This study from Mark 2:1-10 is so rich in Biblical truth and practical lessons. Four friends demonstrated great faith to bring their paralytic friend to Jesus. In doing so, Jesus did far more for their friend than they could have ever imagined.
In this study we will learn:
- The importance of good friends.
- God sees all thoughts.
- Jesus has the authority to heal and forgive.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Mark 2:1-10.
MEMORY VERSE: Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:5
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BIBLE STUDY NOTES FOR TEENS
BACKGROUND TO THE STORY
In our passage, we meet five good and faithful friends. We read that one of them was disabled (a paralytic). The other four friends cared deeply for their disabled friend. They carried him wherever he needed to go and helped him with things he couldn’t do.
This continued until they got the news that Jesus had come to Capernaum. The four friends had heard about Jesus and all the miracles He performed in nearby towns. They were determined to do all it took to bring their friend to Jesus for healing.
However, when they arrived at the house where Jesus was staying in the town, it was overflowing with people. The whole town came to the house to see Jesus, and there was no room to squeeze inside.
Archaeologists who have discovered homes in Capernaum say the largest houses would have only had one or two rooms and fit approximately fifty people standing close together. Just imagine a whole town trying to gather in this simple house.
Faced with discouragement, they did the “impossible” to see Jesus instead of giving up. They found a way past the obstacles to bring their friend to the Saviour.
Jesus noticed their display of faith and determination, and much more than healing, He forgave the paralytic man’s sins and gave him a new beginning.
KEY POINTS FROM THE PASSAGE
- THE VALUE OF GOOD FRIENDS (Mark 2:3-4)
We may refer to many people as ‘friends’, but a good friend is someone who sticks with you not only when things are going great but also when things are difficult. The account of this paralytic man shows us the importance of keeping and being good friends. Due to the unrelenting efforts of the paralytic man’s friends, Jesus was able to heal him that day. Just imagine how different his life would have been if he didn’t have friends like that!
A good friend will not abandon you in times of trouble. A good friend leads you to Jesus just like the paralytic man’s friends led him to Jesus. A good friend is always there for you. When choosing your friends, you must make sure they are people who bring you closer to God. (See Psalm 133:1, Proverbs 17:17 & Romans 12:10).
The Bible teaches that Jesus is the ultimate example of friendship. How amazing it is that we can call Jesus a “Friend”. Maybe you’ve sung the classic hymn, “What a friend we have in Jesus”. He is a friend who is there, a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24) and demonstrates His love in the most extraordinary way (John 15:12-17). Our friendship with others should overflow from our friendship with Jesus.
- DON’T GIVE UP (Mark 2:4)
When the four friends saw that the house was overflowing and there was no way to get in to see Jesus, they must have been discouraged and tempted to go back to their homes. They tried their ‘best’. They went out of their way to bring their friend to Jesus. No one would have spoken badly about them if they’d just given up.
Instead of allowing the limitation they saw to discourage them, they let it motivate them. They thought hard about what to do till an idea came to let down their friend through the roof into the house. It seemed like a strange idea, but their determination was greater than the challenge.
How do you react to things that discourage you? When you feel like giving up, remember the four friends of the paralytic man. If they quit that day, all their efforts to bring their friend to where Jesus was would have made no difference. Don’t give up if you face problems at home, school, or anywhere! Bring the issue to Jesus, keep praying and trusting God. Ask Him to show you a way through and open a door according to His will. If He could part the Red Sea for the Israelites, there is certainly no obstacle in our lives too big for Him.
- JESUS HAS THE POWER TO HEAL AND FORGIVE SIN (Mark 2:10)
When Jesus healed the paralytic man, it was clear to all. The man who couldn’t stand – stood up. Jesus used something everyone could see to prove something they couldn’t see. Jesus said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Jesus did not just heal him; He forgave his sins too. This miracle started an ongoing conflict between Jesus and the religious authorities. The teachers of the law knew that only God could forgive sins. They thought that Jesus was committing blasphemy (claiming to be God or to have the power of God).
Jesus was not simply ‘claiming’ to be God – He was demonstrating He was God in the flesh. He had the power and authority not only to heal the sick but to forgive sin. He could do what only God could do.
What great comfort that brings. No matter how bad someone has been. No matter what someone may have done, Jesus has the power to heal, forgive and restore.
- JESUS KNOWS WHAT’S IN OUR HEARTS (Mark 2:6-8)
As mentioned, Jesus’ words caused fury in some scribes sitting there. Though their inward thoughts were silent, immediately Jesus perceived them and called them to account.
As humans, we can’t tell what the other person is thinking; however, God knows every thought and the heart of every person. Whatever you feel, God can see it all even when you don’t say a word. Read Psalm 139.
The Pharisees thought that Jesus would not know what they were thinking in their hearts. They were wrong! Jesus knew all they thought, and He responded to them.
We can learn two lessons from this:
Firstly, we can’t trick God with our words or actions. He knows our hearts and motives.
Secondly, when you feel pained, hurt, sad or depressed, don’t think you are alone. God sees all your thoughts and pains. You can be honest with Him. Share your thoughts and sorrows with God because He knows and cares. You have nothing to hide from Him!
In conclusion, review the main points considered in the lesson and pray.
- Good friends bring others to Jesus.
- We must never give up no matter what we face.
- God knows all our thoughts.
- Jesus forgives sin.
YOUTH GAMES AND ACTIVITIES FOR JESUS HEALS AND FORGIVES
- Sardines is played like hide and seek in reverse! Choose one person to hide. After 30 seconds, everyone else searches for that person.
- Whenever someone finds the hidden person, they quietly join them in their hiding spot. Soon, the hidden group will start to get in a squeeze with not much space to hide.
- Reflect on what it must have felt like in the house in Capernaum.
BEAR TOWEL RACE
- Split players into pairs or fours. Give each group a towel and place a soft toy on the towel. Their task is to carry the bear safely to the destinations.
- Set up a small obstacle course for the players to complete. Some examples could be to go under some tables, around chairs, across a plank and so on.
- If the team drop the bear, they face a 10 second time delay. The team to complete the course the fastest wins.
LOWER IT DOWN
- Give each child or team some string and some paper. The goal is to create something that can be used to lower down an egg from a table onto the floor without it breaking.
- If an egg is too messy, replace with a small toy figure.
BRING A FRIEND
- The four friends were faithful and committed to bringing their friend to Jesus.
- Plan a ‘bring a friend’ event for your church.
- Share the ideas with your leaders and pastors and plan a date to make it happen. Some ideas could be a BBQ, a sports day or hike.