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Helpless not hopeless

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Hope in a helpless situation


1. Prayer                                                 3.  Sermon Title

2. Greeting                                              4.  Close


Before we get started today, I feel as though I should reveal something very personal about myself.  I love to watch old school television shows.  I’m not talking about shows like Cosby show or Different Strokes.  I’m talking about real classic television.  The reason I like them so much was because they always had a positive message in them.  I liked shows like Gun smoke, “The Lone Ranger”, and my favorite must have been “Batman and Robin”.  Batman had real drama and “real heroes”.  At some point in the show, you’d find Robin overcome by the forces of evil and facing what would seem to be insurmountable circumstances.  The Joker would have Robin tied to a chair in a room filling up with water.  Just as the water level reached Robin’s nostrils, Batman would break in to free Robin just in time.  Week after week our caped crusaders would find themselves in a helpless situation.  With all this, I never saw either of them cowering in fear.  It’s as if they knew something that the rest of us didn’t.  I tell you there’s something that we can learn from watching shows like this.  How can they have so much “Hope in those helpless situations?”

Mark 2:1-12 (NKJV)
1 And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house.
2 Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them.
3 Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men.
4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.
5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”
6 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts,
7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8 But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?
9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’?
10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic,
11 “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
12 Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”


I.     The First Two Criticisms (2:1–17): What the Pharisees think Jesus should not be doing.

A.     Jesus and a man on a bed (2:1–12)

a.     The helplessness of the paralytic (2:1–4): He is totally immobile, confined to a stretcher.

(1)     The intervening by his friends (2:1–3): Get your friends and family to Jesus.

(2)     The ingenuity of his friends (2:4) : Unable to get in the front door because of the crowd, they cut a hole in the roof and lower him into the room!

b.     The healing of the paralytic (2:5, 11–12)

(1)     His spiritual healing (2:5) : Jesus says, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”

(2)     His physical healing (2:11–12): Jesus says, “Stand up, take your mat, and go on home, because you are healed!”

2.     Some hostile foes (2:6–10)

a.     The denunciation by the scribes (2:6–7): They accuse him of blasphemy for forgiving sin.

b.     The defense by the Savior (2:8–10): He says his authority to forgive sin is seen by his power to heal!


2:1 He was in the house. This is better translated, “He was at home.” This was likely Peter’s home, where Jesus had taken up temporary residence (cf. Matt. 4:13).

2:2 the word. The good news of the gospel, that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, for the forgiveness of sins.

2:3 a paralytic. Since he was lying on a bed, the man’s paralysis was severe—perhaps he was a quadriplegic. (KJV renders the word Palsy)

Palsy:   inability to move: muscular inability to move part or all of the body Helpless

Sin application:  Sin causes an inability to function or move as we should Helpless

2:4 they uncovered the roof. Most homes in Palestine had flat roofs used for relaxation in the cool of the day and for sleeping on hot nights. And there was usually an external stairway that extended to the roof. Often, as here, the roof was made of slabs of burnt or dried clay that were placed on supporting beams which stretched from wall to wall. The builder then spread a uniform coat of fresh, wet clay over those slabs of hardened clay to serve as a seal against the rain. The paralytic’s friends took him up to the top of such a house and dug out the top coat of clay, removing several of the slabs until they made enough room to lower him down into Jesus’ presence. the paralytic. See note on v. 3.

2:5 When Jesus saw their faith. The aggressive, persistent effort of the paralytic’s friends was visible evidence of their faith in Christ to heal. “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” Many Jews in that day believed that all disease and affliction was a direct result of one’s sins. This paralytic may have believed that as well; thus he would have welcomed forgiveness of his sins before healing. The Gr. verb for “are forgiven” refers to sending or driving away (cf. Ps. 103:12; Jer. 31:34; Mic. 7:19). Thus Jesus dismissed the man’s sin and freed him from the guilt of it (see note on Matt. 9:2).

2:6 the scribes. See note on Matt. 2:4; cf. 1:22.

2:7 this Man … blasphemies. The scribes were correct in saying that only God can forgive sins (cf. Is. 43:25), but incorrect in saying Jesus blasphemed. They refused to recognize Jesus’ power as coming from God, much less that He Himself was God.

2:8 in His spirit. This can also be translated, “by His spirit.” This is not the Holy Spirit, but the omniscient mind of the Savior.

2:9 Which is easier. It is much easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven you.” No human can prove that such a thing actually occurred since it is invisible. Commanding a paralytic to walk would be more difficult to say convincingly, however, because the actions of the paralytic would immediately verify the effect of the command (see note on Matt. 9:5).

2:10 But that you may know. Jesus’ power to heal the paralytic’s physical infirmities proved the veracity of His claim and power to forgive sins. Son of Man. Jesus used this term for Himself to emphasize His humiliation


Why did they have “hope”

Point #1 vs. 1-4

Serious about the ministry of the Master

  • They were diligent in coming to Christ
  • Bold about their belief
  • Persistent in their plea

Point #2 vs. 5

Faith that Christ’s wouldn’t fail

Spiritual Healing

  • Jesus ministered to his eternal need first.
  • Observers <Religious folk> accused Christ of blasphemy
  • More interested in temporal than eternal

Physical Healing (for the “Glory of God”)

  • Jesus met his physical need for healing to illustrate His diety
  • Jesus met his physical need for healing for the Glory of God

Point #3 vs. 11-12

Released to Rejoice

·        Once released from the helpless situation, remember to rejoice


[1] The New King James Version. 1996, c1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2]Willmington, H. L. (1999). The Outline Bible (Mk 2:8-10). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.

[3]MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Mk 2:1). Nashville: Word Pub.

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