1. Indicate yes or no with a thumbs up or thumbs down. Has a message you’ve sent ever been misunderstood?
2. Have you ever regretted words said in haste?
3. Have you had to apologize for words hastily crafted?
With today’s social media tools, it’s easy to respond quickly to messages, but our speed of response may keep us from considering carefully our words. The limitation of the number of characters we can post might send a message we didn’t intend. Our responses can make people wonder what gave us the right to say what we said.
Jesus never had to back down on His words even if they led to controversy. What some considered outrageous He knew as true. Today we will see some of the religious leaders questioning Jesus’ authority.
After Mark’s record of Jesus calling four of His disciples that we finished with last week Jesus drove out an unclean spirit; healed several more people in Capernaum; preached in Galilee; and healed a man with a serious skin disease. Jesus told that man to tell no one but he proclaimed to everyone what Jesus had done. The crowds became such a problem that Jesus went out in deserted places but people would come to Him from everywhere.
Faith Expressed! Read Mark 2:1-5
Jesus’ authority had already been demonstrated through His teaching, calling of his disciples, exorcising of demons and healings.
1. What draws people to at least consider what Jesus teaches? (Unlike the religious teachers of His day, Jesus taught as one having authority—Mark 1:22. No one had ever taught as Jesus—John 7:46. He not only spoke with authority He healed and cast out demons.)
2. What actions did these four men do to help their friend meet Jesus? (First, they believed Jesus could help him. The man may have believed also, but could not come without help. Second, they brought their friend to Jesus. Third, went upon the roof and tore off part of the roof to let their friend down to Jesus.)
3. What risks did these four men take? (Tore through someone’s roof! They were willing to remove obstacles to get to Jesus. Why couldn’t they wait until Jesus stopped speaking and then approach Jesus, after the crowds are gone?)
An important issue comes up here that we do not want to pass up: Here Jesus connected faith and forgiveness!
Hebrews thought sin and illness were connected. Sometimes they are simply illnesses (Matt. 5:45). However, sin and illness were connected in some way for this man with paralysis. Did Jesus have to forgive him in order to heal him?
4. What did it cost the friends to bring their friend to Jesus? (Time. Energy. Risk of being criticized. Etc.)
5. How did these friends show love for this man? (Since God is love, we’re never more like Him than when we meet a real need in a way that truly helps another.)
6. Faith is something we do, not something we have or hold. How do expressions of love show faith? (Putting yourself in another person’s shoes—or showing compassion and empathy—is central to love expression.)
7. How might a person show faith in a tangible way today? (We give as an expression of worship and faith. We pray, in faith.)
Doing the right thing is an expression of faith because we trust that Jesus is right. We trust Him so much that we act.
Jesus could forgive sins because He is God. Pause to talk with Him privately about some sins for which you need forgiveness.
8. What need of this man was most evident to the four men as well as the crowd? (Physical healing. Forgiveness or spiritual healing wasn’t even on their “radar”.)
Authority Questioned! Read Mark 2:6-7
1. What was the reaction of the scribes in the crowd?
Jesus saw the spiritual need as more important than the physical need of the paralytic, and He challenged the status quo with His words about the forgiveness of sins.
2. How were the scribes right and wrong at the same time? (Right, only God can forgive sin. Wrong, thinking Jesus couldn’t forgive sin. He is also God! One writer points out that the scholars of Jesus’ day didn’t believe the Messiah could forgive sin because they did not see Him as God, only a political leader.)
3. How do you think you would feel if you were expecting a very important person, but only met a few commoners, only to learn later that one of them was the person for whom you had been waiting for in great anticipation, but didn’t recognize?
4. What are some facts about Jesus that challenge our ability to understand?
5. How is sin like paralysis?
Power Proclaimed! Read Mark 2:8-11
“The scribes were likely using the law as a type of litmus test to evaluate Jesus’ teaching. Jesus presented them with a different kind of litmus test—a test of authority.” (PSG, p. 25)
Reread verses 10-11. This is the first time Jesus referred to Himself as the “Son of Man.” This is the first of fourteen times this title is used in Mark to emphasize both the humanity and deity of Jesus.
(Hand out Pack Item 12: The “Son of Man” in Mark.”)
As you study this week read these and reflect on the significance of the term “Son of Man.”
1. How does accepting the teaching that Jesus is God affect other beliefs a person may hold? (If you believe Jesus is God then all other beliefs must be measured by what the Bible has to say. If it agrees with the Bible it is true; if it doesn’t it is false!)
2. How did Jesus’ actions here further demonstrate that He is God? (He knew what they were thinking. He showed divine authority to forgive sins. Jesus commanded the paralyzed man to stand and carry his pallet home! Jesus is beyond a doubt God.)
3. What did the others who were listening—the man, his friends, and the crowd of onlookers—learn about Jesus’ character and authority? (Jesus had courage as He spoke the truth to the scribes. No common Jew spoke to the scribes that way. He spoke truth!)
We should speak the truth of God boldly when sharing God’s Word! Not in a boastful way but humbly speak truth!
Authority Demonstrated! Read Mark 2:12
1. How would you describe the way people responded to the healing of the paralytic?
2. Who responded with praise to God? (Evidently even the scribes were moved to praise God.)
3. Do people respond with praise to God more about a physical healing or when a sinner is born into the Kingdom of God? Why?
4. Complete this sentence: Forgiveness of sin can only be granted by __________!
This was only the beginning of the questioning of Jesus’ authority by religious leaders of His time, and continuing today we see people questioning Jesus’ authority.
Summarize and Challenge!
1. Jesus still offers forgiveness to all who approach Him.
2. How does this statement affect your life?
3. In what areas should you seek forgiveness to clear the way for God to work in and through you?
4. Are you sending a clear message to others seeing and hearing from you in relation to the authority of Jesus to forgive sins?
5. As we approach our planned Revival meeting, who is someone you can help find Jesus?
Pray about who God would have you be concerned and pray for!