Matthew 8–9; Mark 2–5
This week’s lesson shows Jesus healing both physical and spiritual infirmity.
Looking in depth at the report of the man lowered through the roof of a house and being both healed and forgiven shows how people learned who Jesus was, sometimes in spite of their expectations.
This section is excerpted from The Gospel according to Mark, by Julie M. Smith, p.156-17 It includes the New Rendition, Notes on each verse, and an Analysis.
It is perhaps not surprising that in this story, the scribes are also concerned with Jesus’ authority and whether he is exercising a power—to forgive sins—to which he is not entitled. While modern Latter-day Saint notions of priesthood are not overtly explored in Mark’s Gospel, it is nonetheless true that proper authority is a major concern, and the issue of Jesus’ authority is raised again and again. The idea that specific authority is required to perform certain acts has already been affirmed at the baptism (where Jesus sought out John), in Jesus’ teachings in the synagogue (which were, unlike the scribes, “with authority”), and in Jesus’ authority to forgive sins. It is worth mentioning the obvious: the point of this story is that Jesus has authority to forgive sins. Prophecies about the Messiah do not state that the Messiah will forgive sins, so for Jesus to announce that the man’s sins were forgiven is to challenge the prevailing expectations for what the Messiah would be and to claim a power that was regarded as belonging to God alone. This is a profound statement about Jesus’ identity.