Mark 2:1-17: Jesus is the Only One with Almighty Authority to Forgive Sins

We all are in need of healing in one form or another. In these next passages in the Gospel of Mark, we learn that Jesus can not only heal the sick, but heal the sin-sick soul. Let’s dig in…

Mark 2:1-17 – Forgiveness and Healing

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”

A paralyzed man can now walk and his sins are also forgiven! Image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)
A paralyzed man can now walk and his sins are also forgiven! Image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Jesus Calls Levi (Matthew)

Jesus calls Levi (Matthew) the tax collector. Image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Jesus calls Levi (Matthew) the tax collector. Image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

13 Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him.

15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) 16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”

17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Mark 2:1-17 NLT

Power Points

  • They were back in Capernaum and probably in Peter’s house — the NKJV says that Jesus was “in the house”. Imagine 50 people in a small house. There were people outside, also, trying to listen to Jesus’ teachings.
  • The last time Jesus was in Capernaum, He left early, after praying, so, for the paralyzed man’s friends, there was a sense of urgency. They didn’t want to miss Jesus again. Hence, they did what they could to get their friend to Jesus for healing.
  • The man sought healing, not forgiveness. Jesus forgiving the man shocked the crowd, the man’s friends and the teachers of religious law.
  • Many people had seen or heard of Jesus’ healing.
  • Jesus refers to Himself as “Son of Man”. Those of you who have been with me through the Old Testament, will remember that God called Ezekiel, “Son of Man”. Jesus’ use of that term, would have reminded the Jews of the Old Testament prophet. However, He used it, rather than “Messiah”, or “Emmanuel” (God with Us), or “Son of God”, to signify that He was human.
  • He had AUTHORITY. That’s having power and the right to exercise it. Jesus had the authority to preach the Good News, to heal, to cast out demons, and to forgive.
  • Jesus doesn’t just heal the paralytic’s body, but also his soul from the disease of sin.
  • The people were amazed and praised God. When was the last time you praised God for something good that happened?

A Sinning Tax Collector Becomes a Disciple

Jesus dines at (Levi's / Matthew's) house with tax collectors and sinners. Image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Jesus dines at (Levi’s / Matthew’s) house with tax collectors and sinners. Image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Taxes. We all hate them, but we’ve got to pay them. In first-century Israel, the Jews had their religious government and there were the oppressive, ruling Romans. They collected taxes regularly. Tax collectors bid to have the privilege of collecting taxes. These were Jews, collecting taxes from Jews on behalf of the Romans. Right there, they were considered lowlifes. To pay for that bid, the tax collectors then overcharged the people. And the people knew it. You’ll see that throughout the Gospels, tax collectors are lumped together with sinners.

Key Points

  • Levi was from the tribe of Levi. These were priests and temple attendants. They were supposed to be holy people.
  • Levi will later be called Matthew.
  • He probably had already heard Jesus’ teachings or heard of Him.
  • Note, too, that Levi doesn’t ask any questions. He left his booth and followed Jesus without a second thought. More than likely, his leaving his job angered the Romans. Check out the video clip from the video series, The Chosen at the bottom. I believe one of the problems many people have is that they overthink it. The Salvation of Jesus is really rather simple!
  • Later, at supper with Levi and some of his friends, Jesus is accused of keeping company with “tax collectors and sinners”. In other words — lowlifes. What Jesus says next is the key to this passage…

“Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Mark 2:17 NLT

Do YOU think you’re righteous? Do you think that by going along with man-made religious rites, rituals, rules and regulations makes you right with God? You are SO wrong! You’ve been deceived. Everyone of us is a sinner. The moment you realize that, will be the moment that you realized that you NEED the Salvation and Spiritual Healing that can only be found THROUGH JESUS.

Related: Is Pride Holding You Back?

Who do you follow? A church? A preacher? An idea? Today’s culture? Or are you married to your job — a career path that you hope will lead you to success? Friend, what you are seeking cannot be found out in the world. It can only be found THROUGH JESUS.

Jesus didn’t suffer torture and die so we could have religion! He died so He could have a personal Relationship with YOU!

Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart -- let Him in!
Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart — let Him in!

What are you waiting for? It’s time to get right with God!

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Images by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Jesus Calls Matthew (Levi)


Graves into Gardens



Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

1 thought on “Mark 2:1-17: Jesus is the Only One with Almighty Authority to Forgive Sins”

  1. Pingback: Mark 2:18-28: The Pharisees had a Meltdown when Jesus Turned their World Upside Down – Seek the Truth

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