Mark 2

First Oppositions[a]

Chapter 2

Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man. 1 When Jesus returned some days later to Capernaum, the word quickly spread that he was at home. 2 Such large multitudes gathered there that no longer was any space available, even in front of the door, and he was preaching the word to them.

3 Some people arrived, bringing to him a man who was paralyzed, carried by four men. 4 Since they were unable to bring him near Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above him and then lowered the bed on which the paralyzed man was lying.

5 On perceiving their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some scribes[b] were sitting there, thinking to themselves: 7 “How can this man say such things? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

8 Jesus was able immediately to discern in his spirit what they were thinking, and he asked, “Why do you entertain such thoughts in your hearts? 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say: ‘Stand up, take your mat, and walk’? 10 But that you may come to realize that the Son of Man[c] has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralyzed man— 11 “I say to you, stand up, take your bed, and go to your home.” 12 The man stood up, immediately picked up his bed, and went off in full view of all of them. The onlookers were all astonished and they glorified God, saying, “We have never before witnessed anything like this.”

13 Jesus Calls Levi (Matthew). Once again Jesus went out to the shore of the lake,[d] and as a large crowd came to him, he taught them. 14 As he was walking along, he saw Levi[e] the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. Jesus said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him.

15 Jesus Eats with Sinners. When he was sitting at dinner in his[f] house, many tax collectors and sinners were seated with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed Jesus. 16 Some scribes who were Pharisees noticed that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors, and they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 When Jesus overheard this remark, he said, “It is not the healthy who need a physician, but rather those who are sick. I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

18 A Time of Joy and Grace.[g] John’s disciples and the Pharisees were observing a fast. Some people came to Jesus and asked, “Why do John’s disciples and those of the Pharisees fast but your disciples do not do so?” 19 Jesus answered, “How can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is still with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then on that day they will fast.[h]

21 “No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear results. 22 Nor does anyone pour new wine[i] into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and then the wine and the skins are both lost. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

23 Picking Grain on the Sabbath.[j] One day, as Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the Sabbath, his disciples began to pick some heads of grain as they walked along. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Behold, why are your disciples doing what is forbidden on the Sabbath?”

25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? 26 He entered the house of God when Abiathar[k] was high priest and ate the sacred bread that only the priests were permitted to eat, and he shared it with his companions.” 27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.[l] 28 That is why the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”


  1. Mark 2:1 In the five controversy stories that are combined here, the plot to put Jesus to death, which is the key to Mark’s Gospel, is already made clear.
  2. Mark 2:6 Scribes: men trained in the oral traditions that flowed from the written Law. In this Gospel, they are adversaries of Jesus except in one incident (Mk 12:28-34).
  3. Mark 2:10 Son of Man: see note on Mt 8:20.
  4. Mark 2:13 Lake: Tiberias.
  5. Mark 2:14 Levi: another name of Matthew (Jews often had two names). The taxes in question were collected on goods that entered or left the city. The system was established by the Romans, but the collection of taxes and duties was handed over to private organizations whose employees were not infrequently corrupt. See also note on Mt 5:46.
  6. Mark 2:15 His: i.e., Levi’s (see Lk 5:29). Sinners: those who were ostentatiously wicked and those who did not follow the Law as interpreted by the scribes. The term was customarily applied to collaborators, robbers, adulterers, and the like.
  7. Mark 2:18 See notes on Mt 9:14-17 and Lk 5:33-39.
  8. Mark 2:20 The Jews were obliged to fast only on the Day of Atonement. However, devout persons fasted two times a week (on Monday and Thursday). Jesus does not disapprove of such acts. He merely points out that his coming has inaugurated the time of joy foretold by the Prophets, in which it was legitimate for his disciples to benefit from the presence of the Bridegroom, i.e., the Messiah. He then alludes to his violent death after which his disciples would fast while awaiting the glorious and definitive coming of the heavenly Bridegroom.
  9. Mark 2:22 New wine: the Gospel; the old wine is the practices of Judaism.
  10. Mark 2:23 See notes on Mt 12:2; 12:3-4; 12:5-6; and 12:8.
  11. Mark 2:26 Abiathar: high priest in the time of David. In 1 Sam 21:2-3 his father, Ahimelech, is named.
  12. Mark 2:27 Mark alone has preserved this saying of Jesus.

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