When I was in the fourth grade, we were required to know all the capitals and states of America. My momma had bought my sisters and I this really cool puzzle with all the state names and capitals on a big map so it was really easy for me to practice for my test. I would sit in the floor putting together my puzzle/map while my sister called out a state to me, and I would respond with the capital.
Lauren: South Dakota?
Me: Uh, Columbia?
Me: Lauren, really?
Lauren: You need to say it, Shelby.
This happened several days in a row. The night before the big test, my dad sat with us as Lauren drilled me on the capitals.I was doing really well, and hadn’t missed any when my sister called out Wyoming.
“Cheyenne!” I said, but I pronounced it like the girl’s name Chaney or (Chain-ey), but my dad starts laughing.
Dad: Shelby it’s not CHAIN-EY. You pronounce it Cheyenne. (Shy-Ann.)
Then Lauren and I both begin snorting.
Lauren: Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaddd. Look at the word. That is clearly pronounced Chain-ey!
Me: DUH, Dad… who would ever look at that word and pronounce it like Shy-Ann??”
He keeps laughing at us while we continue jeering at him for saying such a ridiculously incorrect pronunciation.
Dad: Girls, I’m telling you that you’re saying it wrong. It’s pronounced Shy-Ann, Wyoming.
Us: um, how much do you want to bet that you are WRONG, Dad?
Dad: Fine…If we verify it’s pronounced like Shy-Anne then you girls will have to wash my truck. Inside and Out. With the vacuum. No shortcuts. Do you still want to make a bet?
Us: Yes! And if we win you do our laundry for a month and we get to give you a wedgie!!
(because this seemed like a really hilarious thing to do to my dad when I was in the fourth grade.)
Dad: Well your Aunt Kelly Jo used to live in Wyoming.. Why don’t we call her and ask her what the name of the capital is?
So Lauren and I grab the phone quick and call Aunt Kelly. We give her no details about our hilarious bet to give Dad a wedgie and we confidently inquire,
Us: So Aunt Kelly. You used to live in Wyoming.. What is the name of the capital?
There is a pause. My sister and I await in euphoric triumph just waiting for her to say what we know to be true. That the capital of Wyoming is indeed pronounced like Chain-ey. I envision Dad folding up all my laundry with a big, fat, uncomfortable wedgie when Aunt Kelly abruptly halts my short-lived dream.
Aunt Kelly: The capital of Wyoming is Shy-Ann.
We are stunned to silence. It’s an incredulous fact that we can not deny. Aunt Kelly lived in Wyoming, so if anyone were to know how to pronounce the capital, it would certainly be her. We were wrong. No denying it.
“I’ll go get you the supplies to wash the truck…” Dad says, still laughing. “I triiiieeeeedd to tell you, girls.” He says while walking away.
At this point in Mark’s narrative, Jesus has gone viral.
He has healed several people, cast out demons, and people are running left and right to see him. There are such great crowds following Jesus that Mark tells us “Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.” (Mark 1:45).
God himself declares Jesus to be his son and even demons proclaim that as well. All the spiritual forces at work in our world have declared that Jesus is God’s son. Jesus goes about proving this by working fantastic miracles and healing people. Can you just imagine if Jesus were alive today, doing the same miracles? What if Jesus walked into St. Judes children’s hospital in Memphis today, laid his hands on every child that had cancer, and they were healed? It would be the headline on every news network, newspaper, and social media outlet on the planet. I can picture the headline now- Hundreds of Children Instantly Cured from Terminal Cancer by Jewish Rabbi!
It is that level of interest and euphoria that we see in the people of Mark 2. Going town to town, Jesus preaches, teaches, and demonstrates his authority over sickness and demons; however, Jesus also claims to have authority to forgive sins. Many of the leaders of his religion (The scribes and pharisees) did not believe he is the Son of God and are outraged by all Jesus is doing. They believe his works are total blasphemy. So Jesus asks them a fascinating question. When faced with a man who was lame from birth, he asks them “If God alone can forgive sins then which is easier? To say to this man, Son your sins are forgiven, or tell him to walk?” (Mark 2:9 paraphrase)
It’s a crucial question we must answer. Jesus is saying, what is more verifiable to you? What’s easier for you to comprehend? You say that the only one capable of forgiving sins is God along. and I’m saying I have authority over all of it. Which will you believe more? To tell you I can forgive sins or to prove that I can–by healing a man?
And that’s what Jesus is doing for us here. He’s trying to tell us that he has authority to forgive sins and as a proof- he offers to us this man’s complete healing. Pretty good deal for a man who has never been able to walk before! And from this story, we can conclude that it’s reasonable to believe that Jesus is the Son of Go. But some people don’t come to this conclusion, even after the healing. They are astonished, but they don’t believe.
What would help you understand or what would make you believe that Jesus is who he says he is?
In this next chapter of Mark,
Continue Looking for Bible Words.
Some of the words on my list that I think need explaining are Sins, Capernaum, Sabbath, and Blaspheming. How would you define these words if you are a believer? If you aren’t, see my notes!
Continue Looking for words that Mark uses a lot, a lot, a lot.
Like Immediately and Authority. His repetitive use helps us understand what’s important to him.
Look for The Jesus Freaks and The Ones who think Jesus is Freaky
Mark slowly presents the idea that there are two fundamentally different people groups in his gospel. The first are Jesus’ followers. These consist of his disciples- the men he specifically invites to follow him, and great crowds of men and women who follow him around as well. Surprisingly, this group is not your typical cleaned-up folks who attend church every Sunday. They are often people who are unloved in their society- like tax collectors. This group is very much FOR Jesus. Make notes about the type of people who are for Jesus. Who are they? What do they do?
The second group of people are those who oppose Jesus. The scribes and the pharisees are grouped together as those who don’t exactly believe in Jesus and question him a lot about what he is doing. Surprisingly, these are the people who are leading the Jewish synagogue and the people you would expect to believe in Jesus, but this group is very much AGAINST Jesus. Be sure to note their reactions and remarks to Jesus. Mark begins developing these groups here in chapter two so be on the lookout for them.
Look for Jesus teaching style
Jesus employs several different styles of teaching in Mark’s gospel. In this chapter, we see Jesus begin asking questions and telling stories that demonstrate his points. (parables.) It is crucial that we understand why Jesus chooses different teaching methods throughout Mark’s gospel. To what group does he say what, and why that method?
So, without further ado- Let’s start Chapter Two.
Jesus Heals a Paralytic
2 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Jesus Calls Levi
13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of[a] the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat[b] with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
A Question About Fasting
18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”[c]
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of[d]Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”