Genesis 1:31-2:11NIV New International Version Translations
1:31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
This world was, in the beginning of time, created by a Being of infinite wisdom and power, who was himself before all time, and all worlds. And it is here in Genesis that gives us a surer and better, a more satisfying and useful knowledge of the origin of the universe, than all the volumes of the philosophers ever written.
We do not know who wrote the Book of Genesis when it was written. There is a tradition that Moses was the author. Even the oldest books in the Bible refer to it (for example, Exodus 3:15; Job 28:25-29). It’s author was not merely collecting ancient stories or recording ancient history. In fact, Genesis is a very careful account, which teaches the main principles in the Bible. The author describes the nature of God. The author explains God’s plan for a perfect world. The author describes sin and sacrifice. He speaks about God’s promise to forgive. And, he speaks about God’s promise to send Jesus. The Bible teaches that the author was not merely setting out his own ideas. Instead, the author was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Verse 1:31 It was really ‘very good’. God is perfect. And everything that God made was perfect. It was exactly as He had planned.
Verse 2:1 God completed His creation. However, He is still working. He has not stopped. But it is different work. He now looks after all that He created.
Items for Discussion
- When mankind reflects back upon his work, what does he see?
- Why is it good to periodically reflect back to see our work?
- God is not through with the Universe – In what visible ways is He still working?
- Why do you think that God did not just create the perfect Universe – Something that never changes, is steadfast, fixed and perfect?
- Why are we, as people of God, better off in a world that He is still working on?
1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
In these verses, we find Christ’s healing a man that was sick of a palsy, an illness that affects the movement of all or parts of a body’s muscles. Mark, the author, wanted to show that Jesus was the “Son of God.” So he emphasised how the crowds and the disciples were very often astonished at Jesus’ actions. Jesus made the storm on the lake become calm (4:41). Then the disciples asked, ‘Who is this?’ They had a feeling of fear. And they greatly respected Jesus. Evil spirits recognized who Jesus was. Mark also records that (3:11; 5:7). At the same time, Mark shows that Jesus was really human. He was ‘the carpenter’ (6:3). He became tired and he became asleep (4:38). He had human feelings. He felt sad (6:34), and he was angry at wrong ideas and actions (3:5; 11:15-17).
There are details that are only in Mark’s Gospel. They give us the idea that someone had been an eye-witness. In the account of the storm on the lake, “there were other boats with him.” Jesus was “in the back of the boat with his head on a cushion” (4:35, 38). The groups of people were sitting on the “green’ grass” (6:39). On the road to Jerusalem, Jesus was walking “ahead of them” (10:32). Jesus “took the children into his arms” (10:16). The blind man “threw off his coat” (10:50).
Verse 1 The words “at home” show that it was probably Peter’s own house.
Verse 4 The roof was flat. People made it out of sticks. And they covered it with earth that the sun had baked hard. There were stone steps outside to reach the roof.
Verse 5 Jesus knew the faith of the four men. They had shown faith when they carried the man to Jesus. They did not give up when they could not get through the door. Some people do become ill when they have done wrong things. Their guilty conscience affects their body. But a person may suffer because of no fault of his own. However, many people believe that all disease is a punishment from God for sin. Jesus did not believe this (John 9:2-3; Luke 13:1-5). The man who could not walk may have agreed with the wrong idea. For whatever reason, he felt guilty. He needed to know that God had forgiven him. Only then, would he be able to recover.
Verses 6-7 The Scribes may have come to examine what Jesus was teaching. They were accusing Jesus of insulting God. They were right to think that only God can forgive sins. But they were wrong about Jesus. He had God’s authority.
Verses 8-9 It would be easy to say, “You are free from your sins.” But it would be more difficult to prove. If the man could walk again, that would prove the truth of Jesus’ words.
Verses 10-11 Jesus used the title “Son of Man” for himself many times. It can mean ‘a man’. It would emphasize that Jesus was really human. It was also the title of a powerful person. That person would come in order to establish a kingdom. And that kingdom would never end (Daniel 7:13-14). The name might almost mean “Messiah.” Jesus used the title to describe himself, but he did not say ‘Messiah’. He showed his authority in the words “I tell you,” and by brief commands, ‘Stand up. Take your mat. Go home.’
Verse 12 More than once, Mark describes how Jesus’ words and actions astonished people (1:22, 27).
Items for Discussion
- What was it that caused Jesus to respond to the man in this story?
- Describe why you would call those who were involved with the man in need, faithful?
- Why would you call the sick man faithful?
- Why was it so important to demonstrate a miracle in this story?
- Do we still, today, assign sickness to sinfulness? Are there examples in our society?
- What have you learned about faithfulness through this story?
- How do we as a society, help ourselves, our families, our neighbors grow in their faith?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations