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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 2 When Jesus returned to
Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no
longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried
by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down
the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
3 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the
paralytic, "Child, your sins are forgiven."
4 Now some of the scribes were sitting there
"Why does this man speak that way? 5
He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?"
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they
were thinking to themselves, so he said, "Why are you thinking such things
in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your
sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, pick up your mat and walk'?
6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has
authority to forgive sins on earth" -
he said to the paralytic, "I say to you,
rise, pick up your mat, and go home."
He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went
away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God,
saying, "We have never seen anything like this."
7 Once again he went out along the sea. All the
crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, 8 he saw
Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. He said to him,
"Follow me." And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house, 9
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there
were many who followed him.
10 Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he
was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, "Why
does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
Jesus heard this and said to them (that),
"Those who are well do not need a physician, 11 but the
sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."
12 The disciples of John and of the Pharisees
were accustomed to fast. People came to him and objected, "Why do the
disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples
do not fast?"
Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding
guests fast 13 while the bridegroom is with them? As long as
they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is
taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an
old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the
tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old
wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the
skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins."
14 As he was passing through a field of grain on
the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of
At this the Pharisees said to him, "Look,
why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?"
He said to them, "Have you never read what
David did 15 when he was in need and he and his companions
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar
was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could
lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?"
Then he said to them, "The sabbath was
made for man, 16 not man for the sabbath.
17 That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the
1 [1-⇒ 3:6]
This section relates a series of conflicts between Jesus and the scribes and
Pharisees in which the growing opposition of the latter leads to their plot to
put Jesus to death (⇒ Mark 3:6).
2  He was at home: to the crowds
that gathered in and outside the house Jesus preached the word, i.e., the
gospel concerning the nearness of the kingdom and the necessity of repentance
and faith (⇒ Mark 1:14).
3  It was the faith of the
paralytic and those who carried him that moved Jesus to heal the sick man.
Accounts of other miracles of Jesus reveal more and more his emphasis on faith
as the requisite for exercising his healing powers (⇒ Mark
5:34; ⇒ 9:23-24;
4  Scribes: trained in oral
interpretation of the written law; in Mark's gospel, adversaries of Jesus, with
one exception (⇒ Mark 12:28,
5  He is blaspheming: an
accusation made here and repeated during the trial of Jesus
(⇒ Mark 14:60-64).
6  But that you may know that the
Son of Man . . . on earth: although ⇒ Mark 2:8-9 are
addressed to the scribes, the sudden interruption of thought and structure in
⇒ Mark 2:10 seems not addressed to them nor to the
paralytic. Moreover, the early public use of the designation "Son of
Man" to unbelieving scribes is most unlikely. The most probable
explanation is that Mark's insertion of ⇒ Mark 2:10
is a commentary addressed to Christians for whom he recalls this miracle and
who already accept in faith that Jesus is Messiah and Son of God.
7  He taught them: see the note
on ⇒ Mark 1:21-45.
8  As he passed by: see the note
on ⇒ Mark 1:16-20. Levi, son of Alphaeus: see the
note on ⇒ Matthew 9:9. Customs post: such tax
collectors paid a fixed sum for the right to collect customs duties within
their districts. Since whatever they could collect above this amount
constituted their profit, the abuse of extortion was widespread among them.
Hence, Jewish customs officials were regarded as sinners
(⇒ Mark 2:16), outcasts of society, and disgraced
along with their families. He got up and followed him: i.e., became a disciple
9  In his house: cf
⇒ Mark 2:1; ⇒ Matthew
9:10. ⇒ Luke 5:29 clearly calls it Levi's
10 [16-17] This and the following
conflict stories reflect a similar pattern: a statement of fact, a question of
protest, and a reply by Jesus.
11  Do not need a physician: this
maxim of Jesus with its implied irony was uttered to silence his adversaries
who objected that he ate with tax collectors and sinners
(⇒ Mark 2:16). Because the scribes and Pharisees
were self-righteous, they were not capable of responding to Jesus' call to
repentance and faith in the gospel.
12 [18-22] This conflict over the
question of fasting has the same pattern as ⇒ Mark 2:16-17;
see the notes on ⇒ Matthew 9:15;
13  Can the wedding guests fast?:
the bridal metaphor expresses a new relationship of love between God and his
people in the person and mission of Jesus to his disciples. It is the
inauguration of the new and joyful messianic time of fulfillment and the
passing of the old. Any attempt at assimilating the Pharisaic practice of
fasting, or of extending the preparatory discipline of John's disciples beyond
the arrival of the bridegroom, would be as futile as sewing a piece of
unshrunken cloth on an old cloak or pouring new wine into old wineskins with
the resulting destruction of both cloth and wine (⇒ Mark
2:21-22). Fasting is rendered superfluous during the earthly ministry
of Jesus; cf ⇒ Mark 2:20.
14 [23-28] This conflict regarding the
sabbath follows the same pattern as in ⇒ Mark
15 [25-26] Have you never read what
David did?: Jesus defends the action of his disciples on the basis of
⇒ 1 Sam 21:2-7 in which an exception is made to the
regulation of ⇒ Lev 24:9 because of the extreme
hunger of David and his men. According to 1 Sam, the priest who gave the bread
to David was Ahimelech, father of Abiathar.
16  The sabbath was made for man:
a reaffirmation of the divine intent of the sabbath to benefit Israel as
contrasted with the restrictive Pharisaic tradition added to the law.
17  The Son of Man is lord even of
the sabbath: Mark's comment on the theological meaning of the incident is to
benefit his Christian readers; see the note on ⇒ Mark
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