "Against you, and you only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight" (Psalm 51:4a). He wrote that Psalm after committing adultery with Bathsheba and murdering Uriah, Bathsheba's husband. He had, in fact, sinned mightily against Uriah and Bathsheba and as king, had sinned against all his subjects. Nevertheless, his greatest sin was against God, and only God could forgive such sin (Psalm 51:1-3; 85:2).

     Even the priests, responsible for the sacrificial system, would claim to serve only as intermediaries for God, because only God can forgive sins. The priests would argue, however, that God has ordained them to perform the rituals of atonement, so it is through their ministrations that God effects forgiveness of sins. They would see Jesus as assuming, not only God's prerogatives, but priestly prerogatives as well.

The scribes judge Jesus guilty of blasphemy for assuming God's prerogative. Blasphemy is the most serious of all sins, and Torah law specifies that the blasphemer be put to death by stoning (Leviticus 24:10-23). Even at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, then, Mark raises the issue of blasphemy. Later, the Sanhedrin will bring formal charges of blasphemy against Jesus, and that becomes the basis for his crucifixion (14:61-64).


8 Immediately 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? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, 'Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk'?

"Immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves" (v. 8a). The scribes have not voiced their displeasure but, like God, Jesus knows their hearts.

"Why do you reason these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to tell the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven;' or to say, 'Arise, and take up your bed, and walk?'"(vv. 8b-9). Jesus answers their unspoken questions with one of his own. He does not ask which is easier to do, but which is easier to say. Is it easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven" or to say, "Arise, and take up your bed, and walk"?

Most would agree that it's easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven" than to say "Arise, and take up your bed, and walk." Observers have no way to verify whether the man's sins have been forgiven, but they can easily verify whether he can stand up and take his mat and walk. When Jesus says, "Arise, and take up your bed, and walk," he is stepping out on the high wire without a net. If the man succeeds in standing and walking, it will become obvious that Jesus is working by Godly power and was therefore within his rights to say "Your sins are forgiven." However, if the man fails to stand, Jesus' will be revealed publicly to be a failure and a blasphemer. If convicted of blasphemy, he could be put to death by stoning (Leviticus 24:16). With his question, then, Jesus is proposing a verifiable test of his authority (healing) to authenticate that which cannot otherwise be verified (forgiveness).


10 But 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." 12 And 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."

"But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"(v. 10). The title, Son of Man, comes from the book of Daniel, where God gave the Son of Man "dominion, and glory, and ever-lasting dominion" (Daniel 7:13-14).

     This title, Son of Man, has the advantage of having none of the militaristic connotations associated with the title, Messiah. People expect the Messiah to raise an army, to drive out the Romans, and to re-establish the great Davidic kingdom. They have no such expectations regarding the Son of Man.  Jesus frequently refers to himself as Son of Man. Only four times in the New Testament (John 12:34; Acts 7:56; Revelation 1:13; 14:14) does anyone other than Jesus use the phrase, and then they use it to refer to Jesus. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus refers to himself fourteen times as the Son of Man. Twelve of these take place after Peter declares Jesus to be the Messiah (8:27-30), and nine have to do with Jesus' suffering and death (8:31; 9:9, 12, 31; 10:33, 45; 14:21 twice, 41). Only twice (2:10, 28) does Jesus use the phrase prior to Peter's confession, both times in connection with challenges to his authority and/or orthodoxy. Because Jesus usually uses the phrase to disclose his passion to the disciples, it seems unlikely that he would use it at this early stage of his ministry in the presence of his enemies. It seems more likely that, in Mark 2, Mark puts the phrase in Jesus' mouth.

     If Jesus does use this title in front of these scribes, it seems significant that they fail to take issue with his use of the title for himself. If they understood it to be a Messianic title, they would surely do so. There are at least three possible meanings for the title, Son of Man. It might mean (1) humanity in general, (2) "I who speak to you," or (3) it might be a Messianic title (Guelich, 89-90). In this Mark 2 context, Jesus seems to use it in the sense of, "I who speak to you," but his frequent use of the title in connection with his passion suggests that he often intends it as a veiled Messianic title. The title obviously has meaning to Jesus, which he will increasingly disclose to his disciples, but it seems not to mean much to anyone but Jesus at this early point in his ministry.

"I tell you, arise, take up your mat, and go to your house" (v. 11). Jesus authenticates his authority by ordering the paralytic to take up his mat and walk (vv. 9-10). The man quickly responds by doing what Jesus commanded. Jesus' word, like the creative Word of God in Genesis 1, is effective-has power-accomplishes the work that he sets out to accomplish. The result is that all are amazed and glorify God-not Jesus, but God. If Jesus were truly a blasphemer, as the scribes have charged (v. 7), the end result of his efforts would not be the glorification of God.

When Mark says that they were all amazed and glorified God, he surely does not include the scribes. No doubt the scribes are amazed, but Jesus' success comes at their expense. Their continuing opposition (2:13-17) makes it clear that they do not accept Jesus' authority and cannot be expected to glorify God for Jesus' miracles.

"And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, 'We have never seen anything like this!'" (v. 12). The previous day, the whole city gathered to see Jesus heal the sick and cast out demons (1:32-34), "but this time the declaration of the forgiveness of sins, and Jesus' bold defense of his right to do so, has added a new dimension" (France, 129).







































Mark 2:1-12 - Utley -




A. Mark 2:1-3:6 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 2:1-3:6 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 2:7,16,18,24).


C. Parallels

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

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

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

4. Mark 2:23-25 - Matt. 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)






v.v 1-2: "Capernaum" The name means "village of Nahum." Because of the unbelief of the people in Nazareth, Jesus chose this town in Galilee (cf. Matt. 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.

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.


v. 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 Isa. 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!


v. 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.


v. 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, Matt. 9:2 and MS B have a present passive indicative. It is hard to choose which of these two options is original.


v. 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 Sam. 16:7; Ps. 7:9; 139:1-4; Pro. 16:2; 21:2; 24:12; Jer. 11:20; 17:10; 20:12; Luke 16:15; Acts 15:8; Heb. 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 Isa. 11:3 as the Messiah being able to discern people's thoughts.



v. 7:  "He is blaspheming" The penalty for blasphemy was death by stoning (cf. Lev. 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. Rom. 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 Cor. 5:21).

Only God can forgive sin because sin is primarily against Him (cf. Gen. 20:6; 39:9; 2 Sam. 12:13; Ps. 41:4; 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: Isa. 1:18; 33:24; 38:17; 43:25; 44:22. This is another Messianic sign.

vv. 8,12:  "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; 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 Thess. 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. Gen. 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.


vv. 9,11:  "'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.

2:10 "'the Son of Man'" This was an adjectival phrase from the OT. It was used in Ezek. 2:1 and Ps. 8:4 in its true etymological meaning of "human being." However, it was used in Dan. 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; 9:9; 13:26; 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; 9:12,31; 10:33,45; 14:21,41).

▣ "'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. Matt. 10:25; 12:24-29; Luke 11:14-22).


v. 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.