Mark 2 – A Man with the Palsy Healed & Nazareth

Tomorrow we’re going to look at…

Mark 2
A Man with the Palsy Healed

1 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

Remains of a Byzantine Church built over St. Peter’s House.

2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

“They uncovered the roof” – a typical Palestinian house had a flat roof accessible by means of an outside staircase.  The roof was often made of a thick layer of clay (packed with a stone roller), supported by mats of branches across wood beams.

5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,

The ruins of this building, among the oldest synagogues in the world, were identified by Charles William Wilson. The large, ornately carved, white building stones of the synagogue stood out prominently among the smaller, plain blocks of local black basalt used for the town’s other buildings, almost all residential.

The synagogue was built almost entirely of white blocks of calcareous stone brought from distant quarries.

7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

“Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies?  Who can forgive sins but God only?” – the Jews knew that only God could forgive sin and they didn’t believe Jesus was anything more than a man.

8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?

10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

13 And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.

Herod Antipas -a nickname derived from Antipatros was the son of the Jewish king Herod the Great and his wife Malthace; he was full brother of Archelaus and a half brother of Philip.

With his brothers Archelaus and Philip, he was educated in Rome, a kind of honorable detention to guarantee his father’s loyalty. In his father’s testament, Herod Antipas was appointed tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea (the east bank of the Jordan). The Roman emperor Augustus confirmed this decision and Antipas’ reign could begin (4 BCE).

14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.

“Levi the son of Alpheus” – Matthew.  His given name was probably Levi, and Matthew (“gift of the LORD”) his apostolic name.

“The receipt of custom” – Levi was a tax collector under Herod Anitpas, tetrarch of Galilee.  The tax collectors booth where Jesus found Levi was probably a toll booth on the major international road that went from Damascus through Capernaum to the Mediterranean coast and to Egypt.

15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.

“Sat at meat” – to eat with a person was a sign of friendship.

“Sinners” – notoriously evil people as well as those who refused to follow the Mosaic law as interpreted by the scribes. The term was commonly used of tax collectors, adulterers, robbers and the like.

Sculpture of the Hasidic movement on the Knesset Menorah, shaped by the wide influence of its Tales on Jewish culture. Hasidic ecstatic prayer is shown as a candle surrounding the soul’s wick, amidst Nature embodying the Shekhina divine presence.

16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?

“Scribes and Pharisees” – that is, scribes who were Pharisees – successors of the Hasidim, pious Jews who joined forces with the Maccabees during the struggle for freedom from Syrian oppression (166-142 B.C.).

They first appear under the name Pharisees during the reign of John Hyrcanus (135-105 B.C.).  although some, no doubt, were godly, most of those who came into conflict with Jesus were hypocritical, envious, rigid and formalistic.

According to Pharisaism, God’s grace extended only to those who kept his law, such as the Jews and Catholics of today.

17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” – Jesus is not saying that some people are not sinners, because we all are (Rom 3:23).  He is saying that He came for those that want to be saved. 

18 And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?

Bab Sharqi Street at the east end of Damascus Straight Street.

“Fasting” – in the Mosaic law only the fast of the day of atonement was required (Lev 16:29, 31; 23:27-32; Num 29:7).  After the Babylonian exile four other yearly fasts were observed by the Jews.  In Jesus’ time the Pharisees fasted twice a week.

19 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bride chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.

20 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.

21 No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.

22 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.

Roman triumphal arch on Damascus Straight Street.

23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the Sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.

24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful?

25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?

26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?

27 And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath:

“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” – Jewish tradition had so multiplied the requirements and restrictions for keeping the Sabbath that the burden had become intolerable. 

Jesus cut across these traditions and emphasized the God-given purpose of the Sabbath – a day intended for man (for spiritual , mental and physical restoration – see Ex 20:8-11).

28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.

Nazareth

The town of Nazareth is located north of the Jezreel Valley in the hills of lower Galilee, approximately 3 miles south of Sepphoris.

