Jesus Calls Sinners

Key Verse: “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
—Mark 2:17

Selected Scripture:
Mark 2:1 – 3:6

TODAY’S LESSON DEALS with a miracle of our Lord, the healing of a palsied man. Jesus had come to Capernaum. Wherever our Lord went great crowds of people followed, hoping that their loved ones, sick with various diseases, might be healed. Earlier our Lord had healed a man stricken with leprosy.—Mark 1:40-42

Our Lord had entered into a house of the city to preach. The crowds of people were so great many were not able to get into the house; they stood outside and in the doorway. The friends of a palsied man brought him to see Jesus. When they could not get to Jesus they climbed to the roof and tearing part of it away they let the bed down on which the man lay. (Mark 2:4) Jesus recognized the faith of those who would go to such lengths to have their loved one healed, and he said, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”—vs. 5

Immediately, hearing Jesus’ words, the scribes indignantly reasoned in their hearts, “Who can forgive sins but God only?” (vs. 7) Jesus knew their thoughts and heart condition and replied, “Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?”—vss. 8,9

Jesus could read the hearts of the scribes and knew that the only way to demonstrate his power and authority would be to heal the man with palsy. He said to him, “Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.” (vs. 11) Immediately he arose and went forth, and all were amazed and glorified God.

In Hebrews 11:1 we find that faith is “The substance [understanding] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This was the case of the man with palsy. He felt sure that Jesus could heal him, and his friends were also sure. The apostle reminds us that “without faith it is impossible to please him [God], for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”—Heb. 11:6

Later, our Lord sat at dinner with his disciples, and many publicans and sinners. The scribes and Pharisees saw this and again were indignant. Turning to Jesus’ disciples they said, “How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?” (Mark 2:16) How self-righteous these were!

Hearing this, Jesus said, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”—Mark 2:17

All are sinners from their birth (Ps. 51:5), all are in need of the only physician that can truly heal the sick and dying race. This physician is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

In the Matthew account of the healing of the man with palsy, Jesus added this statement to his words about the physician, “Go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”—Matt. 9:13

There is no gift greater than that of mercy. Let us learn well the lessons found in the healing of the man with palsy and of those who ate with sinners.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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