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Mark 2:1-12 Sermon Notes

Clergy/Leaders’ Mail-list No. 0-011

Mark 2:1-12 (RCL Gospel for Epiphany 7 – 20 February 2000)

Sermon Notes by Wayne Dobratz

Jesus had adopted Capernaum as his hometown after his own people rejected him and tried to kill him. They came in large crowds, as Mark tells us in 2:1-12.

The faith of these 5 men, 4 stretcher bearers and the paralytic himself, was shining like the dawn. The man, who had been let down, wanted to be lifted up, allowed to walk again.

The point here is the power of Jesus’ Word and faith in it. “When Jesus saw their faith…” is a key phrase. As urgent as his need was for healing, there was an even greater burden–his sin. Jesus speaks to him so tenderly, like a father. “Son, your sins are forgiven. I’m lifting the weight of guilt from your shoulders so that, pardoned by me, you can stand upright before God, even though you are still lying flat on your back.”

vv. 6-7 The teachers of the Law let their reason stand in the way, blocking the door to faith in Jesus. “This man,” they thought, “does not have the right to forgive sins.” Yes, only God can forgive sins and that’s the point that Jesus pursues. Their second premise was wrong. Because they did not believe that Jesus was God, their conclusion was wrong.

vv.8-11 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus rebukes them as to who He is. He then proceeds to prove that He has the authority to forgive sins by healing the man’s paralysis.

The results were in, the votes were counted. The man got up, took his mat and went home, before the startled eyes of all. “The bed had borne the man; now the man bears the bed,” wrote Bengel. Overwhelmed, the people praised God.

Homiletical Suggestions:

It is Mark’s theme to portray the power of Jesus over evil and the results of evil. It comes very early in Mark’s Gospel and is a great Epiphany text.

Here are some possible outlines:

Jesus, the Great Physician

1) He knows the cause 2) He can treat the effects


Jesus Has the Authority

1) To forgive sins 2) To heal the consequences of sin


Wholistic Healing

1) Soul 2) Body


Bring Others to Jesus

1) Don’t let anything stop you (vv1-4)

2) His Message fits them all (vv5-8)

3) Bodily Needs are included, both then and now (vv9-12)

Some of the above comes from Sermon Studies on the Gospels–Series B, Ernst Wendland, Ed. Northwestern Publishing House.

– Wayne Dobratz <>


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