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Mark Chapter Two


I. Content of the Chapter


The Service of the Bondservant the Savior

A.  To heal the paralytic (v.1-12);

B.  To call Levi and sit with tax collectors and sinners (v.13-17);

C.  Concerning fasting and the parable of the contradiction between the newness and the oldness (v.18-22);

D.  Concerning the fact that the Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath (v.23-28);


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Mark. 2:1 And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house.

YLT: “And again he entered into Capernaum, after days, and it was heard that he is in the house,”

Literal Meaning:after some days”, after several days;

  “It was heard that He was in the house.” ---- This house might be Peter’s house (see 1:19).


Mark. 2:2 Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them.

YLT: “and immediately many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door, and he was speaking to them the word.”

Literal Meaning:so that there was no longer room to receive them”, it meant that there was no room even outside of the gate. It was so crowed that even a drop of water could not trickle through them.

  “He preached the word to them.” ---- The word “preach” meant doing unceasingly in the original.


Mark. 2:3 Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men.

YLT: “And they come unto him, bringing a paralytic, borne by four,”

Meaning of Words: “bring”: carry, bear, and move; “carry”: life up;

Literal Meaning:a paralytic”: a man whose four limbs are paralyzed that can not walk freely.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     We should often pray for weak believers (the “paralytics”), and bring them to the Lord through prayer (“come to Jesus”). Prayers that are out of faith must be answered by Him.

2)     Men pay attention to the health of physical body, but the Lord stresses the health of one’s spirit. We shall look at our spirit more than body, and look at those are eternal more than those are temporal (2Cor. 4:16-18).

3)     When we preach the gospel, we shall also bring those friends who come to hear the gospel by various vehicles (e.g. taxis, private cars and etc.) (to carry the paralytic) so that they can enjoy the advantages of the gospel.


Mark. 2:4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.

YLT: “and not being able to come near to him because of the multitude, they uncovered the roof where he was, and, having broken up, they let down the couch on which the paralytic was lying,”

Meaning of Words: “bed”: stretcher, mattress;

The Background:uncovered the roof”, it was a typical Palestinian house. The roof was flat, and men could climb up there from the stairs outside. Mats braided by branches sustained the flat in rows on the wooden beams. And there was a layer of thick clay covered upon and was run over by stone wheels. Such roof was easy to be uncovered.

Spiritual Meaning: a “paralytic” knows how to walk but can not walk actually, which symbolizing the condition of men in religion who are unable to do what they hope to do.

  The paralytic lay in the mattress that symbolizes rest, indicating that man in religion has the appearance of rest, but lacks the reality of rest.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)     When a man feels that he needs the Lord Jesus and draws near the Lord, he may be blocked by those who seem to be close with the Lord. However, we shall not be frustrated because of men’s obstruction, but seek the determination of surpassing the obstacles and rising above every difficulty

2)     If we want to seek the grace of the Lord, we shall not fear hardships but pursue so that we will be remembered by the Lord.

3)     They surpassed the compass of the crowd and let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying from the flat, indicating that they had transcended the large crowd around the Lord ---- men’s organization, natural thoughts, traditional explanations for the Holy Scriptures, rigid doings in ministry and etc. ---- in order to seek the Lord and walked in the way “above”, namely, the transcending way and the heavenly way. Therefore, they would surely obtain the grace.

4)     Our prayer should break through the roof and reach the throne in the heavens. Many believers’ prayers seem to be dispensable and can not pass through the roof. It is no wander that such prayers have no effect.


Mark. 2:5 “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you."”

YLT: ” and Jesus having seen their faith, saith to the paralytic, `Child, thy sins have been forgiven thee.'”

Literal Meaning: “their faith”, it referred to the faith of those who carried the paralytic as well as the paralytic himself. It also indicated that the faith of intercession was rather efficacious.

  “Your sins are forgiven you.” ---- It was the outward symptom that the paralytic could not walk, but the sins in him were actually the real cause of disease. The Lord here pointed out the matter of sins and exposed the real cause of men’s disease with a single remark.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    “Jesus saw their faith”. ---- Faith is visible.

2)    “Their faith”, the faith of those who brought the paralytic was on one hand the “corporate faithand on the other the “practical faith.

3)    When we are confronted difficulties, it will be the exact time that demands our faith. The living faith can be seen by the Lord and be praised by Him.

