Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode TWO of the Bible 2021 podcast! Today we are focused on the most important thing a person could ever need!

Welcome to new listeners from Soviet Russia, Wellington, New Zealand, Uttar Pradesh, India, Oran, Algieria, Westphalia, Germany, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Lagos, Nigeria, Pensacola, Florida and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Thank you for joining us for Bible 2021! We are a daily podcast, where we will dig into ten minutes of truth from the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day, usually in the New Testament, but we’ll have an Old Testament day each week and a Psalms day each week. Every day we will discuss the chapter we’ve read, point out some important truths and hear some great wisdom from spiritual giants from the past and the present. Ten minutes isn’t much time, but it lets us go beyond a shallow reading of the Word and it’s a perfect way to start – or end – your day by focusing on the Word of God. Every month we will also memorize ONE verse from that month’s readings, so stay tuned for that at the very end of each show.

Everything is still under construction here, but our website, Bible2021.com is mostly up and running. You will get show notes/transcript for every episode this year, and a CONTACT PAGE…so – jump on over, and hit that contact form and say hello -I love it when I hear from you all! I do note that the page is still very much a work in progress, and, I am not a WordPress/graphics expert, so don’t expect it to be a thing of beauty. In the next couple of days, we will have a downloadable pdf of our reading plan for the year, and we might even have an app eventually, so stay tuned for that. One bit of reader feedback from episode #1

Interesting observation by Mrs. Bible2021. The early church fathers … that is, the disciples of the disciples … tell us why that is. Polycarp (a disciple of John) tells us that Mark’s gospel is correct and accurate, but not “orderly,” that is, not chronological. Matthew, we are told, wrote his gospel partially to clarify the order of events laid out in Mark, and of course to include other material that Mark did not know. The reason that Mark’s gospel was not “orderly” is that Mark is reciting stories he heard from his teacher, Peter. Peter’s teaching seemed to involve many brief narratives, often outside of any larger framework within Jesus’ life. He used short incidents to highlight important points that he intended to expound. On the other hand, many events in Jesus’ life had the context built in, so when Peter spoke about the trial, the crucifixion, or the resurrection, for example, it was easy for Mark to know where these fit within the narrative as a whole.

That is from our friend WhereWhatHuh, an author and Bible scholar in his own right. If YOU want to send us a comment or question, just hop onto our website and do it!

Let’s go ahead and read our passage in Mark 2, and listen carefully for our focus verse, which is Mark 2:7.

Our focus verse for today is a bit strange, because it is not a message said by Jesus, or His disciples, or anybody good, but rather the enemies of Jesus. In Mark 2:7, the Scribes say:  “Why does he speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” These scribes, or scholars of the Old Testament Word of God, should have been allies of Jesus, but they, along with many of the Pharisees and leaders of the Jewish people, opposed Jesus severely. They knew certain facts about God and His Word, and they were very well learned, but they did not know the heart of God at all. Jesus challenged these scholars very strongly in John 5:

39 You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me.40 But you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life. John 5:39-40

This is a great danger for anybody who is a pastor, minister, church leader, Sunday School teacher, or theologian today. We can know certain facts and truths about God, but unless we are obeying His Word, and Seeking His Kingdom first, we will not know Him. Why use a focus verse from the lips of Jesus’ enemies? Because THEY NAILED it. Have you ever accidentally done something amazing? Maybe made a perfect shot, without even intending to? The Scribes did just that here – they rightly realized that nobody can forgive somebody of their sins, except for God alone…and Jesus, by healing the paralytic, shows these religious leaders exactly who He is.

But stop and think for a moment. Jesus does something here that is absolutely stunning to us, doesn’t He? Put yourself in that room with all of the people listening to Jesus. You’ve heard that this teacher does miracles and heals people, and all of the sudden, there is a commotion above the teacher. It would be loud and obvious and SLOW. These guys didn’t have a chainsaw, so I suspect breaking through the roof would take quite a bit of time, and all eyes would be on the ceiling, as people wondered what was going on. And then…you realize – a severely ill man is lowered down in front of Jesus. You, and everybody else there holds their collective breath…you are about to see a miracle! But then, in what has to have been somewhat anticlimactic and disappointing, Jesus simply forgives this paralyzed man of His sins. How shocked would you be to see that? Why would Jesus do such a thing? He is the very OPPOSITE of naive, isn’t He? He would know that everybody there – His enemies, His friends, His disciples, this man’s friends, and the man Himself – all would want to see a healing, but Jesus forgives the man’s sins first…and then heals Him. WHY? Why would Jesus do such a thing?  Let’s get some wisdom from pastor Tim Keller to help us understand:

I would think some of the friends of the paralytic might have said, “All right. Good. That’s always a good thing, but anyone with eyes in his head should see that our friend here has a slightly more urgent, a little more immediate problem.” Jesus is saying to them, “No, he doesn’t.” The first thing we’re going to learn here is that Jesus is saying there is nothing more basic than a right relationship with God.

Physical health, material prosperity … those are good things. They’re great things, but nothing is more important than having a right relationship with God, reconciled to God. Nothing. Please notice something. Jesus does eventually heal him, does he not? Neither the Bible in general nor Jesus in particular teach that the body is just the prison house of the soul, that this life doesn’t matter, that we shouldn’t deal with suffering and disease and poverty; we should just fix our eyes on the beyond and wait to escape this terrible dark world. No, none of that…Jesus is saying there is something beyond this life that is more important than this life, and if you don’t connect to that thing that is more important than life, you won’t live life well. What you need more than anything else is a right relationship with God as Father because your sins are forgiven.

Timothy J. Keller, “A Paralytic Forgiven,” in The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive, 2014–2015 (New York: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2015), Mk 2:1–12.

End of the Show: Bible memory verse for January: Mark 1:15 15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

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