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Healing and Forgiving a Paralytic

Now[a] after some days, when he returned to Capernaum,[b] the news spread[c] that he was at home. So many gathered that there was no longer any room, not even by[d] the door, and he preached the word to them. Some people[e] came bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.[f] When they were not able to bring him in because of the crowd, they removed the roof[g] above Jesus.[h] Then,[i] after tearing it out, they lowered the stretcher the paralytic was lying on. When Jesus saw their[j] faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”[k] Now some of the experts in the law[l] were sitting there, turning these things over in their minds:[m] “Why does this man speak this way? He is blaspheming![n] Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Now[o] immediately, when Jesus realized in his spirit that they were contemplating such thoughts,[p] he said to them, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?[q] Which is easier,[r] to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up, take your stretcher, and walk’? 10 But so that you may know[s] that the Son of Man[t] has authority on earth to forgive sins,”—he said to the paralytic[u] 11 “I tell you, stand up, take your stretcher, and go home.”[v] 12 And immediately the man[w] stood up, took his stretcher, and went out in front of them all. They were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

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  1. Mark 2:1 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
  2. Mark 2:1 sn Capernaum was a town located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, 680 ft (204 m) below sea level. It existed since Hasmonean times and was a major trade and economic center in the North Galilean region. The population in the first century is estimated to be around 1,500. Capernaum became the hub of operations for Jesus’ Galilean ministry (Matt 4:13; Mark 2:1). In modern times the site was discovered in 1838 by the American explorer E. Robinson, and major excavations began in 1905 by German archaeologists H. Kohl and C. Watzinger. Not until 1968, however, were remains from the time of Jesus visible; in that year V. Corbo and S. Loffreda began a series of annual archaeological campaigns that lasted until 1985. This work uncovered what is thought to be the house of Simon Peter as well as ruins of the first century synagogue beneath the later synagogue from the fourth or fifth century A.D. Today gently rolling hills and date palms frame the first century site, a favorite tourist destination of visitors to the Galilee.
  3. Mark 2:1 tn Grk “it was heard.”
  4. Mark 2:2 tn Some translations (e.g., NIV, NLT) take the preposition πρός (pros), which indicates proximity, to mean “outside the door.” Others render it as “in front of the door” (TEV, CEV), and still others, “around the door” (NAB). There is some ambiguity inherent in the description here.
  5. Mark 2:3 tn Grk “they”; the referent (some unnamed people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  6. Mark 2:3 tn The redundancy in this verse is characteristic of the author’s rougher style.
  7. Mark 2:4 sn A house in 1st century Palestine would have had a flat roof with stairs or a ladder going up. This access was often from the outside of the house.
  8. Mark 2:4 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  9. Mark 2:4 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  10. Mark 2:5 sn The plural pronoun their makes it clear that Jesus was responding to the faith of the entire group, not just the paralyzed man.
  11. Mark 2:5 sn The passive voice here is a divine passive (ExSyn 437). It is clear that God does the forgiving.
  12. Mark 2:6 tn Or “some of the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 1:22.
  13. Mark 2:6 tn Grk “Reasoning within their hearts.”
  14. Mark 2:7 sn Blaspheming in the NT has a somewhat broader meaning than mere utterances. It could mean to say something that dishonored God, but it could also involve claims to divine prerogatives (in this case, to forgive sins on God’s behalf). Such claims were viewed as usurping God’s majesty or honor. The remark here raised directly the issue of the nature of Jesus’ ministry, and even more importantly, the identity of Jesus himself as God’s representative.
  15. Mark 2:8 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the shift from the thoughts of the experts in the law to Jesus’ response.
  16. Mark 2:8 tn Grk “they were thus reasoning within themselves.”
  17. Mark 2:8 tn Grk “Why are you reasoning these things in your hearts?”
  18. Mark 2:9 sn Which is easier is a reflective kind of question. On the one hand to declare sins are forgiven is easier, since one does not need to see it, unlike telling a paralyzed person to walk. On the other hand, it is harder, because for it to be true one must possess the authority to forgive the sin.
  19. Mark 2:10 sn Now Jesus put the two actions together. The walking of the man would be proof (so that you may know) that his sins were forgiven and that God had worked through Jesus (i.e., the Son of Man).
  20. Mark 2:10 sn The term Son of Man, which is a title in Greek, comes from a pictorial description in Dan 7:13 of one “like a son of man” (i.e., a human being). It is Jesus’ favorite way to refer to himself. Jesus did not reveal the background of the term here, which mixes human and divine imagery as the man in Daniel rides a cloud, something only God does. He just used it. It also could be an idiom in Aramaic meaning either “some person” or “me.” So there is a little ambiguity in its use here, since its origin is not clear at this point. However, the action makes it clear that Jesus used it to refer to himself here.
  21. Mark 2:10 sn Jesus did not finish his sentence with words but with action, that is, healing the paralytic with an accompanying pronouncement to him directly.
  22. Mark 2:11 tn Grk “to your house.”
  23. Mark 2:12 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the man who was healed) has been specified in the translation for clarity.