4)    Sin is men’s essential difficulty. Although one who is bound by sins has the will to do right, he has no strength to perform right (see Rom. 7:18). Therefore the removal of sins is the very condition for men to be healed.

5)    Religion teaches men to do what is good. It is full of doctrines, but lacks the living power of putting them into practice (the paralytic one stands for religion). In the religious world, everything is paralytic and can not walk for lack of life and energy.

6)    Not all the disease is the consequence of sins (John. 9: 1-3), but it has such possibility. Therefore when we are sick, we should come to the Lord and ask Him whether we have done something against Him.

7)    They prayed for “being healed”, but the Lord’s answer was “forgiving the sins” as well as “healing the disease” (see v.12). Although the Lord has not directly answered our prayer, He knows what we really need.

8)    The Lord firstly forgave his sins and healed his disease afterwards. We shall deal with our sins before seeking the healing of our disease.


Mark. 2:6 “And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts,”

YLT: ”And there were certain of the scribes there sitting, and reasoning in their hearts,”

Spiritual Meaning: “the scribes” stand for those who have knowledge and status in the religious world. They only condemn others but have no idea that they themselves are in sins.


Mark. 2:7 “"Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"”

YLT: ” `Why doth this one thus speak evil words? who is able to forgive sins except one -- God?'”

Literal Meaning: “this Man blasphemes!” ---- The Jews held that nobody had the power of forgiving sins except God Himself. “Blaspheme” means that someone speaks beyond his own role and usurps God’s unique authority of forgiving sins.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    We shall hear in humble and meek spirit. If a man hears in the spirit of resisting, opposing and carping at others, even though he hears the sermon of the Lord Jesus, he will still benefit nothing and suffer losses.

2)    The scribes could not receive the words of the Lord for the sake of the old concepts in their hearts. Every time we come to the Lord, only if we empty ourselves could we receive the new words of the Lord (see Luke. 1:53).


Mark. 2:8 “But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, "Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?”

YLT: ”And immediately Jesus, having known in his spirit that they thus reason in themselves, said to them, `Why these things reason ye in your hearts?”

Literal Meaning: “Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves”, the Lord is the one that searches reins and hearts (Rev. 2:23) and He knows men’s thoughts in their hearts.

“Why do you think evil in your hearts?” ---- The scribes held the thoughts of unbelief and criticism towards the Lord. They should not be so in the sight of the Lord.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The spiritual discerns all things (1Cor.2:15). May the Lord grant the spiritual insight.

2)    The Lord does not look down upon our thoughts and therefore we should ask the Lord to keep our thoughts acceptable to Him (Ps. 19:14).


Mark. 2:9 “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, "Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, "Arise, take up your bed and walk'?”

YLT: ”which is easier, to say to the paralytic, The sins have been forgiven to thee? or to say, Rise, and take up thy couch, and walk?”

Literal Meaning: the Lord here did not say that, “which is more difficult?” because there is nothing too hard for Him (Jer. 32:17). “Remission of sins refers to the matter of authority. Arising and walking speaks of the matter of power. The authority and power are both of Him (Rev. 12:10).

  In the sight of men, “your sins are forgiven you” was only a word out of mouth and nobody could see the effect of this word. However, the effect of asking one to arise and walk could be seen at once. Therefore the former seems easier than the latter.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Men look at the outward result ---- “arising and walking”. The Lord sees the spiritual reality ---- “your sins are forgiven you”. We have to seek spiritual reality first and then seek the outward result so that we will avoid the artificiality and hypocrisy. Moreover, we shall also prove the inside reality by outward result, otherwise it will be only empty word.

2)    Arising and walking are the matter of power, and forgiveness of sins is a matter of authority. The authority is empty without power. The power is lawless without authority.

3)    Men’s difficulty is not how to “say” but according to what to “say”. Words without spiritual authority will have no spiritual power. 


Mark. 2:10 “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins"--He said to the paralytic,”

YLT: ”And, that ye may know that the Son of Man hath authority on the earth to forgive sins -- (he saith to the paralytic) --”

Literal Meaning: “the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”, “the Son of Man”: the Lord Jesus, who called Himself the Son of Man, which carried two meanings: (1) He has the perfect humanity. (2) He is the Messiah prophesied by the prophet Daniel (see Dan.7:13-14).

