God’s Guiding Word: Discipleship
Mark 2:1–17: Jesus heals a paralyzed man, and teachers of the Law accuse him of blasphemy. Jesus calls a tax collector to be one of his followers.
2 A few days later Jesus went back to Capernaum, and the news spread that he was at home. 2 So many people came together that there was no room left, not even out in front of the door. Jesus was preaching the message to them 3 when four men arrived, carrying a paralyzed man to Jesus. 4 Because of the crowd, however, they could not get the man to him. So they made a hole in the roof right above the place where Jesus was. When they had made an opening, they let the man down, lying on his mat. 5 Seeing how much faith they had, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”
6 Some teachers of the Law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7 “How does he dare talk like this? This is blasphemy! God is the only one who can forgive sins!”
8 At once Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he said to them, “Why do you think such things? 9 Is it easier to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, 11 “I tell you, get up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
12 While they all watched, the man got up, picked up his mat, and hurried away. They were all completely amazed and praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
Jesus Calls Levi
13 Jesus went back again to the shore of Lake Galilee. A crowd came to him, and he started teaching them. 14 As he walked along, he saw a tax collector, Levi son of Alphaeus, sitting in his office. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Levi got up and followed him.
15 Later on Jesus was having a meal in Levi’s house.[a] A large number of tax collectors and other outcasts was following Jesus, and many of them joined him and his disciples at the table. 16 Some teachers of the Law, who were Pharisees, saw that Jesus was eating with these outcasts and tax collectors, so they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such people?”
17 Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.”
Today’s Key Verse: Mark 2:17
[Jesus answered]: “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.”
What prompted four people to bring the paralyzed man to Jesus? What does this story teach you about faith? Why did the teachers of the Law accuse Jesus of blasphemy? What did Jesus say to them? Why did they object to Jesus eating with tax collectors and outcasts? What was Jesus’s response? How do you suppose they reacted to Jesus’s words? In what ways does your community of faith reach out to those who are considered “outcasts” today?
Lord Jesus, you reach out in love to everyone, especially those cast out by society. Thank you for reaching out to me and welcoming me into your Kingdom. Teach me to reach out with compassion and love to those who have been ostracized and to share with them the Good News of your love and salvation. Amen.
Mark 2:18–28: Jesus is questioned about fasting and about the Sabbath.