Today's Bible Reading: Mark 2
Selected Biblical Text
8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed 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 he said to the man, 11 "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2:8-12, 17 NIV)
Reflecting and Thinking
This chapter contains four short narratives -- a paralytic healed, a tax collector called, a theological question about fasting answered, the Sabbath explained. The healing is amazing, but even more amazing is Jesus' power over sin. He has authority on earth to forgive sins. He came to call and rescue sinners. He came to bring God's ultimate plan for human creation to fruition. Mankind was not made to keep rules; rules were made for the well-being of humankind.
Change is coming -- but there will always be some who resist change. Unfortunately, then as now, some of those who most resist the kingdom and most loudly oppose the new order are religious leaders.
In today's text, what was the significance of Jesus' authority to forgive sins on earth? Why were the people amazed? In your opinion, did seeing the healing cause them to "get it" (that is, to see the bigger picture and understand) or were they only impressed by the healing? Why were the religious authorities so upset? (Note that the teachers of the law and the Pharisees are mentioned in all four of the narratives in this chapter.)
Dear God, help us escape the boredom and tedium of hearing the same old stories in the same old ways with little emotional involvement. Help us hear with excitement and amazement as did first century observers. Help us understand the significance of what Jesus did and what he said. Would you please help us restore just a little of the wonder and the amazement. Make us people of principle and not people dependent on mere rote. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.