Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part V: Settling In Our Minds The Issue Of The Incarnation Of Jesus Christ
(Mark 2:1-12)
  1. Introduction
    1. A number of cults view Jesus as a good man, or as a guru with exceptional insight, or even as a god, but not really as the Creator-God-come-in-the-flesh.
    2. Some even say that the idea of Jesus being God-come-in-the-flesh is the conclusion of His followers, but that Jesus was a mere man without ever claiming to be the Creator-God-come-in-the-flesh.
    3. However, before the believer can go out into the world and evangelize others to believe in Him, they need to be settled in their minds as to who He Himself claimed to be. Did Jesus really claim to be God in the flesh, or did He work around that idea so that He was really just God's Messiah without full deity?
    4. Mark's Gospel was written most likely for Christians so that they might know the certainty of what they believed, and why for encouragement in suffering under Roman persecution, B.K.C., N.T., p. 99. In Mark 2:1-12, Mark clearly shows how Jesus defined Himself in no uncertain terms for our assurance.
  2. Settling In Our Minds The Issue Of The Incarnation Of Jesus Christ, Mark 2:1-12.
    1. An unusual healing format occurred early in Christ's earthly healing ministry that Mark recorded for us:
      1. Due to former healings in the area, knowledge that Jesus was back in a house in Capernaum attracted a huge crowd of people so that the people pressed in upon one another, Mark 2:1-4a.
      2. Four friends of a bed-ridden paralytic couldn't get to Jesus due to the press of people, so they climbed up to the roof to let the man down over Jesus' head to be healed by Him, Mark 2:4b.
      3. Unusually, when Jesus saw the faith of these friends, He did not immediately pronounce him cured, but told him that his sins had been forgiven, Mark 2:5.
      4. Some experts in the Law were present and took offense at what Jesus had said, feeling that Jesus had bordered on blasphemy. Mark 2:6-7. To see why they reacted so strongly, we must understand the startling way Jesus made the statement about the man's forgiveness:
        1. The passive expression "thy sins be forgiven" was "a customary Jewish way of making a pronouncement about God's action while avoiding the" use of the "divine name", William L. Lane, The Gospel of Mark, p. 94, ftn. No. 9. This avoidance of the divine name was a practice of avoiding ever taking God's name in vain, and became an upright expression, showing that one feared God. Nevertheless, the expression stated that God had forgiven the paralytic, Ibid.
        2. Additionally, the aorist present tense of "forgiven" signifies that Jesus affirmed the man's sins to have been forgiven "at this moment", Ibid., cf. Blass-Debr., A Gr. Gram. of the N. T., p. 167 (Par. 320).
        3. In other words, Jesus was affirming that He was speaking for GOD when He stated that AT THAT INSTANT, the man's sins WERE BEING FORGIVEN HIM!
    2. Reading their objectionable thoughts, Jesus drove home the full impact of what He had just said, Mk. 2:8ff:
      1. In rabbinical fashion, upon reading their troubled thoughts, Jesus asked the scribes which was easier to say to the man, "Thy sins be forgiven thee (by God at this moment)" or "Take up thy bed, and walk?"
      2. What happens next in Mark 2:10-11 is a puzzle to commentators:
        1. Mark abruptly records that "But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins" and then abruptly interrupts that statement with the charge for the sick man to walk.
        2. However, to claim to be the Son of Man before the Scribes at this early stage of His ministry puts the narrative at tension with Mark 9:9 where Jesus inhibited letting out H is Messianic identity.
        3. It seems best to take Mark as addressing his readers so that they, believers in Rome, might know that Jesus Christ had authority on the earth in his pre-death body to forgive sins as God-in-the-flesh!
    3. Thus, Jesus' forgiving the paralytic man his sins, backed up by the healing of the man given as intended proof of that stated ability, was Christ's claim to be God-in-the-flesh before His disciples, Mark 2:10-12!
Lesson: In no uncertain terms, Mark records for believers the event of Christ's healing the paralytic in Mark 2:1-12 as HIS intentional PROOF of being God-in-the-flesh while He was in His pre-resurrection body on the earth. Thus, be VERY confident in our minds that the Jesus whom we preach very clearly considered Himself and asserted Himself to be the Creator-God-come-in-the-flesh!