That the Lord forgave the paralytic was the matter between Him and the person involved (the paralytic). However the Lord here meant to show His authority of forgiving sins through the more difficult thing in men’s eyes ------the paralytic’s being healed.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Men’s diseases are usually caused by disease in their spirit. Many people get ill for they have sinned against God. Therefore the problem of sins should be solved first and then the disease will be healed.

2)    The paralytic one was healed for his sins were forgiven. And the sins are forgiven for the sake of faith (v.5) instead of works. It indicates that religion which stresses on works has no good before God.


Mark. 2:11 “"I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house."”

YLT: ”I say to thee, Rise, and take up thy couch, and go away to thy house;'”


Mark. 2:12 “Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"”

YLT: ”and he rose immediately, and having taken up the couch, he went forth before all, so that all were astonished, and do glorify God, saying -- `Never thus did we see.'”

Meaning of Words: amazed”: astonished, wonder;

Literal Meaning: “and he arose”, his arising showed that he had been healed. His being healed also proved that his sins were forgiven. Obviously, the Lord Jesus has the authority to forgive sins (Acts. 5:31).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The most important principle of the glad tidings is that remission of sins is first and then the arising and walking. It is not sinners come to the Lord but the sinners walk out from the Lord. The Old Testament is to work and then live, and the New Testament is to live and then work. The former is works and the latter is grace.

2)    The man was carried by others before and now arose and walked by himself. When we serve the young believers in the assembly, we should serve them until they are able to walk by themselves.

3)    All that are saved by the Lord have the power of controlling their desire (bed) and they will have the experience of reigning in life instead of being slaves of flesh (Rom. 5: 17).

4)    It was the bed that “held” him, and now he “carried” the bed. The Lord’s salvation of life enables those who believe have the power out of them to do what they can not do before they are saved.

5)    The Lord asked the paralytic to arise and walk. Obviously, the Lord’s word is reliable. If the seen is dependable, the unseen is dependable too.

6)    The spiritual thing on one hand seemed to be invisible by men’s eyes and be hard to touch by men’s hands. However, it seems to be real in those who believe.

7)    They had never seen such things, for they had never seen God. If we often see God in our life, we will always see what we have never seen.


Mark. 2:13 “Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them.”

YLT: ”And he went forth again by the sea, and all the multitude was coming unto him, and he was teaching them,”


Mark. 2:14 “As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." So he arose and followed Him.”

YLT: ”and passing by, he saw Levi of Alpheus sitting at the tax-office, and saith to him, `Be following me,' and he, having risen, did follow him.”

Literal Meaning: “Levi the son of Alphaeus”, he was also known as Matthew (see Matt.9:9), who collected taxes for the Roman Government. The tax collectors as Matthew at that time on one hand pressed their neighbors and on the other embezzled levies. Therefore the Jews loathed them extremely and regarded them as sinners.

“Sitting at the tax office”, “tax office”, it referred to the office in the street where the taxes were collected. Tax collectors usually sat there and waited men to pay taxes.

“Follow Me”. ---- The Lord did not say “trust me”, but “follow me”, for “trusting the Lord is included in following the Lord. Christian’s life is a life that follows the Lord.

Spiritual Meaning: “sitting at the tax office”, it symbolizes the time when he is committing sins or doing iniquities.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    It is not that we look for the Lord, but the Lord comes to look for us. The Lord’s calling enables us to forsake sins and follow Him.

2)    The Lord even came to call a tax collector “who was sitting at the tax office” ---- who was sinning, indicating that the grace out of the fullness of Christ was not restricted by men’s conditions.

3)    If a man has not heard the Lord’s calling, he cannot follow the Lord. The moment the Lord’s calling comes, men have to obey. Levi did neither reason for himself and nor said that the account had not been settled, but followed the Lord immediately. It was inconceivable in the eyes of unbelievers.

4)    If the Lord draws us, we will run after Him (Song. 1:4).

5)    The Lord asks us not only to trust Him but also to follow Him. Following the Lord is to keep the will of God in the way of the cross. Those who believe the Lord only but not follow the Lord do no good for God.

6)    Christians’ life is to “follow the Lord”. Following the Lord is to partake in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of the Lord (Rev. 1:9).

7)    Levi gave up his leisurely career but found his reliance. He gave up the respectable income but found honor. He gave up comfortable security but received unexpected experience.


Mark. 2:15 “Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi's house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him.”

YLT: ”And it came to pass, in his reclining (at meat) in his house, that many tax-gatherers and sinners were reclining (at meat) with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many, and they followed him.”

