Mark 2:1–17 Discussion Guide

  • Main Point of the Passage: The Jewish leaders objected to Jesus’ love for sinners.
  • Main Point of the Lesson: Jesus’ loves sinners and forgives those with faith.
  • Main Application of the Lesson: Participants will receive Jesus’ forgiveness and offer it to others.
  • Key Verse: “When Jesus heard this, he told them, ’It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” (Mark 2:17, CSB)

Discussion Questions

Smile Question: What is your hidden talent?

Share Question: Tell about a time somebody thought they were too good for you.

Introduce the Passage: Jesus’ coming is good news for sinners. In Mark 2:1–17, the Jewish leaders objected to Jesus’ love for sinners. First Jesus forgave the sins of a man who was paralyzed. Then he called Levi the tax collector to be his disciple. Tax collectors were considered traitors to their people and untrustworthy witnesses in court. The religious leaders failed to recognize the fact that they themselves were sinners in need of forgiveness.

Study Question: For each scene in this passage, let’s answer these two questions:

  1. Why did the scribes or Pharisees object?
    Possible answers include:
    • Mark 2:1-12 — By claiming to forgive sins, Jesus was making himself equal to God.
    • Mark 2:13-17 — Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners.
  2. How did Jesus reply?
    Possible answers include:
    • Mark 2:1-12 — Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat, and walk’? (Mark 2:9)
    • Mark 2:13-17 — It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners. (Mark 2:17)

Connect-the-Dots Question: In Mark 1:15, the Jesus’ message was “Repent and believe the good news!” Which people in this passage demonstrate repentance or belief?

Count-the-Cost Question: What are the alternatives to repentance and belief, and why would somebody choose them?

Let’s-Do-It Question: In what situation might you be tempted to act like the Pharisees and scribes in this passage?

Prayer: Father, thank you that you welcome sinners. Help us to recognize our own need for forgiveness and to extend that forgiveness to others. Amen.

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