From Pastor Brady

Greetings Church,

The greatest love story ever told is the story of God’s love for us through the person of Jesus. These stories in Mark 1:40-2:17, point us towards Jesus’ ultimate act of love- His sacrifice for you and me.

1. Read Mark 1:40-45. The leper would have been a complete outcast. He was not allowed to live in community or worship at the temple. He had no hope and no peace. It was believed that leprosy was a punishment from God.

How is the physical illness of leprosy a picture of our spiritual condition?

How does the leper show his faith? What is interesting about the way he speaks to Jesus? How does Jesus respond to his faith?

How does this story foreshadow the substitutionary death of Jesus for our sins?

For families: Jesus loves everybody. Help your kids to think through how Jesus loves everybody, even the people that everyone else is mean to. How can we love people that other people don’t love?

2. Read Mark 2:1-12. The paralyzed man was desperate. He and his friends had great faith because they believed Jesus could heal and because they didn’t let anything stand in their way.

Both the leper and the paralyzed man were desperate. Why is desperation a key ingredient for spiritual growth? How desperate are you spiritually? How badly do you want to know Christ and fellowship with Him? Read Philippians 3:7-11.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

You can’t grow spiritually apart from community? How desperate are you for spiritually community?

Why can Jesus forgive this man’s sins? Why do the scribes call Jesus’ forgiveness of the man blasphemy?

In the sermon, Pastor Brady equated forgiveness with substitution. In what way does forgiveness require substitution?

Faith is both dependent and active. In what way was the paralyzed both completely dependent upon Jesus, and yet his faith had to be actively demonstrated? In what ways is our daily faith in Christ’s life both dependency and action?

For families: Ask your children about a time they needed to be forgiven for something? Was it hard to ask for forgiveness? Why do we need Jesus to forgive us most of all?

3. Read Mark 2:13-17. Levi was a hated tax collector. He was viewed as a traitor and a thief by the other Jews. For Jesus to invite a tax collector to follow him means that no sinner is beyond God’s grace.

Do you view some people as beyond God’s grace? Maybe even yourself?

Is there any person today that it would bother or shock you if Jesus was at their house? Are there any groups of people that you would not feel comfortable attending your church?

Read Ephesians 3:14-19

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[c] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Jesus went to Levi’s house. How does that story picture Christ’s living in our hearts today (see Eph. 3:17)?

For families: Do you remember the Zacchaeus story and children’s song? Click here for a reminder. Zacchaeus was a tax collector, like Levi. Jesus went to Zacchaeus’ house just like He went to Levi’s house? Talk to your children about how Jesus wants to live in their “heart house.” He wants to love them and for them to love him back and obey him.

Fighter Verse Questions for Groups and Families.

Fighter Verse: Mark 2:17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

1. What do you base your righteousness upon? Is it anything other than Christ’s righteousness?

2. In what way is Jesus’ statement a challenge to those who think they are righteous?

3. How does our Fighter Verse foreshadow the cross?

4. Martin Luther said that as Christians, we are “simul justus et peccator” – “at the same time both righteous and sinner.” Sometimes at Grace we will say “we are more wicked than we ever dared imagine and more loved than we ever dared hope.” Why are both of these truths so important for us to remember?

For families: Ask your kids what it feels like when they are sick. What about when they get better? Help them to understand that Jesus wants to make them better. He wants to love them so much that they never have to feel like they are all alone, or not cared for. He also want to take their sin away so that they can be fully loved by God.