Literal Meaning: “was diningsat together”, “dining”: to enjoy dining and wining. To dine with others is the indication of friendship. This feast was held by Levi, through which he showed his homage towards the Lord (Luke. 5:29). However other guests he could invite at that time, except for the Lord and His disciples, were all sinners and tax collectors who used to keep in touch with him and were also despised by the Jews.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The Lord is so close to us that we can sit with Him together and share joy with each other (Song.1:12).

2)    After we have believed the Lord, we should also invite our relatives and friends to share our joy from the Lord with them.

3)    Levi followed the Lord first (see v.14), and then his friends and workmates “also follow Jesus”. Only if the one who has believed the Lord has testimony, will those who are around him also be influenced.

4)    It is easy for a tax collector to bring other tax collectors unto the Lord. Likewise, it is also easy for a sinner to bring other sinners unto the Lord. When we preach the gospel, we should firstly start from our friends and partners.


Mark. 2:16 “And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, "How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?"”

YLT: ”And the scribes and the Pharisees, having seen him eating with the tax-gatherers and sinners, said to his disciples, `Why -- that with the tax-gatherers and sinners he doth eat and drink?'”

The Background: the scribes and Pharisees”, “the Pharisees” were the most exact sect in Judaism, who boasted that they had holy life, godliness and the knowledge of the Bible. Most of the scribes were the Pharisees, but not all the scribes were the Pharisees.

Literal Meaning:the Pharisees, they symbolized the conservative Christians, who held that God treated men with righteousness so all those who were of God had to keep them clean and not contact with sinners. However, the Lord’s actions were opposite to their religious concepts.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The Pharisees measured the Lord with traditional religious concepts and could not keep up with the Lord’s actions. If we always adhere obstinately to old concepts of the Bible, we can not keep up with the Lord’s new guidance.

2)    Though men are unrighteous themselves, they like God to treat others with righteousness. Men blame God to show grace to men for they do not know God’s grace. Therefore the attitude of grace is criticized and blamed by men.

3)    “Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners”, it indicated on one hand how humble the Lord was, and on the other how full His salvation was! We are all sinners who have been bestowed grace.

4)    Though the Lord contacted with sinners, the Bible told us that He was separated from sinners (Heb. 7:26). Only He who has been separated from sins is able to draw near sinners.


Mark. 2:17 “When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."”

YLT: ”And Jesus, having heard, saith to them, `They who are strong have no need of a physician, but they who are ill; I came not to call righteous men, but sinners to reformation.'”

Literal Meaning:those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” ---- The Lord reveals that He is a physician, showing that He treats men in the world with an attitude of a physician to sick person rather than that of a judge to sinners. In other words, He treats the world according to compassion and grace instead of righteousness (Rom.9:15).

  I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” ---- “The righteous” here refers to those who are self-righteous. In fact, there is not a righteous one in the world, not even one (Rom.3:10). Therefore, if one holds the traditional religious conception and thinks himself righteous, he will lose the chance of obtaining grace, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1Pet.5:5).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The Lord is our physician, who shall restore our life to normal. 

2)    Unless the sick person admits that he is sick, he will not receive the help of a physician. Unless a sinner confesses that he is a sinner, he will not receive the Lord’s salvation. Those who think they are “healthy” and “righteous” may contrarily not partake in the Lord’s salvation.

3)    The common difficulty of the world lies in the ignorance of their own conditions rather than the knowledge about the Lord ---- those who do not know themselves believe that it is not essential that whether they have the Lord or not. And those who know themselves hold that the Lord is very precious.

4)    If a man wants to be Christians, he shall firstly confess he is a sick person and then may help others as a nurse.

5)    In the sight of God, there is no difference between those who have pious appearance but are full of selfishness and jealousness inside as well as sinners and tax collectors.

6)    I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” ---- Those who are self-righteous have never realized that they need salvation, so such men can never be called by God, for it is vain.

7)    God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence (1Cor.1:28-29).


Mark. 2:18 “The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, "Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?"”

YLT: ”And the disciples of John and those of the Pharisees were fasting, and they come and say to him, `Wherefore do the disciples of John and those of the Pharisees fast, and thy disciples do not fast?'”

Literal Meaning: “Your disciples”, the Pharisees on one hand criticized the disciples of the Lord (see v.16), and on the other hand caviled at the Lord about “His disciples”. They always fomented dissension and stirred up discord between the Lord and His disciples.

