Notes on Mark 2, verses 1-5
by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)
Mark 2:1, KJV: And again he entered into Capernaum, after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
The last verses of Mark 1 tell how Jesus had gone into “desert places (1:45)” because so many people were coming to Him from everywhere. “Desert” doesn’t mean a sand-filled wasteland like the Sahara but was probably the same as the wilderness or sparsely populated area. Now, “after some days” (the duration is never specified) Jesus came back to Capernaum.
Now note the last part of this verse, explaining Jesus was “in the house”. We are not told whose house. Before, He had stayed at the house of Simon and Andrew (1:29 and context), seemingly for only one day after the synagogue service was over. Whoever owned this house was blessed to have such a Guest as Jesus Himself want to stay there!
Sure enough, word got around that Jesus was there. What happened next is one of the most unusual stories in the Bible.
2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
So many people had come near the house that there were too many to enter. Mark does not say why they had come to the house, to see Him. Previously Jesus had ministered to two different groups: those who had various diseases and those who were demon possessed (1:32-34).
No matter what ailments the people may have had, Jesus preached “the Word” to them. Mark doesn’t give the text or the topic but whatever it was, there is no record anyone interrupted or even walked away.
3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
“Palsy” is the name of a very serious disease. An Internet search defined “palsy” as a type of paralysis or other condition making someone weak or feeble (paraphrased). The man who had this palsy was not able to walk, as he was being “borne” or carried by four other people.
These four friends brought their sick friend to Jesus hoping their sick friend could be healed (implied).
4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
So many people were near the door because of the “press” (another word for “crowd”), the four friends couldn’t bring their sick friend to Jesus directly. Why the “press” wouldn’t allow an obviously sick man to see Jesus, when they had clearly known Jesus had the power to heal, is unknown and incredible.
The four friends worked up a “Plan B”: uncovering the roof, breaking up the materials (tiles, according to several books on Bible customs and manners) and making a hole in the roof large enough to lower the man down to where Jesus was standing!
5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
This most likely means the faith of all five men: the sick man, who allowed himself to be brought to Jesus, and his four friends who took pains to get him there. The Lord honored their combined faith!
And Jesus didn’t stop there. He also told the “sick of the palsy” that his sins were forgiven.
Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).