“Unit 7, Day 4: Mark 2–3,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 7, Day 4,” New Testament Study Guide
Jesus forgave and healed a paralytic man, and He called Matthew to follow Him. He taught the scribes and Pharisees about the Sabbath day. The Savior continued to heal many people, He sent forth His Apostles to preach, and He warned against speaking blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.
Imagine that someone you love was suffering from a life-threatening physical challenge that required specialized treatment. Whom would you seek to help your loved one? Why? What would you be willing to do if there was only one doctor who could help, but it was difficult to schedule an appointment with this doctor?
As recorded in Mark 2:1–4, in the village of Capernaum in Galilee, there was a man “sick of the palsy” (Mark 2:3), which means he was paralyzed. Four other men carried him to the house where Jesus was, but the house was so crowded they could not enter it. The four men took off part of the roof of the house and lowered the paralytic man into the Savior’s presence.
Read Mark 2:5, looking for what Jesus said to the man with palsy.
Read Mark 2:6–12, looking for what happened next.
The following is one truth we can identify from this account: Jesus Christ has the power to heal us spiritually and physically.
When the scribes saw the man with palsy rise from his bed and walk, they were given undeniable evidence that Jesus Christ had great power to heal the sick, and they heard Him testify that He could forgive sins. However, in this account it is not known if these men approached Jesus later and sought forgiveness for their own sins.
- In your scripture study journal, write a list of reasons why individuals might not seek the Lord’s forgiveness for their sins. Ask a family member or friend for help with the list.
As you continue to study Mark 2, look for truths that can encourage you to seek the Lord’s forgiveness.
Read Mark 2:13–15, looking for what the Savior did after healing the paralyzed man.
Levi later became known as Matthew. He is the same Matthew who wrote the Gospel of Matthew. The phrase “sitting at the receipt of custom” (Mark 2:14) means Matthew was a publican, “a tax collector for the Romans at Capernaum, [and] was probably in the service of Herod Antipas” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Matthew,” scriptures.lds.org). Many Jews hated publicans because they viewed publicans as traitors who collected money from their own people for the Romans.
Notice that many publicans and sinners also attended Matthew’s feast with Jesus and His disciples. During this time, sharing a meal meant much more than simply eating together. It indicated that a bond of friendship and peace existed among those who attended.
Read Mark 2:16, looking for how the scribes and Pharisees reacted when they saw the Savior eating with these people.
Why do you think the scribes and Pharisees criticized Jesus for eating with publicans and sinners?
Read Mark 2:17, looking for the Savior’s response to the scribes and Pharisees’ criticism. Consider circling the word the Savior used to describe Himself.
By using the word physician, the Savior reaffirmed His power to heal both spiritually and physically. From verse 17 we learn that the Savior desires to help us repent of our sins and be healed.
Ponder why it is important to believe that Jesus desires to help us repent and be healed.
Elder Craig A. Cardon of the Seventy said:
“The Lord loves us and wants us to understand His willingness to forgive. …
“… In His mercy, He allows for improvement over time rather than demanding immediate perfection. Even with the multitude of sins occasioned by the weakness of mortality, as often as we repent and seek His forgiveness, He forgives again and again [see Moroni 6:8].
“Because of this, all of us, including those struggling to overcome addictive behaviors such as substance abuse or pornography and those close to them, can know that the Lord will recognize our righteous efforts and will lovingly forgive when repentance is complete. … But this does not mean one may willingly return to sin with impunity [freedom from consequences]” (“The Savior Wants to Forgive,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 16).
Ponder whether you are like the publicans and sinners (who acknowledged their need for the Savior and came unto Him) or like the scribes and Pharisees (who did not come unto the Savior to seek His forgiveness and healing power). Decide today to come to the Savior and allow Him to help you with your physical and spiritual needs.
Have you ever chosen not to participate in an activity in order to obey the commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy? As you continue to study Mark 2–3, ponder the following question: How do you know whether an activity is appropriate to do on the Sabbath?
Remember that Jewish teachers added their own rules and interpretations, called the oral law or tradition, to the law of Moses. These added rules were intended to prevent violation of God’s law, but they prevented some people from understanding the true purpose of certain commandments, including the command to keep the Sabbath day holy.
Read Mark 2:27–28, and then notice how the Joseph Smith Translation clarifies why the Lord gave us the Sabbath:
“Wherefore the Sabbath was given unto man for a day of rest; and also that man should glorify God, and not that man should not eat;
“For the Son of man made the Sabbath day, therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Joseph Smith Translation, Mark 2:26–27 [in the Bible appendix]).
Read Mark 3:3–5, looking for what the Savior taught about healing the man’s withered hand on the Sabbath.
Based on what we learn from the Joseph Smith Translation and Mark 3:3–5, complete the following truth: We can keep the Sabbath day holy by .
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
In what ways can we glorify God on His holy day?
What are some examples of doing good works on the Sabbath?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 59:9–13. Then read the following statement by President James E. Faust of the First Presidency, and consider how you can determine what is appropriate to do on the Sabbath:
“Where is the line as to what is acceptable and unacceptable on the Sabbath? Within the guidelines, each of us must answer this question for ourselves. While these guidelines are contained in the scriptures and in the words of the modern prophets, they must also be written in our hearts and governed by our conscience. … It is quite unlikely that there will be any serious violation of Sabbath worship if we come humbly before the Lord and offer him all our heart, our soul, and our mind. (See Matt. 22:37.)
“What is worthy or unworthy on the Sabbath day will have to be judged by each of us by trying to be honest with the Lord. On the Sabbath day we should do what we have to do and what we ought to do in an attitude of worshipfulness and then limit our other activities” (“The Lord’s Day,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 35).
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How have you felt blessed as you have tried to worship God and do good works on the Sabbath?
What is one way you will better keep the Sabbath day holy?
As recorded in Mark 3:7–35, Jesus went to the Sea of Galilee and healed many people who followed Him there, including some who had unclean spirits. After selecting the Twelve Apostles, Jesus ordained them and sent them forth to preach, heal, and cast out devils. He then warned the scribes about speaking blasphemy against the Holy Ghost and taught that His family are the people who do Heavenly Father’s will. You learned about some of these events when you studied Matthew 12:22–35.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Mark 2–3 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: