MARK 2:1-17 (NIV – UK)
Jesus forgives and heals a paralysed man
1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralysed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralysed man,‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’
6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 ‘Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’
8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, ‘Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralysed man, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up, take your mat and walk”? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’ So he said to the man, 11 ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’
Jesus calls Levi and eats with sinners
13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’
Jesus sits and eats with those who are despised in society and ‘the sinners’. The truth is that we are all sinners, even the Pharisees – but it doesn’t seem they saw it that way.
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (v. 16). It is those who come before Jesus – recognising they need a doctor – who Jesus has come to call. Those who already think they are righteous don’t think they need Jesus, and probably don’t want him either. You wouldn’t seek out a doctor unless you know you are sick. Jesus can’t do anything for them unless they recognise they need him.
But the truth is, we are all sick – we are all entangled with sin – we are all sinners. The beauty is that you just need to call on Jesus – Jesus has come to call you to eat at his table.
Question: If you were there, do you think you would be the Pharisee on the outside, or the sinner eating with Jesus?