Jesus Heals and Forgives With the Power of God According to Mark

Jesus Heals and Forgives With the Power of God According to Mark: 2015

Close Reading

MARK 2:1-12

Mark Chapter 2 deals with the powers that Jesus appears to have.  It is clear that he is showing more power than John the Baptist who had previously predicted a man more powerful than himself would come forth.   In Mark, Capernaum is mentioned several times.  Chapter 2 starts with Jesus returning to Capernaum and that it is home to Jesus.  There is some significance, for Mark, in mentioning Capernaum as it is not mentioned at all anywhere else in the New Testament.  As Jesus’ return spread through the village, people flocked to see him because they were either hoping he could heal the sick or they just wanted to hear him preach “the word”.  “The word” phrase is used more than once to indicate that what Jesus said was true and that it came from God.  In this chapter of Mark, Jesus is involved in many controversies.  Jesus seems to come out on top of all the questionable situations and proves his worthiness.  The fact that Jesus accomplishes the things he does in Mark 2, shows his superiority and that God has given him the authority to forgive people’s sins and heal them.  At this time, those attributes were only thought to be something God could do.  Obviously, there were many who questioned whether Jesus was worthy of such power.   The majority of the people came to watch him work miracles and heal the sick.  The crowd was so thick that it was hard to get a paralytic person up close to Jesus to be healed.  The people would do anything to witness Jesus’ power and so they opened up the ceiling above him and brought the paralytic man to him.

This picture below depicts the men lowering the paralytic through the ceiling so that Jesus could heal him.

Both Matthew and Luke mention this encounter, but it is much later in their Gospels than it is in Mark.   A question that has been around for hundreds of years is regarding sin and sickness.  Is a person sick because they have sinned?  By the following account, it would seem the answer to that question is “yes.”  As if sickness was a punishment for committing a sin.  Therefore,, once the sin has been acknowledged and forgiven, then the sickness could be healed.  Jesus healed the paralytic because he could see the faith the man had and he aid to the man, “My son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5).  Health issues and sinning goes hand in hand, so Jesus knew that if he forgave the man for his sins, then the man can be healed of his health problems.  There were scribes watching Jesus heal the paralytic.  Their hearts tell them that only God should be able to heal the sick.  Jesus knows this is what they are thinking so he says to them, “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your pallet and walk’?” (Mark 2:9) However, for Jesus, it does not matter which way might be easiest.  He is not concerned with that.  Realize that he does not ask which is easier to do, rather which is easier to say to the paralytic.  Jesus is continually challenged and questioned by others and he continually rises to the challenge and puts those who question them in their place.

The picture above shows the scribes watching intently to see if Jesus can indeed, heal the sick and forgive them of their sins.

Jesus makes it clear to the paralytic that as the “Son of Man” he has the authority on earth to forgive people of their sins.  This suggests that Jesus is much more than just a man, he is superior to the general man.  As the paralytic rose to his feet ad walked off, the crowd was stunned and gave all the glory to God.

The above video depicts Jesus healing the paralytic man.

As the Son of God, Jesus would eventually sacrifice his life to allow forgiveness for those who have sinned and found faith to help them not sin again, therefore he was given the authority to forgive those sins while on earth.

As far as how Ehrman would interpret the writing of the Gospel of Mark is concerned, Ehrman questions the historical reliability of many things written in the Bible.  He believes that the writers could have very well made some errors in their writings.  He is a logical, realistic type of person and some of what is written in Mark is just too hard for him to believe.  Miracles and special powers are not something he believes in.