Chapter two continues with Jesus healing a paralytic (vv. 1-12). I like the way this particular episodes ends. Those who witnessed the healing praise God by saying, “We have never seen anything like this” (v. 12)! This is certainly more than just a passing comment on Mark’s part. He is saying something definite about Jesus and his ministry. This is one of those episodes that begins to relate to us the true Identity of Jesus. This is the same idea that motivates Jesus’s response to the Pharisees and disciples of John who question him about the fasting practices of he and his disciples (vv. 18-22). The image of the cloth and wine skins are designed to relate to us the Newness of Jesus in the same way that Jesus preached about the New Covenant and the Kingdom of God from Matthew’s Gospel. Likewise, Jesus’s teaching about the Sabbath that comes after the teaching about fasting (vv. 23-28) are also there to relate this Newness that Jesus is ushering in.
One major marker of this Newness is the way in which he responds to the crowds after calling, then dining with, Levi (a.k.a. Matthew) [vv. 13-17]. Jesus reaches out to a known and very public sinner- tax collectors. Everyone knew that tax collectors were corrupt and collected enough taxes for both the government and for themselves too. So, here’s Jesus, reaching out to one of these sinners and not only calling him to become a disciple, but then going to his house and eating with him- which was considered a very intimate social occurrence. Furthermore, when confronted, Jesus makes that very famous proclamation about himself and his ministry: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but those who are sick do. I have come not to call the righteous, but sinners”(v. 17). This is just the first instance of Jesus breaking the social norm and reaching out with mercy and compassion to those who need it the most. And notice the imagery of healing again: the sick and physician is equated to the conversion of sinners- metanoia, baby!
Point for Prayer
The paralytic man’s friends lower him through a hole in the roof- a drastic means to attain Jesus’s healing and forgiveness. In what ways does something drastic need to happen in our life to lowered down in front of Jesus so that he can heal us? Is there someone in my life that can help lower me down? Is there someone I can do this for?
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