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Lesson 4
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I.       Observation

A.     Outline

Healing A Paralytic (2:1-12)

Jesus teaches a crowd (1-2)

Four men lower a paralytic down from the roof (3-4)

Jesus forgives the paralytic’s sins (5)

The scribes grumble (6-7)

Jesus rebuffs the teachers and heals the paralytic (8-12)

Calling the Sinners (2:13-17)

Jesus teaches a crowd (13)

Jesus calls Matthew and eats with the tax collectors and sinners (14-15)

The scribes grumble (16)

Jesus rebuffs the teachers (17)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Crowd, preached, teach, sick, physician, righteous, sinners

II.    General Analysis

1.   There is a similar pattern:

      1. Jesus teaches a crowd.

      2. Jesus shows His compassion and power to sinners (to the paralytic and to Levi/Matthew and the tax collectors).

      3. The scribes accuse Jesus of a serious violation (blasphemy, and eating with sinners).

      4. Jesus immediately rebuffs the teachers.

III. Segment Analysis

1a. Jesus—He preached the word.

1b. Crowd—They came to see Jesus, perhaps to seek healing and miracles (Mk 1:32), perhaps to listen to the word of God.

1c. Scribes—They probably to judge Jesus, to see why he was drawing a crowd (6).

2a. The crowd inside and outside the door (2, 4), the scribes sitting inside (6), the roof (4)

2b. The crowd must have noticed the four men carrying the paralytic. They could have moved out of the way. Someone could have passed a message to Jesus. However, no one did. They only thought about seeing Jesus themselves. The scribes were there to pass judgment on Jesus, and basically took a space away from someone who truly wanted to hear the word.

3a. The fact that Jesus forgave the paralytic’s sins is an indirect proof that he had faith, because we are justified by our faith (Rom 3:28). Also, the paralytic remained silent throughout, and simply obeyed Jesus (11-12). He saw the faith of his four friends and let them help him. The four men did not give up, in spite of the obstacles (many people blocked their way; they also must have need to find ropes to lower the paralytic). They even risked upsetting the owner of the house and the crowd by taking apart the roof and making a commotion by lowering the paralytic into the house.

3c. Just as the four men’s faith played a part in the healing, our faith in the Lord is also essential in allowing the people we bring to Christ experience God’s grace. The Lord not only looks at the faith of the person in need, but also the faith of those who help this person. So we ought to trust and believe in God’s mercy and power when we are helping someone in need.

The actions that accompanied these four men’s faith are truly remarkable. Because of their faith, they were willing to go through all that trouble to bring the paralytic to Jesus. Likewise, our faith is demonstrated when we are willing to invest our time, money, thoughts, and energy in helping the spiritual needs of others. God recognizes and responds to this kind of faith.

5a. Jesus came to preach (Mk 1:38) and to call sinners (17). It was more important to forgive a person’s sins so that his soul is saved. However, Jesus also has compassion on our sufferings (Mk 1:41) and heals our illnesses to prove His authority to forgive sins (10). (This implies that sometimes an illness is caused by our sins [Jas 5:15]).

5b. He was claiming to be God, for only God alone can forgive sins (7). This was why Jesus’ words upset the scribes.

5c. Jesus’ divine power to heal proved that He also had the divine power to forgive sins (10). Furthermore, it proved that Jesus was indeed God, who alone can forgive sins.

6. Many miracles and signs are witnessed in the True Jesus Church. However, we must have the correct priorities. Like the crowd, sometimes we are more amazed by earthly blessing (healing) than by spiritual mercy (forgiveness of sins). Jesus tells us that the greater and more powerful work is the forgiveness of sin (9). We must seek the greater, spiritual blessings.

Daniel’s three friends believed God would perform a miracle and save them from the furnace. However, they also said, “But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Dan 3:18). They knew that to obey God was more important than anything else.

7. Jesus was able to perceive in His spirit what the scribes were reasoning in their hearts. This supernatural power shows that He was from God, for only the Spirit of God can search and perceive the secret thoughts of men.

8. In both, they were at their jobs when Jesus called them. Jesus said, “Follow me,” and they followed Him. Because Matthew followed Jesus just as quickly as the fishermen did, he probably also knew about Jesus. (cf. Lesson 3, Question 3).

9a. Matthew gave up a profitable job. The fishermen also gave up a profitable job. Matthew’s job made him a target of hatred. On the other hand, the fishermen’s job was respectable. Often God calls us out of the status quo to make a change in our lives. Sometimes it means leaving some comforts behind. Sometimes it means making a determination to overcome our shortcomings.

10. It is not derogatory. Matthew himself uses the same description (Mt 9:10). The NIV puts the word “sinners” in quotes, implying that the term was used not in the usual context. The fact that Jesus ate with them shows that He did not despise them. In this case, the Bible is just stating a fact, without a sense of condemnation. We are all sinners, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). We must confess that we are sinners before we can believe and repent.

11a. “The righteous” referred to the scribes who thought that they were righteous and looked down on others. Jesus did not call them because they had already rejected His message. The “sinners” were the ones who humbled themselves and followed Jesus.

11c. While everyone has the need of God, not everyone recognizes or acknowledges that need. All are sinners, but Jesus Christ will heal only sinners who see themselves as sinners, not sinners who think that they are righteous. So it is important for us to humbly confess our need of God and our unworthiness in order to receive Christ’s spiritual healing (cf. Lk 18:9-14; Jn 9:39-41; Jas 4:6).

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