Spiritual Meaning: disciples of John the Baptism” symbolize junior religionists.

  “The Pharisees” symbolize senior religionists.

  Religion means “teaching according to certain principles”. It intended to teach men to fear God, but turned out to be a mere formality and even disregarded God and His son. The fasting is one of the letter and laws that the religionists keep.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The fasting used to be a manifestation of true piety and true repentance. However, if it turns to be a regulation, it will lose its real meaning. The fasting itself is not the aim and it should only be done under proper conditions.

2)    Both those who keep the regulations and do the letters (the Pharisees) and those who have not enjoyed the Lord’s grace enough (the disciples of John) need fasting. Men’s hearts cannot get satisfaction beyond Christ.


Mark. 2:19 “And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.”

YLT: ”And Jesus said to them, `Are the sons of the bride-chamber able, while the bridegroom is with them, to fast? so long time as they have the bridegroom with them they are not able to fast;”

The Background: in the Middle East regions during the old times, there were young relatives who companied the bridegroom to drink and celebrate for several days (sometimes it last a weak) before the marriage. After that, the bridegroom would leave to take his wife. Then, those with the bridegroom would feel lonely.

Literal Meaning: “the bridegroom” speaks of the Lord Himself;

    “The friends” refer to His disciples;

    “Is with them”, it indicated the time when the Lord was with His disciples in the body;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Only those who walk with the Lord (the friends of the bridegroom) can often enjoy the rich feast. There will be abundant enjoyment in the Lord’s presence. Once the presence of the Lord is lost, the spirit will suffer hunger.

2)    The Lord is our bridegroom and He keeps fresh all the time. The moment we meet Him, we will be filled with sweetness, freshness and joy.

3)    The life and actions of those who follow the Lord should be only guided by the Lord Himself and His presence instead of the driving of the knowledge or reasons.

4)    The spiritual life of the saints in the New Testament is neither abstinence nor penance, but is characterized by the joy in the Holy Spirit (see Rom.14:17).


Mark. 2:20 “But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”

YLT: ” but days shall come when the bridegroom may be taken from them, and then they shall fast -- in those days.”

Literal Meaning: “the bridegroom will be taken away from them”, “be taken away”: be taken away by men forcedly;

Spiritual Meaning: the days will come”, it showed that the day of His crucifixion was impending.

  “The bridegroom will be taken away from them”, when the Lord departed out of this world to the Father (see John 13:1). He would leave His disciples.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    In order to be yokefellow with the Lord, believers sometimes need to fast and pray.

2)    To those who wait for the second coming of the Lord the bridegroom, waiting with fasting is the proper exercise.


Mark. 2:21 “No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse.”

YLT: ”`And no one a patch of undressed cloth doth sew on an old garment, and if not -- the new filling it up doth take from the old and the rent doth become worse;”

Meaning of Words: “a piece of unshrunk cloth”: the cloth that has not shrunk, or the cloth that has not been made complete.

Literal Meaning: if the unshrunk cloth was “put on an old garment”, after the cloth is washed and dried up, the unshrunk cloth will shrink and pulls away from the old garment and the tear is made worse and irreparable.

Spiritual Meaning: “cloth” symbolizes our righteousness before God (Rev. 19:8).

  “An old garment”, it refers to the good works done by religionists by their old natural life. They are full of flaws and holes and therefore religionists always do the repairing and improving work.

    “A piece of unshrunk cloth” symbolizes the life and deeds of the Lord on earth.

    What the religionists do is to “put a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment” ---- they only want to learn from the example of the Lord’s life and deeds but do not receive the salvation done by the Lord on the cross.

“For the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse.---- If we only imitate the Lord’s works and deeds when He was on earth, our defects in deeds will contrarily be shown and it will be of no use.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Nobody could use God’s grace to make up our weak points of our old deeds. 

2)    We should not mix grace and the law together. Once they are mixed together, grace loses its sweetness and the law loses its fearfulness. It becomes neither grace nor the Law.

3)    In Christianity, the New Testament is not used to make up the Old Testament, but to replace the Old Testament. Keeping the law of the Old Testament may contrarily corrupt the faith in the New Testament.

4)    In the New Testament, there is not any regulation about the deeds outside, for we believers need only completely follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in us. We should serve the Lord in newness of spirit instead of the oldness of letter (Rom. 7:6).

