INTRODUCTION: I got caught! You might remember that I promised
I would use a story of healing each week to illustrate the point of
the lesson instead of using the "proof text" method employed by the
authors of the lesson. Our first lesson included the story of the
paralytic who went through the roof, so I focussed on that story to
make the point. Now I find that the authors of the lesson have
made that story the centerpiece of our lesson this week! There is
a secondary story in the teacher's helps that we will look at to
bring in new material. Some of this is going to sound familiar.
I. 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. If you had
lived then, would you be there among the
2. What if you
were sick and no doctor could cure you?
Would you be there if you could?
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.)
4. Would the
crowd have encouraged you or discouraged you
to come? (Perhaps encouraged because it showed that
others believed this was the place to be.)
B. Put yourself in the place of the paralyzed
guy. What would
you be feeling at the point where you first see the crowd?
1. Have you ever
been in a big rush, and just as you
swing onto the on-ramp of the freeway you see the traffic
is stopped. Is that how would you react to the crowd if
you were the paralyzed guy?
a. How do you feel when it becomes clear that it is
impossible to get through the crowd? Not just
difficult, or slow-going, but impossible!
II. IN THE WATER?
A. Keep your finger in Mark 2. Let's
look at another story.
Turn with me to John 5:1-7. Read.
B. Can this invalid fellow get into the pool?
(Yes. v.7 tells
us that he is just not fast enough.)
C. What do you imagine it was like when the
water moved? (A
D. So what prevents the invalid fellow from
being healed? Does
he face the same problem as the paralyzed guy of Mark 2?
(Precisely. They both have a "crowd problem." If it were not
for the other people, they would have no barrier to being
E. Let's look at the similarities between the
these two men: the paralyzed guy of Mark 2 and the invalid
fellow of John 5. Make two columns: "Same" and "Different."
First tell me what is similar between these two men? (Same:
Unable to walk. Wanted to be healed. Was close to being in a
position to be healed, but had a barricade, an obstacle
between him and healing.
F. What is different between the two men? (Different:
is surrounded by the disabled (John 5:3), the other is
"surrounded" by his healthy friends. One has given up on being
able to get to the source of healing (John 5:7), while the
other is heading through the roof to get to the source of
G. What was the focus of the paralyzed guy
of Mark 2? (Getting
to see Jesus.)
H. What was the focus of the invalid guy of
John 5? (Getting
into the water.)
1. How about
his lack of help? Was he focussed on that
too? (Yes. John 5:7)
2. What do you
think the invalid guy thought Jesus had in
mind when Jesus asked him (John 5:6) if he wanted to be
healed? (He hoped Jesus might be the guy who would help
him into the water at the right time.)
I. Did the water have any power in itself?
What was the source
of any healing power in the water? (God)
III. THROUGH THE SON
A. Read John 5:8.
1. Did the invalid
guy need to get into the water to be
2. Did he need friends to be healed?
3. Was the "focus"
of the invalid guy right? (No! He was
focussed on circumstances. He was focussed on the method
of healing. He was not focussed on the source of healing.
He was blaming circumstances for his inability to be
4. Do you think
the wrong focus for the invalid guy
caused him to be depressed and discouraged? (No doubt.
Look at John 5:6-7. Jesus asked him if he wanted to be
healed. Instead of saying, "Yes," he started talking
about the impediments to being healed.)
B. Leave your finger in John 5, and move back
to Mark 2.
Picture these four guys come carrying a paralyzed man. Now
imagine that you are one of them.
1. Why not haul
him to the Sheep Gate pool in Jerusalem?
2. Still imagine
that you were one of these four friends,
except this time you are a friend of the invalid guy in
John 5. Would you try to toss him in the pool at the
right time, or would you try to haul him to Capernaum
(Mark 2:1) to get him into the house to see Jesus?
C. Read Mark 2:5-12.
1. You remember
that we discussed that the paralyzed guys
friends might have thought that Jesus gave the wrong
response when He said "Your sins are forgiven?" Do you
think that any of the paralyzed guys friends were worried
about his sins?
2. What is your role today as a friend of the sick?
a. Is it to focus on the means of healing?
b. To focus on the obstacles to healing?
c. Is it to focus on your friend's sin?
d. Didn't the four guys who went through the roof
have to "focus" on "the obstacles to healing," ie,
the crowd and the roof? (The role of friends is to
allow the sick person to get beyond the obstacles
and see the source of healing: Jesus.)
3. Why did Jesus,
in Mark 2:5 call the paralyzed guy
a. Does this suggest that he was younger than Jesus?
b. I've called the four fellows who carried him
"friends." The text does not call them "friends,"
it says "men." If he is very young, who do you
think was likely to be helping carry him? (His
(1) Is his father concerned about his sins? (My
bet is that his father is blaming himself for
the boy's sins that "caused" him to be
paralyzed. So the best news in the world is
that his boy's sins are forgiven.)
D. Let's explore the John 5 story a bit more.
5:8-9b. We decided that the invalid guy was focussed on the
wrong things. How then did he get healed?
1. Did Jesus
promise this guy that He would heal him?
Did He give him any idea that He planned to do anything
other than consider helping him into the water at the
a. Once Jesus told the man to "Get up!" did his
focus change from the impediments to healing to the
source of healing?
b. Did the man believe Jesus? If he had not, would
he have been healed? (When Jesus told him to "Get
up!" the focus of his life changed.)
E. With these two healing stories in mind,
tell me what is the
most important factor for being healed?
1. Is it friends?
2. Is it a "crowd control?"
3. Is being focussed on the means of healing? (No. It
is coming face to face with Jesus. If we look to Him, no
problem is too great -- even if the problems have been
too great for 38 years.)
IV. THE LAW v. THE SON
A. We already read Jesus' discussion with the
leaders in Mark 2. We have a similar discussion in John 5.
Read John 5:9-17.
1. What was the
primary concern of the religious leaders
in John? (They were concerned about Sabbath
a. Is that similar to their concern in Mark?
2. Is there a
lesson in this for us today? (If we
continue on in Mark 2, we find the all important context
to our story and thus we are aided in seeing "the
lesson." Mark 2:27 "The Sabbath was made for man, not man
for the Sabbath.")
a. What does this mean? (It means that the Sabbath,
just like every other part of the law, is a tool to
bring us into fellowship with God.)
b. What was the error of the religious leaders?
(They were focussed on the tool, and not the
ultimate goal. In that sense, they were a lot like
the invalid guy of John 5 before he came face to
face with Jesus.)
3. What was Jesus'
goal in these healings--for the
religious leaders? (In Mark 2:10 He was teaching the
religious leaders who He was. In John 5:17-18 He was
doing the same thing.)
4. Does Jesus
in any way undercut the authority of the
law in these healings? (No. In Mark 2:5 He says to the
paralyzed guy "Your sins are forgiven." Which would make
no sense if the law was not in place. In John 5:14 Jesus
tells the formerly invalid guy, "Stop sinning." Once
again Jesus is upholding the law. Every one of our
healing stories so far has a strong point about sin. The
goal of healing is to break the bonds of sin.)
V. NEXT WEEK: THE ACT OF FAITH. Study!