Explore The Bible Study: Jesus Forgives

7:16 PM

Do you find it difficult to believe that Jesus forgives sins? The observers in Mark 2:1-12 found it difficult to believe. That's when Jesus "schooled" them on His identity. The Explore The Bible Study: Jesus Forgives, provides an opportunity for people to really examine what they truly believe about Jesus and why He is the only one who can truly forgive sins.

Consider beginning with some interesting facts that are hard to believe. The Supplemental Teaching Ideas provide the following to help begin the conversation:

Which of these statements are true or factual?
  • There is a man who can bounce down a flight of stairs on his head. – Fact. His name is Alexander Patty of Paris France. He is a circus acrobat who could bounce down and up flights of stairs on his head.
  • A chicken can live without a head. – Fact. According to Ripley’s Believe it or Not, a headless chicken from Colorado lived for 181 days without a head in 1945-46. His name was “mike the headless chicken”!
  • A year on mars is equivalent to 687 days on earth. – Fact.
  • Thom Thumb was a real man. – Fact. Growing to a height of 3’4”, General Thom Thumb, was the most famous midget of all time. He was an associate all his life with the great showman, PT Barnum. He amassed an immense fortune, which included a yacht, a stable of racehorses, and a mansion in Connecticut decorated with miniature antique furniture.
Final Statement: Jesus can forgive sins? (FACT!) How do we know this is fact? Do you think many people wrestle with believing this? Why or why not? How would you explain to someone why you believe that He can forgive sins?

Visual Option: Images on PDF are available to use as you describe Capernaum and the roof of the house.  CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

The following questions related to the passage are provided in the Supplemental Teaching Ideas:

Mark 2:1-2
  • What do you suppose the crowd was expecting that day? (The crowd may have been there that day mainly because they were looking for miraculous healings or were curious bystanders.)
  • In last week’s session, Jesus invited four men to follow Him. Here we see a crowd of people who were “following Jesus.” Yet, this crowd was different than the four. Their interest in coming to hear Jesus was varied.  
  • Consider why you “follow Jesus." What do you expect from Jesus when you gather with a group to study the Bible?
Mark 2:3-5
  • What do you suppose the crowd was thinking as they watched this unfold?
  • What do the actions of the four friends suggest regarding their expectations?
  • Why do you suppose the four men weren’t identified by name?
  • What was the first thing Jesus did for the man? (forgave him) 
  • Why didn’t Jesus heal him first and then forgive him?
  • Would you say that you are much more passionate about getting people to Jesus so they can possibly receive healing or forgiveness?  Had you been in the crowd and you saw these men trying to get through, how would you have responded?
  • What can we learn from what took place regarding what we should be doing to help others come to Jesus?
Mark 2:6-7
  • How was the posture of the scribes described? (They were sitting there)
  • What does this communicate regarding their willingness to listen to Jesus? What does it reveal about what was taking place in the life of the paralytic?
  • What does your spiritual posture reveal about your willingness to hear and respond to Jesus?
  • What does your spiritual posture reveal about your willingness to help others come to the foot of Jesus for forgiveness?
  • How did Jesus address the paralytic when He pronounced that He had forgiven his sins? (Son) 
  • Considering that this paralytic man has been dropped through the roof and now lies at the feet of Jesus with a crowd starring down at him, what do you think went through his mind when he heard Jesus address him as “son”?
  • What goes through your mind when you consider that Jesus calls you "son" when He pronounces forgiveness for you?
Mark 2:8-12
  • What would be easier to say to the paralytic, "Your sins are forgiven," or "Get up, take your mat, and walk?" (Jesus’ question set up a conundrum for the scribes. On one hand, it was equally easy to say either your sins are forgiven or get up … and walk. On the other hand, forgiveness could not be verified by anything external; healing obviously would be visible.)
  • Which is possible for man to grant – forgiveness or healing? (neither)
  • When all is said and done, granting spiritual forgiveness and granting physical healing are equally impossible for mere humans, but they are equally easy as the work of God. 
To those who didn’t know Jesus, to those who were curious about Jesus, to those who were critical of Jesus, He demonstrated that He was the One John the Baptist spoke about in the Gospel of John, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”  (John 1:29 CSB) Jesus is the Son of God; He is God! Therefore, He is the only one who has the right and authority to forgive sin completely.
  • Which is easier for you to believe, that Jesus can forgive sins or that He can heal the sick?
  • What do your prayers reveal about this belief? What do your actions reveal about this?
  • Do you celebrate when a person is healed or recovers from a physical sickness more than when someone receives Christ and is forgiven of their sins?
  • Are you more intense regarding bringing the physically sick before God than you are those who are paralyzed by sin?
Consider the following challenge by John MacArthur as part of the your closing:
“In this passage the Pharisees were musing in their minds, saying to themselves, "Who can forgive sins but God alone?"  And frankly, that was good theology.  They knew that.  They knew their Old Testament well enough to know that.  They were exactly right, no one, and that was the implication of their musing, "Nobody can forgive sins but God alone.  Why is this man Jesus saying to this paralyzed man your sins are forgiven?  Doesn't He know that only God can do that?" . . . With that question Jesus penetrates to the real issue here and seals the evidence of His deity . . . 
Every person is a sinner under the looming sword of God's judgment with no ability to love God, no ability to know God, no ability to please God, no ability to serve God, no ability to obey God.  The situation appears hopeless . . . Forgiveness is man's greatest need and therefore God's greatest gift.  And the gospel, the message of the church, is the message that God will forgive all your sins.” 
Grace to You, Only God Forgives Sin, Part 1, John MacArthur

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