5)    If we Christians want to be acceptable to God, we shall receive the great redemption that has been done by Christ and put on Christ as our garment of righteousness instead of imitating the works and deeds of Christ on earth.

6)    The garment the Lord has made for the assembly is new and His work is “the new creation”. He had completely ended all the things of the old creation. Therefore we should not bring natural things and works of the world into the assembly.

7)    The Lord never uses the new grace to make up and maintain the old patch. When our works fall into the state of oldness, we do not need to do the repairing work but ask the Lord to give us another new cloth.


Mark. 2:22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins."”

YLT: ” and no one doth put new wine into old skins, and if not -- the new wine doth burst the skins, and the wine is poured out, and the skins will be destroyed; but new wine into new skins is to be put.'”

Meaning of Words: “new wine”: wine being newly brewed; “new wineskins”: wineskins that have not been used before.

Literal Meaning: “wineskins” were sheepskins used by the Jews to put drink.

    “Old wineskins” were sheepskins that lack stretchability because of oldness.

    “New wine” has strong power of fermentation. The old wineskins cannot bear the force produced by the fermentation of wine and therefore are ruined easily.

Spiritual Meaning: “nor do they put new wine into old wineskins.” ---- The new wine” symbolizes the risen and fresh life of Christ that makes men joyful, exalted and powerful. The old wineskins” symbolize the old men of us as well as the religious ways. “Putting new wine into old wineskins” means that one only receives Christ into his thoughts, will and feeling of old men (soul). Religionists research Christ with their natural intelligence, treat Christ with natural emotion and decide to serve the Lord with their natural will. That is to say, they receive Christ totally with their natural men.

  The new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, Christ can not be fully understood by our mind. Many times, our emotion may be broken down in some so-called spiritual things because of exceeding excitement. In addition, those who follow the Lord with their will shall be immediately offended by persecutions and tribulations (Matt. 13:21).

    And the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.The new wineskins” symbolize the new men of us, namely, our reborn spirit and renewed soul (Tit.3:5, Eph.4:23-24, Col.3:10, Rom.12:2). It will be effective if we receive and hold Christ through only exercising our spirit and using our thoughts, feelings and will that have been dealt with by the cross.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The new life of Christ (“new wine”), full of power, can excite and strengthen us. However, it can only be put in vessels that have been renewed (“new wineskins”).

2)    The unshrunk cloth” (v.21) refers to the outward conversation. The new wine” speaks of the inner life. Cloth is shown outwardly and wine is fermented inside. The former is conversation and the latter is life. The life given by the gospel in the New Testament to men is the new wine and the conversation given to men is the unshrunk cloth.

3)    The Liberal Christians receive Christ as the “unshrunk cloth” (v.21). The fundamental Christians receive Christ as the “new garment”. The real Christians receive Christ as the “new wine”, but lack the “new wineskins”. Only the normal Christians use the “new wineskins” to put the “new wine”.

4)    The Holy Spirit in us (the new wine) will get rid of the old conversation, deeds and habits (old wineskins). One should have the new life and new walking and new habits so that he can be a Christian.

5)    The wineskins” symbolize the individual Christian as well as the corporate Christians ---- the assembly. Men’s organization is the old wineskins”. If it is used to put the “new wine”, it will be broken sooner or later and the wine will be spilt and the presence of Christ will also be lost.


Mark. 2:23 “Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain.”

YLT: ”And it came to pass -- he is going along on the sabbaths through the corn-fields -- and his disciples began to make a way, plucking the ears,”

The Background: “Sabbath” is the seventh day of a week, namely, the present Saturday. It starts from the sunset on Friday to the sunset the next day. God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it (Gen. 2:3). The Israel was not allowed to do any work in order to remember that God had finished all the work (Exod. 20:8-11).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Men that are hungry will have no rest. If men want to have rest, they have to enjoy Christ as their bread of life (John. 6:35).

2)    “Grain” typifies Christ. Christ becomes our enjoyment after going through tribulations and sufferings (“pluck”) for us.

3)    Only the hungry will be filled with the good things (Luke. 1:53). Only when we are hungry in spirit, can we be filled by the Lord.