The inside of a home in Nazareth that could have been occupied by Joseph and Mary.
The prophet Micah prophecied that a great leader will come from Bethlehem in Judaea.

The Gospel of Luke tells how “Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judaea, the birthplace of king David. Joseph went there because he was a descendant of David.”

While Sepphoris was an opulent Greco-Roman city during Jesus’ youth and functioned as the capital of Galilee until 20 A.D., Nazareth remained in relative obscurity.”

Nazareth occupied about 60 acres, with a population of only about 500. In his writings Josephus named some 45 Galilean towns but never once mentioned Nazareth, and neither does the Talmud, which names 63 other Galilean sites.

The Talmud is the Jewish Bible and they deny Jesus being the Son of God, let alone God in the flesh (Jn 1:14; 1 Tim 3:16), so of course they aren’t going to mentioned Jesus’ hometown.

The insignificance of Nazareth provoked disparaging comments already in Jesus’ day, such as Nathanael’s retort:

“…Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?…” (Jn 1:46).

Nevertheless, the New Testament explicitly identifies Jesus as:

And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth in Galilee (Matt 21:11).

This humble town was the residence of Mary and Joseph and the place where Jesus grew up. It was also the jumping-off point for his public ministry and the site of his first rejection.

Archaeologists on Monday unveiled what they said were the remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth that can be dated back to the time of Jesus — a find that could shed new light on what the hamlet was like during the period the New Testament says Jesus lived there as a boy.

The dwelling and older discoveries of nearby tombs in burial caves suggest that Nazareth was an out-of-the-way hamlet of around 50 houses on a patch of about four acres.

He is frequently referred to in the Gospel narratives simply as “Jesus of Nazareth” and the titulus (official placard) that Pilate affixed to the cross dubbed him “JE SUS OF NAZARETH,THE KING OF THE JEWS (Jn 19:19).

Even his earliest followers were labeled “the Nazarene sect” (Acts 24:5).

Both Matthew and John, however, connected the origin of Jesus from Nazareth with an important precedent in the Bible. Matt 2:23 states that Jesus fulfilled the prophecy:

He will be called a Nazarene.

What was Matthew referring to?

Nazareth-tombs

There is no Old Testament text contains those specific words, and Matthew did not indicate the source of his reference. Some have conjectured that he was alluding to Is 11:1, in which the Messiah is called a “Branch” (the Hebrew word for branch netzer, sounds similar to Nazareth).

Others have proposed that Matthew was referring to the concept of the Nazirite, a person consecrated to God’s service (Num 6:1 -21; Jdg13). But John also linked his first mention of Jesus’ origins in Nazareth to his assertion that Jesus was the fulfillment of what Moses and the prophets had written (Jn 1:45).

John did not claim that Jesus’ coming from Nazareth in and of itself fulfilled Scripture, but he did report Nathanael’s astonishment at the idea that the Messiah could have hailed from such a little-known hometown (Jn 1:46).

Archaeological excavations conducted beneath the Church of the Annunciation have revealed that ancient Nazareth was an agricultural village. Pottery was found there dating from the Iron Age II (900-600 B.C.) to the Byzantine period (330-640 A.D.).

Capernaum
This village is on the northern side of Sea of Galilee, and was the center of the activities of Jesus and his town during that time. A grand 4th C Ad Synagogue was excavated, which stood over the Synagogue from the time of Jesus.

Excavations have also uncovered a number of Jewish tombs, including four that were sealed with rolling stones, typical of tombs used up to 70 A.D. and similar to the one in which Jesus was laid.

In addition, a 3rd century A.D. Jewish-Christian synagogue was discovered there. Oriented toward Jerusalem, it contained Jewish-Christian iconography within its mosaic floor.

The synagogue that Jesus attended as a young man and in which he first proclaimed his Messianic identity probably stood beneath this later structure.

The present-day Basilica of the Annunciation at Nazareth was dedicated in 1969 and represents the largest Christian church structure in the Middle East.

…Caesarea Philippi.