Mark 1:40-2:22 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. When a man full of leprosy (according to Luke 5:12) asks Jesus to cleanse him, how does Jesus respond? See Mark 1:41 (printed below)

Being moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, I am willing; be made clean. (Mark 1:41)

Mark tells us that Jesus was moved with compassion for this poor man who no doubt had a repulsive appearance and odor due to the latter stages of his disease. In performing this miracle, Jesus did not merely speak a word; He stretched out His hand and touched the man.

2. Why do you think Jesus sternly charged the man to tell no one about his cleansing?

Jesus knew that if the man told everyone what had happened to him, Jesus would be overwhelmed by people coming to Him only for physical healing. The true purpose of His ministry would be ignored as people would focus only on the healing of their bodies to the neglect of the salvation of their souls.

3. What was Jesus doing when the four men lowered their friend through the roof into Jesus’ presence? See Mark 2:2 (printed below) What did they expect to receive from Jesus? What does Jesus say to the man? See Mark 2:5 (printed below)

So many gathered to that place that there was no longer any room, not even at the door; and he spoke the word to them. (Mark 2:2)

Upon seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, Son, your sins are forgiven. (Mark 2:5)

At the time the four men lowered their friend into Jesus’ presence Jesus was engaged in teaching, not healing. The men brought their friend to Jesus with the expectation that He would heal him of his paralysis. But Jesus takes this opportunity to address the man’s fundamental spiritual need, saying to him, “Your sins are forgiven.”

4. Why is it easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” than to say, “Get up and walk?”

It is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” because that statement deals with a spiritual relationship, rather than a physical condition, and consequently is not visibly verifiable. Anyone can utter the words, “Your sins are forgiven,” but who can verify whether or not forgiveness has actually occurred? Jesus proves He has the authority to forgive sins by healing the man’s physical malady.

5. Why do you think many tax collectors and sinners followed Jesus?

Whereas the self-righteous Pharisees shunned these people who lived openly immoral lives and were the outcasts of society, Jesus welcomed them (Luke 15:2). As Jesus testifies, He did not come for the righteous, but for sinners—He came to die for our sins so that He might offer us forgiveness and reconciliation to God.