Verses 20-26. Contrast Jesus’ picture of a blessed life with the world’s idea of happiness. Why is a Christian happy in such circumstances? What makes the difference:
To be a Christian is to follow the teachings of Jesus. These verses tell us that life may not be fair when we live in accordance of the laws of Jesus while here on earth, but our reward will be great in Heaven. The difference is living the “Christ-like” life while here on earth, and not the world’s view of how one should live. To live for Christ is to put Christ first in my life and to follow his example of how to treat others and help others.
Verses 27-36. A picture of unselfish love. What should be the source and pattern of our love (verses 35-36)? Think of practical cases in your own situation to which the principles laid down in these verses apply:
God loves all the same (verse 35) “for He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.” I guess I will never know how I act might affect someone to take a second look “at God” in their life. A sample that happened to a situation in my life: I sent my sister a copy of the book ‘Jesus Calling”, she seemed down a little, so I thought this would pick up her spirits. I did not know if she even read it, but the other day I noticed of Facebook she took a snapshot of a page from the book that spoke to her in a special way. There were a good handful of comments from friends of her’s that asked where she got that from, so she told them. So, God used that picture of a page from that book to spread His word to others who did not know about the book. So others were touched by that book, and who knows, maybe they bought a copy for themselves. My sister commented that she loved the book.
Verses 12-19. Note the increasing pressures on Jesus (verses 17-19). What two special actions did He take:
Time to find solitude and pray to God, and to preach to the crowds and heal those who sought healing.
These verses record four encounters with the scribes and Pharisees. What were the grounds of their growing opposition to Jesus:
Jesus kept breaking their “man-made” rules and regulations that they forced the people to uphold.
And what were the truths and the principles which (as His answers reveal) determined the actions of Jesus:
Jesus came to call sinners to repentance. Fasting was only required once a year, yet the Pharisees required twice a week. The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. It is lawful to heal and save on the Sabbath.
What happens when formal religion encounters the new life which Jesus brings:
Change!, on how God desires us to follow Him, in contrast to all the man-made laws weighing down the people with all the do’s and don’ts!
How do the incidents in today’s passage illustrate the truth of these verses:
Jesus is the New garment, the New wine skin.
Compare the faith of the leper with that of the friends of the paralytic. Of what was the former uncertain?
The leper was uncertain if Jesus was willing to cure him or not.
And how did the latter display their faith?
By lowering the paralytic through the roof in front of Jesus because the crowds were too large outside the house to gain entrance through the door.
What can we learn from these miracles about prayer:
Have faith! Pray diligently!
(Verses 21-24) What claims are implied in Jesus’ answer to the scribes’ challenge:
Jesus could read the minds of the scribes. He answered them: Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you’ or to say ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins, He said to the one who was paralyzed: “I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.”
Put yourself in the place of Simon. Trace the development of his attitude to Jesus in the successive phases of the story. In what ways is he an example to us:
We don’t feel worthy to be in the presence of Jesus, because we are sinners. I know I feel this way, and I have a hard time forgiving myself when I do sin, even though I believe Jesus has already forgiven me once I ask for his mercy and forgiveness.
Jesus needed fellow-workers. How and where did He find them? What marked out Simon and his colleagues as suitable? What were, for them, the conditions of being used?
He found them as He was teaching the crowds. I don’t know what marked out Simon and his colleagues? Maybe being fishermen, they were persistent? They knew each day would bring something different, maybe catch more or less, and even now as Jesus said, they would be catching men (people). They would have to leave everything and follow Jesus.
What two facts about Jesus particularly impressed the people in the synagogue? Note also the even more discerning testimony of the demons (verses 34, 41).
For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!
Why did Jesus silence this:
He did not want it to be known that He was the Holy One of God. He also rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew He was the Messiah.
This passage illustrates the busy-ness and urgency of Jesus’ mission (see especially verse 43). Why then did He retire to a lonely place (verse 42):
To recharge Himself. To rest. To pray to God His Father. Also the Jewish day ended at sunset, the people waited until the
Sabbath was over, and then brought their sick for healing.
What may we learn from this example:
We too must rest. We must recharge our bodies, and spend time with God in prayer.