Mark 2 – Who Is Yeshua? Someone Who Can Heal Paralyzed Humanity

Who Is Yeshua? Someone Who Can Heal Paralyzed Humanity; The One Only Who Can Forgive Our Sins; The Son Of Man; Someone Who Is Inviting People, Even Tax Collectors And Sinners, To Join Him On His Great Rescue Mission; Someone Who Came To Make Radical Changes; The Lord Of The Sabbath And The World’s Supreme Religious Authority

Yeshua is the Most Important Man with the Most Important Message. Everything He did, everything He said, every word that has been recorded for us, is extremely important for each one of us.

A few days later, when Yeshua again entered Capernaum (a city in northern Israel, on the Kinneret, the home of Peter and Andrew, and probably James and John. It was a center of Yeshua’s ministry), the people heard that He had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and He preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to Him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Yeshua because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Yeshua by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Yeshua saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Who is Yeshua? Someone who was very popular among many of the Jewish people at this point. Someone who preached the word to people. Someone who wants us to preach the Word of God to other people.

Someone who spoke encouragingly to this man who had damaged the roof, tenderly addressing him with the familial title of “son” – indicating identification and closeness – not “roof-breaker” or “you destroyer of property.”

Who is Yeshua? Someone who cared for people more than things, who cared for this paralyzed man more than the roof.

Someone who saw faith in the paralyzed man and his friends. Someone who wants to see faith in us and in our friends. Someone who wants us to have friends who have faith, friends who will help us get closer to Yeshua when we are feeling paralyzed.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who has the authority to forgive our sins when He sees faith and loyalty in us – and we desperately need to have our sins forgiven in order to be reconciled to the God from whom the whole world is estranged. We need our sins forgiven in order to live forever with the eternal God.

But those who liked the young miracle-working rabbi and had faith in Yeshua weren’t the only ones in that home that day. Now some teachers of the Torah were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

These Torah-teachers were right and they were wrong. They were right – only God can ultimately forgive sins – not other humans; not Mary or the saints; not the angels. When we sin against a human being, that man or woman can forgive us – but ultimately God must forgive that sin and our other sins. David understood this when he prayed: Against You, You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight. The Torah-teachers were right – only God can forgive sin.

But they were wrong because Yeshua was not blaspheming when He forgave the sins of the paralyzed man – because He is the divine Son of God, distinct from the Father as to His person, but equal to God the Father in divine nature. And as the divine Son of God, He has authority to forgive sins.

Messiah somehow knew, in a deep place, in His spirit, what the Torah-teachers were thinking in their deep places, in their hearts. And even though they were wrong about Him, He wanted to help them understand who He is and what He is capable of doing.

Immediately Yeshua knew in His spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and He said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? And the answer to Yeshua’s question is that it’s easier to say: “Your sins are forgiven” because there is no immediate way of verifying that claim. It’s harder to say:  “Get up, take your mat and walk” because that claim will immediately be verified. So, Yeshua will do the thing that is harder to say in order to prove that He can do the thing that is easier to say – forgive the sins of the paralyzed man.

But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on Earth to forgive sins.” So He said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” And they were right – they had never seen a man who could do miracles and claimed to have the authority to forgive sins – because only someone much greater than an ordinary rabbi, or even a prophet, could do that.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who has a new and better way to forgive the sins of human beings – not by sending people to the Temple in Jerusalem, where they would lay their hand on a sheep or goat, cow or dove, and kill it; and then a priest would sprinkle its blood around the altar – but Someone who only has to say: Your sins are forgiven – and those sins are forgiven.

Who is Yeshua? The Son of Man, fully human, and the perfect man; the ideal human being; the powerful and glorious Son of Man who is described in Daniel’s vision – who appeared before the Ancient of Days, God the Father and was given authority to rule humanity forever.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who can heal a paralyzed man, and that’s so important because humanity is like this paralyzed man – spiritually paralyzed by our sins, unable to function the way we should, unable to walk to the God of our salvation, walk with the God of our salvation. Someone who can heal our spiritual paralysis so we can walk with God, now and forever.

Once again Yeshua went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to Him, and He began to teach them. As He walked along, He saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow Me,” Yeshua told him, and Levi got up and followed Him.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who wanted to teach the crowds about God and the ways of God and the Good News about God. Someone who looked for opportunities to do that. Someone who wants us to use our opportunities to teach people about God – as individuals and as a Community.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who was on a great rescue mission to save fallen human beings. Someone who wanted people to follow Him and become His disciples, students who learned from Him, students whom He equipped to join Him on His mission. And Yeshua is still alive, and He is still leading a mission to rescue us from Satan and the demons, sin and the sin nature, death and Hell. He is still calling men and women, Jewish people and peoples from the nations to follow Him and join His ongoing ministry of proclamation, teaching and good deeds.

Yeshua is someone who didn’t care if those who followed Him were tax collectors, despised by the rest of their society for collaborating with the Roman overlords and squeezing money from the already impoverished Jewish people in order to enrich themselves. Yeshua is Someone who will accept us – no matter how dishonorable or unpopular a background we come from.

Yeshua is Someone who is willing to take a Levi, a despised tax-collector, and turn him into the honorable Matthew, one of the greatest men who ever lived, one of the twelve apostles, the Lord’s representatives, future kings who will sit on twelve thrones ruling the twelve tribes of Israel; Levi, the author of the Book of Matthew, one of the greatest books ever written, a divinely-inspired book that has blessed billions of people over the centuries.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who, when He calls us to follow Him, and we respond, wants us to introduce our friends to Him – like Levi did. While Yeshua was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Him and His disciples, for there were many who followed Him. When the teachers of the Torah who were Pharisees (who purposely separated themselves from those who disobeyed God’s laws) saw Him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked His disciples: “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” You can almost hear them thinking: The wise know we must choose our friends wisely, and we should only choose good people as friends, because our friends influence us. Good friends influence us for good; bad friends for bad. A rabbi should avoid unholy people or he will become unholy. Yeshua is being foolish and setting a bad example by associating with this riffraff. On hearing this, Yeshua said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Who is Yeshua? Our greatest rabbi who went against the religious and social norms of His day. He was willing to eat with the despised tax collectors and notorious law-breakers.

