Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mark 2:1-12, The Healing of a Paralytic (The Study of Mark)

     1 And going again into Capernaum after several days1, it was heard that he is at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even around the door2 , and he was speaking the word to them. 3 And they came bringing a paralytic to him being carried by four men. 4 And not being able to bring the man to him because of the crowd, they removedthe roofwhere he was and after digging out the roof, they lowered the mat5 where the paralytic was laying. 5 And after seeing their faith, Jesus says to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven6 .” 6 And there were some of the scribes sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 “Why is this one speaking in this manner? He is blaspheming7 . Who is able to forgive sins except the one God8 ?” 8 And immediately, knowing in his spirit that they are reasoning within themselves this way, Jesus says to them, “Why are you reasoning these things in your hearts? 9 What is easier, to say to the paralytic ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say ‘Get up, take up your mat and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the son of manhas the authority to forgive sins on the earth10”--He says to the paralytic, 11 “I say to you, get up, take up your mat, and go into your house.” 12 And he got up immediately, took up the mat, and went out before all of them11, so that they were all amazed and glorified God saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”


In this scene, we will see Jesus enter into the “boldness” camp. We will see how his authority unfolds. This will also mark Jesus’ first opposition. In this case, he is receiving opposition from the Scribes, which were the “educated” among the Jews of the Galilee. Here, we will see the local Scribes question Jesus, but later, that will escalate to the Scribes in Jerusalem.

Occasionally, my translation will state something in the present that obviously happens in the past.  This can be seen in verse 1 (it was heard that he is at home).  This is the literal greek of the passage and it's call a "historical present".  It is part of the style of the author.  I tend to keep this small stylist writing in my translations. (Correction: This is not a historical present.  This has to do with indirect discourse and should be translated as "it was heard that he was at home".  Apparently, "to be" verbs are not considered a historical present when featured in indirect discourse.  I'm still learning!)

1 δι ̓ ἡμερῶν (after several days)

Greek: “through days”. This references time, so this indicates that enough time had passed since “and they were coming to him from everywhere” in verse 45, that Jesus was able to go into Capernaum again. The excitement had either died down enough for him to get back home (to Peter’s house?) or he was able to get into the city undetected.

2 μηδὲ τὰ πρὸς τὴν θύραν (not even around the door)

Greek: “not even the areas/spaces toward the door” Mark’s picture here is to show that the house and all around the door was being filled. No one was going be able to get in.

3 ἀπεστέγασαν (They removed)

It would be more like “They dug through”. The roof was considered living space, so it would have been very sturdy being made of timber and branches dipped in mud. In other words, it would have been a big deal to dig through the room. It was not an easy task. What’s even more shocking is that no one tried to stop them!

4 Roof

So how did the four men get up on the roof? In the 1st century, most houses were built as single level house with a staircase to the roof. The roof was considered living space and was part of the house. The size of the house was determined by the kind of timber that was available to the builder. Most houses were around 20ft to 25ft by 20ft to 25ft. The roof would have had a rail around it so that people would not fall off.

Deuteronomy 22:8, If you build a new house, you must construct a guard rail around your roof to avoid being culpable in the event someone should fall from it. NET Bible

5 τὸν κράβαττον (a mat) A mat or mattress. A poor man’s bed.

6 τέκνον, ἀφίενταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι (Child, your sins are forgiven)

τέκνον: “child” Most translations render it as “son”. We meet ἀφίημι again. In this case, it is used as “forgive”. Think of it this way. “Your sins are let go”, or “Your sins are leaving”.

Russell Theology Moment

So, why does Jesus state to the paralytic that his sins are forgiven? The most obvious reason would be to show his authority, but there may be something else here. We know from the book of Job that sin and suffering are not necessarily connected. With that said, it is possible for sin and suffering to be connected. Mark may be indirectly showing us that in this text. We know from Deuteronomy 22:8 that a rail is suppose to be on the roof in order to keep someone from falling off. What if this man fell from his own rooftop where he didn’t have a rail? He would be guilty of the sin of not having the rail and his suffering is now related to that sin.

7 βλασφημεῖ (he is blaspheming)

Normally, blaspheming meant to speak the divine name of God (Yahweh), but in this case, it was used because Jesus was claiming to be able to forgive sins just like God could.

8 εἷς ὁ θεός (The one God)

“The one God” was used to reinforce the idea that Jesus was blaspheming.

9 ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (the son of man)

This is the first time that Jesus uses this title for himself in Mark. “The son of man” derives from Daniel 7:13-14. During Daniel’s time, the phrase was not used as a title for “Messiah”. That idea of the passage was developed by Jews at a later time, which was introduced here by Jesus.

10 ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς (on the earth)

This expands things that were thought to be only “heavenly” to “earthly”. According to Daniel 7:13-14, The Son of Man received from God an authority that was to be exercised over all the earth.

11 ἔμπροσθεν πάντων (before all of them)

Greek: “Before all”. This was a very public event not only for Jesus, but also for the Scribes. Something that they were not soon to forget.

The Passage in Greek

Μάρκον 2·1 Καὶ εἰσελθὼν πάλιν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ δι ̓ ἡμερῶν ἠκούσθη ὅτι ἐν οἴκῳ ἐστίν. 2 καὶ συνήχθησαν πολλοὶ ὥστε μηκέτι χωρεῖν μηδὲ τὰ πρὸς τὴν θύραν, καὶ ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς τὸν λόγον. 3 καὶ ἔρχονται φέροντες πρὸς αὐτὸν παραλυτικὸν αἰρόμενον ὑπὸ τεσσάρων. 4 καὶ μὴ δυνάμενοι προσενέγκαι αὐτῷ διὰ τὸν ὄχλον ἀπεστέγασαν τὴν στέγην ὅπου ἦν, καὶ ἐξορύξαντες χαλῶσι τὸν κράβαττον ὅπου ὁ παραλυτικὸς κατέκειτο. 5 καὶ ἰδὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὴν πίστιν αὐτῶν λέγει τῷ παραλυτικῷ· τέκνον, ἀφίενταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι. 6 ἦσαν δέ τινες τῶν γραμματέων ἐκεῖ καθήμενοι καὶ διαλογιζόμενοι ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν· 7 τί οὗτος οὕτως λαλεῖ; βλασφημεῖ· τίς δύναται ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ θεός; 8 καὶ εὐθὺς ἐπιγνοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῷ πνεύματι αὐτοῦ ὅτι οὕτως διαλογίζονται ἐν ἑαυτοῖς λέγει αὐτοῖς· τί ταῦτα διαλογίζεσθε ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν; 9 τί ἐστιν εὐκοπώτερον, εἰπεῖν τῷ παραλυτικῷ· ἀφίενταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι, ἢ εἰπεῖν· ἔγειρε καὶ ἆρον τὸν κράβαττόν σου καὶ περιπάτει; 10 ἵνα δὲ εἰδῆτε ὅτι ἐξουσίαν ἔχει ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς _ λέγει τῷ παραλυτικῷ· 11 σοὶ λέγω, ἔγειρε ἆρον τὸν κράβαττόν σου καὶ ὕπαγε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου. 12 καὶ ἠγέρθη καὶ εὐθὺς ἄρας τὸν κράβαττον ἐξῆλθεν ἔμπροσθεν πάντων, ὥστε ἐξίστασθαι πάντας καὶ δοξάζειν τὸν θεὸν λέγοντας ὅτι οὕτως οὐδέποτε εἴδομεν.

1 comment:

  1. It might be said we are all in the "historical present". We are at this place because of the last step taken. We are blessed because of what He has done. Our history is His present.