4)    The Lord Jesus is the first grain of wheat and we who have received grace are the much fruit (John. 12:24). Therefore the assembly is “the grainfields”. If the assembly only pays attention to regulations and ceremonies, probably everyone will suffer hunger. Christ Himself is of the greatest importance in the assembly. We should follow the Lord as wherever He guides us.


Mark. 2:24 “And the Pharisees said to Him, "Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?"”

YLT: ”and the Pharisees said to him, `Lo, why do they on the sabbaths that which is not lawful?”

The Background: the Pharisees stressed on keeping the Sabbath so strictly that they even caviled about others. They added many unnecessary formalities to the Sabbath besides the Law of Moses and forced men to keep them. According to the Law of Moses, plunking ears with one’s hands and eating them were allowable (Deut. 23:25). However, there was no explicit law declaring whether it was lawful to plunk ears on the Sabbath. A statement was said that what the Pharisees really opposed was not plunking the ears on the Sabbath, but that the Lord’s disciples “rubbed the ears” with their hands, for it was accounted as doing work, thus going against the regulations of the Sabbath.

Spiritual Meaning: “the Pharisees” symbolize the religious believers who keep the regulations in the Bible. They stress on the regulations that do not handle, do not taste and do not touch (Col. 2:21) but neglect God’s real purpose of giving them these regulations.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    To the hungry disciples, the regulation “don’t do any work on the Sabbath” is a burden. Even if they keep the form of the Sabbath, the reality of the Sabbath is lost.

2)    The Pharisees only emphasized on whether men keep the regulations on the Sabbath but neglected whether men have rest on the Sabbath. Today, the number of Christians who pay attention to the appearance is still more than that of those who stress on the inner reality.

3)    The Pharisees queried the Lord Jesus about regulations------the moment men are in the state of stressing on the apparent laws, they will stand on the position that is against the Lord.


Mark. 2:25 “But He said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him:”

YLT: ”And he said to them, `Did ye never read what David did, when he had need and was hungry, he and those with him?”

Spiritual Meaning: “David” typifies Christ. “Those who were with him” typify the disciples.

  “David” was the key person from the age of priests to the age of kings in the history of the Old Testament. Here, the Lord showed that He is the “true David”. He the true David has come and the age will also be changed.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    When reading the Bible, we should pay attention to the dispensational character of the things mentioned in the Bible. For example, believers in the New Testament have not to keep the law of sacrifice and the costume of the priests in the Old Testament (many works in the Roman Catholic Church were to bring the Old Testament into the New Testament).

2)    In the beginning of the New Testament, spiritual gifts such as “tongue-speaking” and “divine healing” were in vogue. However in the last stage of the age of the Apostles, these were rarely recorded. It showed that these spiritual gifts existed for the sake of its dispensational requirement. If believers in the end of the world return to seek these Charismatic gifts, we may overlook the dispensational character of spiritual things. (Editorial Note: this doesn’t mean that there are no spiritual gifts today, but that we do not need to importune for them, for spiritual gifts are divided to each in particular according as the Holy Spirit pleases. 1Cor.12:11)


Mark. 2:26 “how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?"”

YLT: ”how he went into the house of God, (at `Abiathar the chief priest,') and the loaves of the presentation did eat, which it is not lawful to eat, except to the priests, and he gave also to those who were with him?'”

The Background: according to the regulations of the Law of Moses, only the priests could eat “the showbread” in the temple of God (Exod. 29:32-33). When David fled from the smiting of Saul, he and his followers ate the showbread (1Sam.21:1-6).

Literal Meaning: “in the days of Abiathar the high priest”, it was apparently inconsistent with the record in the Old Testament. David and his followers went to the Holy Temple to eat the showbread in the days of Ahimelech the high priest (see 1Sam.21:1-6). His son was Abiathar (see 2Sam.22:20) who became the high priest later. Therefore, some Bible scholars believed that it was a flaw made by the copiers of the Scriptures afterwards. 

Spiritual Meaning: David and his followers ate the showbread, but they were not condemned by God, for David had changed the age from the age of priests to the age of kings.

    This verse showed that the Lord “the true David” had come and the age was changed from the age of the law in the Old Testament to the age of the grace in the New Testament. In the New Testament, men do not need to keep the Sabbath.

  “The showbread” typifies that Christ comes to be our enjoyment of life.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The regulations and laws in the Old Testament have the transitional nature. They are a shadow of things to come, but the body of Christ (Col. 2:17). Believers in the New Testament do not need to obey the regulations and ceremonies since we have already obtained Christ.

