Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And again he entered into Capernaum, after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.Chapter 2
1. The Servant again in Capernaum. The healing of the Paralytic. (Mark 2:1-12. Matthew 9:1-8; Luke 5:17-26.)
1. The Servant again in Capernaum. The healing of the Paralytic. Mark 2:1-12.
His second visit to Capernaum brought out a large multitude. We see Him occupied with preaching the Word. He always preached the Word first, to make known the Truth; for this He had come (Mark 1:38). Then in the next place He confirmed His Word by His mighty works. The Paralytic tells of man’s impotence; leprosy is the type of Sin as a defiling, incurable disease, paralysis shows man’s helpless condition. The paralytic is likewise the picture of Israel. The helpless paralytic is brought into the presence of the Lord. Mark alone tells us that four carried him and describes fully the obstacles in the way. They had faith in His love and in His power. How it must have refreshed His heart! As His servants we can still bring sinners into His presence and honor Him by our confidence. “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” With this blessed Word He touches the root of all evil. To deal with it He had come. The proof that He is Jehovah and has power to forgive sins is the healing of the paralytic. Love and Power are here blessedly manifested. Love in forgiveness, power in healing and restoration. It is ever repeated in the case of every believing sinner. The two great elements of the Gospel are here. In some future day converted Israel will know this (Psalm 103:1-3).
2. Levi called. With the Publicans and Sinners. Mark 2:13-17.
Levi, the son of Alphaeus, is Matthew, the writer of the first Gospel. He was a tax gatherer. As such he was despised by the nation Israel. Not alone were they considered thieves, but they were the miserable hirelings of the Romans and as such hated as Apostates. What Grace to call such an one to the office of an Apostle! And the feast which followed reveals both the loving condescension of the Servant-Son and His Grace to seek that which is lost. The Servant had taken a low place by associating with the tax-gatherers. In the eyes of the self-righteous Pharisees it was an abomination. God in the person of His Son had come in Love and Grace seeking man.
3. The Question concerning Fasting. Mark 2:18-22.
The disciples of John approach Him next with a question. The Servant’s ear was always ready to listen to the perplexities, difficulties and sorrows of others. He was always approachable. Under the Law they fasted. The Grace of God had now appeared and Grace was soon to take the place of the Law. He Himself is the Bridegroom. No need of fasting and mourning while He was with them. His rejection would come and with it their fasting. A significant parable follows. The old garment and the old wineskins are symbolic of Judaism with its laws and ceremonies. The new piece and the new wine stand for the Gospel. Law and Grace must not be mixed. If the Gospel of Grace, the new wine, is put into the old wineskins, Judaism with its laws, the wineskins go to pieces and the new wine is spilled. Much in Christendom today is neither Law nor Grace. The Servant announced a change of dispensations.
4. The Question concerning the Sabbath. Mark 2:23-28.
The question concerning the Sabbath is closely connected with the preceding parable. The Sabbath, not a seventh day, but the seventh day, was the day on which God rested in Creation. It was also the sign of His covenant with His people Israel. Plucking ears of corn on the Sabbath to eat them is nowhere forbidden in the Law. It was one of the hard and burdensome man-made traditional injunctions. The Lord cites David’s case. Mark adds that David was not alone hungry, but “he had need.” David, though anointed King, was despised and in need. His greater Son and His disciples were in the same condition. What is greater with God, the maintenance of an ordinance or the need of Man? Surely the latter. He, the humble Servant, was none other than the Lord of the Sabbath. He had rested in His Creation work and instituted the Sabbath for His people. He had become the Son of Man for the need of Man. As the Lord of the Sabbath He speaks, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” On the ground of Grace the Sabbath no longer exists. We have the Lord’s day, the first day of the week to enjoy communion with our risen and glorified Lord, resting from our daily occupation. Blessed privilege to adore Him on that day and to follow His own example of doing good.