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LESSON 1 - CREATOR AND HEALER (MARK 2:1-12)

Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All Scripture references are to
the NIV unless otherwise noted. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard.

INTRODUCTION: We start a new quarter that explores Jesus' healing
ministry here. Do you see a connection between salvation and
healing?  Our goal this quarter is to learn about that connection
from Jesus so that we can advance His kingdom. 

You know I dislike the "proof-text" method of teaching; which is
how the authors of our lessons approach this quarter. My view is
that the Holy Spirit led in the way the Bible messages are laid out
and I prefer to start a study with the Spirit's contextual
arrangement.  For that reason, we will primarily focus in these
lessons, where possible, on a story of healing.

I. GOING THROUGH THE ROOF!

     A. Turn with me to Mark 2:1-4. As I read this, try to picture
     in your mind what it would be like to be present and witness
     this event. Read.

          1. Is Jesus a topic of current interest? (Yes)

          2. What kind of a preacher is He? (Verse 2, reveals He
          must be very good!) 

          3. How big is the crowd that has come to hear Jesus? What
          places are already taken? (There was no place left in the
          house.  There was even no place outside by the door.)

     B. Picture these four guys come carrying a paralyzed man.  
     Shouldn't four guys be able to squeeze through the crowd?
     (Verse 4. "They could not get [to Jesus] because of the
     crowd.")
     
          1. Why would it take four men to carry one man? What 
          might this tell you about this crew if you saw them
          approaching the crowd? (Perhaps that the paralyzed guy
          was big.  Or, more likely, that it was a long journey, so
          they needed four.  It certainly tells us that none of
          this group had any money because they did not use a pack
          animal.  Whatever the specific facts are, it shows us
          that they were determined. They had gone to some effort
          to help the paralyzed guy.)

          2. What kind of attitude do the four have to the one that
          is sick? (Love, care, concern that overrides personal
          convenience.)

     C. It says in v.1 that Jesus had "come home." Did He have a
     home? (Luke 9:58. Jesus says he has no place to lay His head.)

          1. So whose place was this in Capernaum? Bump back with
          me to Mark, chapter 1. In Mark 1:21 we have Jesus in
          Capernaum in the synagogue. In v. 29 he leaves the
          synagogue and goes where? (Peter's home.)

          2. Then in 1:35 it records that Jesus left Peter's home
          early in the morning. Then 2:1 it records that Jesus
          returned to Capernaum to "home."

     D. Let's say this is Peter's home. Tell me what you picture as
     four guys start tearing a hole in his roof? (I suspect Peter
     had a strong opinion on this matter.)

          1. Consider the logistics of going through the roof. 
          First they have to drag the paralyzed guy up to the roof.
          Then they have to make a hole big enough to let him down.
          Then they have to let him down.  All this time they have
          to deal with Peter. Assuming they are not morons, why
          would they go through this?  Why not just charge through
          the crowd to the door? (Friends, this is a CROWD!  The
          four must have decided that going through the roof was
          the easiest way to get to Jesus.)

     E. Read v. 5. So picture this. Verse 2 tells us Jesus is 
     preaching and the roof gets torn apart and a guy gets let down
     from the ceiling.  Imagine how that affects Jesus' preaching.
     When I'm preaching and a baby starts to really cry, I will
     kick up my volume. What do you do when a body comes down
     through the roof?

          1. Verse 5 tells us what Jesus did was to say to the 
          paralyzed guy "Your sins are forgiven." 

               a. Doesn't it seem Jesus has the wrong response? 

               b. Is He talking about forgiving them for disturbing
               the meeting? 
               
               c. Do you think the four went to a lot of effort for
               nothing?

          2. Do you think the four went to such effort to bring 
          this guy to Jesus to have Him forgive his sins? (I think
          they went to have him healed. If you look at Mark 1:29-34
          you have Jesus doing all of these healings (presumably)
          in this same house. These guys dragged their friend there
          to be healed.)