Who is Yeshua? The Friend of Sinners – and that’s so good, so hopeful, because I am a sinner. And guess what? You’re a sinner too.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who came to call sinners to return to the God from whom the whole world is estranged. So, if we want to further Yeshua’s mission, we had better respond to Yeshua’s invitation by admitting that we are sinners; that we are not righteous – not sufficiently right with God; not sufficiently capable, on our own, of doing the right things.

Who is Yeshua? He is like a doctor who heals the sick. And humanity desperately needs this Great Doctor of our souls, because we are spiritually sick. So, if we want the help that the Great Physician can provide, we had better confess that we are spiritually sick, and respond to His invitation to be healed.

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Yeshua, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but Yours are not?” Yeshua answered, “How can the guests of the groom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the groom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. Who is Yeshua? Someone who isn’t bound by the religious norms of others. Someone who knew who He was – the Messiah, the Son of God, Immanuel – God With Us. So, why would His disciples fast, which is more in keeping with mourning and denial, when the long-awaited Messiah had finally arrived and was teaching us great truths and doing unprecedented miracles and proclaiming a message that resulted in eternal life? Fasting while that was happening was as inappropriate as guests fasting at a wedding. However, He knew that He would be taken from them. He will die and return to the right hand of the High King of Heaven, and then it will be appropriate for His disciples to fast. But not now.

Who is Yeshua? Someone who understood that He was about to make a New Covenant – a whole new and better relationship to God made possible by His divine nature, His sinless life, His death, His resurrection and ascension and the giving of His Spirit. He was going create a community of the sons and daughters of God made up of the faithful remnant of Israel and the peoples of the nations who would join them – and that was radically new. He was about to create an eternal community that was centered on Him, and connected to Him. With such major changes on the way, it was not a time for business as usual, for religion as usual; for small changes to previous religious systems. No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”

With the arrival of Immanuel, a new age was starting. This was a time for radical change, for new wine and new wineskins; for a beautiful new garment, not a patch on old clothes. The Jewish people needed to believe that Yeshua was King Messiah, and adjust to Him and His arrival and the things He was emphasizing and His way of doing things. They needed to look to Him and not other religious authorities and their ways of doing things that were rooted in an age that was coming to an end.

Who is Yeshua to me? Someone who wants to make radical changes – to me, in me. Someone who wants to make sure I am not living my life as if it was business as usual, religion as usual. Someone who wants me to be connected to Him, alive to Him, constantly aware of Him and actively involved in His New Covenant Community. Someone who wants to be authoritative over every aspect of my religion – as the following confrontation with some of the Pharisees illustrates. One Sabbath Yeshua was going through the grainfields, and as His disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Even though the Torah does not teach that picking heads of grain violates the Sabbath, the Pharisees taught that this kind of activity was harvesting, and therefore was work, and therefore was forbidden on the day of rest. But, Yeshua knew better. He knew that picking and eating kernels of grain wasn’t work. He knew that the Pharisees were legalistic and wrong. And so the world’s Supreme Religious Authority corrected their misunderstanding:

He taught them that some laws are more important than others; that meeting human needs so that human life is preserved is more important than observing ceremonial laws. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. He pointed out that if King David violated a command of the Torah, but did so to meet the needs of his men to keep them alive, and David was not judged for it, then his action wasn’t wrong; and neither was picking heads of grain on the Sabbath to satisfy the hunger of His disciples.

He taught them that He is the Supreme Authority on all religious issues and institutions, including the Sabbath. The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was created by God and is a sign of Israel’s special relationship to the Creator and must be observed by the Jewish people. The Sabbath is so important that the penalty for violating it is death. And yet, Yeshua claimed to be Lord of the Sabbath – which means that He is greater than this special day created by God. No ordinary rabbi would ever claim to be greater than the Sabbath. But Yeshua did, because He is no ordinary rabbi.

And as the Lord of the Sabbath, He has the right to decide what activities are legitimate or illegitimate on the Sabbath – which He did here. So, if any religious authority, a pharisee, a rabbi, a catholic priest, an imam or anyone else contradicts the Son of God on any issue, it is your duty to side with the Son of God. Who is Yeshua? The world’s Supreme Religious Authority. Is He yours?

Who is Yeshua? The Lord of the Sabbath – and greater than the Sabbath, which means that only He can bring real Sabbath peace, real Sabbath rest to human beings. When we understand who He is and what He has done, and we become loyal to Him, peace and rest flow from the Lord of the Sabbath into our hearts and minds, a kind of peace and rest that is greater than life’s circumstances, a peace and rest that will last forever!

Who is Yeshua? Someone who can heal paralyzed humanity so that we can walk with God; the only one who can forgive our sins – which we desperately need to be forgiven if we are to be reconciled to God and live forever; the Son of Man, the ideal human being who has been granted the authority to rule over humanity forever by the Ancient of Days; Someone who is inviting people, even tax collectors and sinners, to join Him on His great rescue mission; Someone who came to make radical changes, and who wants to make radical changes to your life; the Lord of the Sabbath who alone can bring lasting peace and rest to us; and the world’s supreme religious authority.