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This past weekend, we continued our study through the Gospel of Mark. This series which looks at the intimate life and ministry of Jesus will help us understand who He truly is and what our response to Him should be. In the third study in this series, Pastor Doug taught from Mark 2:1-17, exploring the power of Jesus to heal us, make us whole, and use us to bring wholeness to others!
In this week’s group study, Fort Lauderdale campus High School Ministry Leader Javan Shashaty expands on our examination of Mark 2:1-17.
Below, you’ll find some key questions to reflect on and consider in your group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, some action points for the week, and a look ahead.
Ice Breaker: What famous person/celebrity would you most like to hang out with for a day and why? What would you do?
Getting the Conversation Going: By the time we arrive at Mark 2, Jesus is, for all intents and purposes, a certified celebrity! Everywhere He went, the crowds followed. And at times during His ministry, after He would heal someone, He would tell them not to tell anyone what He did for them. Why would Jesus say that? As His popularity spread, more and more people flocked to see the miracles. But remember, the miracles were just signs pointing to the message! And with their desire to see more and more amazing signs and wonders, the crowds often hindered His ministry because too many people surrounded Him.
“What would you do to get to Jesus?”
Four Friends and a Miracle: Talk about having your friend’s back! In Mark 2, we see four men go to extreme lengths to help their paralytic friend. They knew Jesus had the power to heal him . . . all they had to do was get him to Jesus and He would do the rest! But how would they get him there? The house was packed. You can probably imagine them trying to push their way in at first before realizing that wasn’t going to work. They needed to get creative in order to bring their friend to the feet of Jesus. So, they carried their friend as they climbed to the top of the roof and then proceeded to tear a hole in the clay roof in order to lower him down near Jesus.
Discussion Question 1: What are you doing right now to bring people into the presence of Jesus?
Discussion Question 2: How can you take the example of these four men and apply it today as it pertains to the people in your sphere of influence who don’t know Jesus yet?
Son of Man: The title “Son of Man” (Huios tou anthrōpou) is first seen in the New Testament in Mark 2:10 and appears 14 times in the Book of Mark, all from Jesus’ mouth, all in reference to Himself. However, the expression is used 107 times in the Old Testament. It was mainly used in the Book of Ezekiel to address Ezekiel himself or to contrast the lowly status of humanity in comparison to the greatness of God (Numbers 23:19; Psalm 8:4). However, it was also used in reference to a future figure whose coming would signal the end of history and the time of God’s judgement (Daniel 7:13-14). In this, we see so much of who Jesus is. You see, He is the Judge who has dominion over the earth. And yet, as Philippians 2:6–8 (ESV) tells us, “though he was in the form of God . . . [he] emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself.” Jesus, the Son of Man, is God in the flesh, the Lord taking on the lowly form of His beloved creation, the eternal Word who made His dwelling among us (John 1:1–18).
This title, Son of Man, is meant to point us to Jesus’ nature as the suffering servant described in Isaiah 53. This is made clear by the majority of the title’s uses in the Gospel of Mark. In five of its nine uses related to suffering, Jesus is referencing how He would be “betrayed” into the hands of sinners. Now, it’s important to remember that this betrayal of the Son of Man is the will of God and the means by which God’s will is accomplished, for the Son of Man “must” suffer for the sake of His disciples and give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). It’s also meant to serve as an example for the manner in which we as Christians should live and serve others.
Forgive: The word forgive (aphienai) is an interesting word, to say the least. It’s technical definition means, “to send away, to release, to discharge.” It’s used in Matthew 13:36 when Jesus dismissed the crowds after teaching them and in 1 Corinthians 7:11 to talk about about how a husband must not divorce or leave his wife. It’s also used in Matthew 4:11 when the devil departed from Jesus’ presence after tempting Him in the desert.
So, when you examine it in context of this passage, when Jesus “forgives” the man and then bids Him to “get up, take [his] mat and go home” (Mark 2:11 NIV), there is a definite connection and duality. He is first releasing the man of his sins, commanding his sins to depart, to be discharged “as far from [him] as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12 NLT), and then He is directing the man to depart as a new man—healed, whole, and forgiven!
“But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”—Mark 2:10 (NIV)
Discussion Question 3: Why does Jesus tell the man his sins were forgiven instead of telling him that he was healed?
Discussion Question 4: What does Jesus’ priority list and order of operations here show you?
Discussion Question 5: How can you learn from what Jesus is teaching us here and apply it today as it pertains to the people in your sphere of influence who don’t know Jesus yet?
Reflecting on the Truth: The religious leaders were upset that Jesus dared to make such a statement, because “who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7 NIV). But that was the point all along, wasn’t it? Jesus then asked them a question to prove He really does have the power to forgive sins and turned to the man and told him to get up. In doing so, Jesus was either going to verify or falsify His power. If the man got up and walked, it would prove Jesus has the power to forgive sins because He is God. If the man wasn’t healed, it would prove Jesus was a liar and not truly the Son of God. And as we know, the man got up, proving that Jesus had the authority to forgive sins because He was and is the Son of God. This whole interaction was maneuvered by Jesus in such a way as to save and heal a paralyzed man, prove He was who He said He was, and preach the gospel itself! In this interaction, Jesus showed us what the good news is: He came to forgive our sins!
This Week: Spend time in reflection. Ask yourself . . .
Pray It Out: Share prayer requests in your group. Write down the requests of your group members, spend time praying over these requests, and keep praying individually over them throughout the week.
“THE GOSPEL OF MARK” RESOURCE PAGE
Looking for more info on the Gospel of Mark? Check out this page with all sorts of resources, a weekly breakdown, message takeaways and group studies, devotionals, articles, and much more!
Mark Resource Page
This weekend, we’ll continue our study through the Gospel of Mark as Pastor Doug teaches from Mark 2:18–3:6. In this message, we’ll see how Jesus deals with people who sought to trap and discredit Him!
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Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.