     F. Verse 5 says about this crew, "Jesus saw their faith." 
     Faith in what?

          1. How can we be like this crew today? How can we show
          our faith, tear through roofs, and bring people to Jesus?

               a. What would be a "roof" for you today?

     G. So why do you think Jesus said: "Your sins are forgiven?"
     (Do you remember the man in front of the temple who was blind
     from birth? Jesus' disciples asked Him about that man, "Who
     sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?" John
     9:2) I don't think this thought occurred only to the
     disciples. This was a cultural idea -- sickness arose from
     sin.) 

          1. Put yourself in the paralyzed guy's place. Which would
          distress you more, carrying the "mark" of your sin for
          all to see or the actual disability itself? (I've got to
          believe shame is worse than disability.  Of course, the
          paralyzed guy did not have a choice, he had both!)

     H. Let's get back to where we were. Tell me again what made
     the crew think Jesus could heal the paralyzed guy? (Mark 1:32-
     33. They had the witnesses of people who had seen Jesus heal.)

     I. Why do we think today that Jesus will heal?  How could you
     "prove" this to anyone today? (Let's read on: vv. 5-12.)

          1. Is Jesus facing a disbelieving crowd here? (Yes.)

               a. Are the thoughts of lawyers reasonable? (That 
               would have been my first thought had I been there. 
               Who is this guy I'm looking at who says he can
               forgive sins?!)

               b. Why do you think Jesus asked the lawyers (v.8)
               "Why are you thinking these things?"  No doubt they
               could easily have given Jesus a "top ten" list of
               why they were thinking He was not God. (Jesus was
               not looking for an answer.  He wanted them to know
               He could read their mind -- the first proof of who
               He was.)

          2. Aside from reading their minds, how did He "prove" He
          could forgive sin? What did He do to make them think He
          could do it? (He healed.)

               a. Note His question in v.9. Is it easier to say 
               "you are forgiven" then to heal somebody?

               b. What do you think about the logic of
               Jesus'  question?  Would this be "good enough" an
               argument for you?

               c. By this logic, can physicians forgive sins? (No.
               Jesus is talking about two things: power and proof
               of the power. Anyone can say anything. But proof of
               the truth of what is said is shown in the power to
               do what was said. No one could know if the
               paralyzed guy was actually forgiven of his sins.
               But everyone could know if Jesus had the power,
               through His words, to heal him.)

          3. So (again) how to we prove that Jesus has the power to
          heal today? (It goes back to proof of the power.)

          4. Do you believe that Jesus created the world? A lot of
          Christians believe in evolution or some hybrid theory
          where God uses evolution to come up with our world today.
          What proof can be seen that a Master Intelligence created
          the universe (and us) as opposed to chance and time? (The
          eye is "exhibit A" in my book for creation. Can man
          create an eye to replace your eye? If all the
          intelligence of man, all the artificial intelligence he
          has created, and all the learning that he has amassed
          about the eye does not allow him to replicate the eye
          (all man has to do it copy it!), how could the eye come
          about by chance?

               a. So if we were created, why were we created? (Gen
               1:26-28. God wanted someone "made in His image" to
               rule over what was created. God wanted a helper and
               a partner.)
               
          5. If God has the power to create us, does He have the
          power to heal us? To recreate us? (No doubt.)

     J. Do you see in the story of healing the paralyzed guy  
     a parable of Jesus' ability to heal and restore us in His
     image? If healing is proof of the ability to forgive. Then
     creation is proof of the ability to heal, recreate and
     restore!

II. BODY AND SOUL

     A. Turn with me to Matthew 8:17. Read. What does this mean?
     (Note this follows the healing of Peter's mother-in-law, which
     in Mark's account comes just before the healing of the
     paralyzed guy.) (This means Jesus came in part to save us from
     sickness.)

          1. Why did Jesus come in part to save us from sickness?
          (The same impulse that caused Him to die for our sins. He
          cares about us and wants to make us "right" again. The
          Creator will recreate us. Praise God!)

III. NEXT WEEK: "Moved Through Compassion." Study!