The Paralysed Man (Mark 2:1-12)

When Jesus was in Capernaum, many people gathered in order to hear him speak. Four men brought a paralysed man to him, but they were unable to get near because of the size of the crowd. So they climbed onto the roof of the house, made an opening, and let the paralysed man down through this on his mat. Jesus was so impressed by their faith that he told the paralysed man that his sins were forgiven. But some teachers of the law questioned how Jesus was able to do this; this was blasphemy as only God could forgive sins. Jesus asked what was easier: to forgive sins or to make the paralysed man walk. So, to prove the Son of Man's authority on earth, Jesus commanded the paralysed man to stand up, pick up his stretcher and walk. When he did so, everyone was amazed by the miracle that they had witnessed, and they praised God saying that they had never seen anything like it.


Themes

  • A miracle is something that is scientifically impossible, but happens anyway.
  • Great crowd - many people wanted to hear Jesus' teaching.
  • Illness - people in Jesus' day believed that illness was caused by sin, and so they would have perceived the paralysed man not only as a cripple, but also as a sinner. The sin kept him apart from God. Most would have refused to associate with him at all.
  • Faith - it was because of the strong faith held by the man and his friends that Jesus forgave the paralytic's sins.
  • Miracle - when the people wouldn't believe his authority to forgive sins, Jesus performed a miraculous deed, by commanding the paralysed man to stand up, pick up his stretcher, and walk. They could hardly doubt him then!
  • Proof - people needed to see proof before they would believe.
  • Which was actually the greatest miracle though? - the people around were most impressed by the healing, but surely forgiving sins is even more significant? After all it was the sin, not the paralysis, which separated the man from God.

Contemporary Issues

  • Forgiveness.
  • Faith.
  • Forgiveness through faith?
  • Seeing is believing?

*  *  *  *  *

The Calming of the Storm (Mark 4:35-41)

Jesus had been teaching by a lake. When evening came, he decided that he and his disciples should cross over to the other side, leaving the crowd behind. His disciples took him in the boat just as he was, and there were other boats with him. However, a storm blew up; waves broke over the side of the boat and it was nearly swamped. Jesus was asleep on a cushion in the stern. His disciples woke him up and challenged him: "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?". Jesus rebuked the wind and ordered the waves to be still - and everything became calm. He then questioned his disciples, asking them why they were so frightened. He enquired, "Do you still have no faith?". The disciples were terrified and questioned amongst themselves who Jesus could be, because even the wind and the waves obeyed him.


Themes

  • Power over the wind and the waves - mere humans have no control over these.
  • Confidence of Jesus - in contrast to the disciples' fright.
  • The disciples still didn't understand - even after Jesus had performed the miracle and calmed the storm, they were terrified and discussed with each other who Jesus could possibly be.

Contemporary Issues

  • Faith.
  • The power of the forces of nature compared to the power of God.
  • Sometimes things are hard to understand/believe.

 

Revision


What is a miracle?





What did Jesus show about himself when he forgave and healed the paralysed man?

 



Why do you think that Jesus forgave the man's sins before healing him?

 

 

In the second miracle, what did Jesus mean when he asked the disciples whether they still had no faith?

   

Should we still expect miracles like these to happen today? Explain your thoughts briefly.

 
 


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