2)    On the premise that we neither commit sins nor offend against morality, believers can adopt some expedient measures if it is necessary in the matters of following and serving the Lord.

3)    Concerning the conversation of we believers, what is most important is that we should follow the Lord all the time. As long as we walk with the Lord in His presence, nothing can bind us.

4)    The true Sabbath is not obeying the dead regulations, receiving the full provision of the living Christ ---- we will naturally enjoy the rest after eating full.


Mark. 2:27 “And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

YLT: ”And he said to them, `The sabbath for man was made, not man for the sabbath,”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The Sabbath is going to give rest to men rather than restrict men.

2)    The regulations and laws in the Old Testament were established for men to know the coming Christ (see Col.2:16-17; Gal.3:23-24) instead of bringing bondage and burden to men.


Mark. 2:28 “Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath." 

YLT: ”so that the son of man is lord also of the Sabbath.'”

Literal Meaning: the Lord Jesus is “Lord of the Sabbath”, indicating that He has the authority of managing the Sabbath and He is the one who bestows men rest. He likes to give men rest and does not like men to be restrained by the regulations of the Sabbath.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Since the Lord is “Lord of the Sabbath”, the standard is His words. Whether something is permitted to do or not on the Sabbath depends on Him.

2)    Those who work for the Lord of the Sabbath are not under the law of the Sabbath.

3)    Christ is Lord of the Sabbath. When we have Him, we have true rest. Everyday is the Sabbath, as it were. And therefore we need no longer to keep the regulations of the Sabbath.

4)    Today the problem is whether men receive the Lord, not whether it is on the Sabbath.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


Five Kinds of Men Who Heard the Word of the Lord

A.         Those who were willing to devote themselves to the Lord ---- the owner of the house (v.1-2)

B.         Those who were concerned about others and had faith in the Lord ---- the four ones who carried the paralytic (v.3-4)

C.        Those who were forgiven by the Lord and had experienced the mighty power of the Lord’s life ---- the paralytic (v.5, 11-12)

D.        Those who looked on coldly and murmured in their hearts ---- certain of the scribes (v.6-10);

E.         Those who witnessed the grace of the Lord and glorified God ---- the people (v.12);


The Features of Tax Collector Levi

A.   He was in sins ---- sitting at the tax office ---- met the Lord (v.14a);

B.   He immediately repented the moment he heard the word of the Lord ---- so he arose and followed Him (v.14b).

C.   Once he had repented, he received the Lord and the disciples ---- Jesus was dining in the house of Levi (v.15a).

D.   He invited his friends and workmates to hear the gospels ---- that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with … (v.15b).


The Heart of the Lord and the Hearts of the Scribes and the Pharisees

A.       The Lord sympathized with the sufferings of the paralytic ---- the scribes did not care for the sufferings of the paralytic, but condemned that the Lord spoke blasphemies (v.1-12).

B.       The Lord felt the need of sinners ---- the scribes did not care for the need of sinners, but condemned that the Lord sat with sinners (v.13-17).

C.       The Lord was willing to have enjoyment with His disciples together ---- the Pharisees did not care for the fact of the bridegroom’s presence, but condemned that the Lord’s disciples did not fast (v.18-22).

D.       The Lord sympathized with His disciples who were hungry on the Sabbath ---- the Pharisees did not care for the hunger of the disciples, but condemned that they had not kept the Sabbath.


The Service of the Bondservant the Savior Was Going to Deliver Men From Religion

A.   Who delivered men from the incapability of religion (v.1-12):

1.    Religion can not help the paralytic ---- who has no power to walk in the way of life.

2.    Religion respects God apparently, but does not know the Son of God in fact.

3.    One can be forgiven by believing the Lord only and obtain the power of life.

B.   Who delivered men from the self-righteousness of religion (v.13-17):

1.    Religion can only condemn others ---- despise the tax collectors and sinners.

2.    Religionist can not understand the merciful bowel of the Lord.

3.    One can be healed by the Lord (the remission of sins) through confessing his disease (sins) only.

C.   Who delivered men from the traditional concept of religion (v.18-22):

1.    Religion makes one afflict his soul.

2.    Religionists can not understand the joy in the presence of the Lord.

3.    One can enjoy the salvation in the New Testament (the new wine) through the new idea and new works (the new garment and the new wineskins) only.

D.   Who delivered men from the bondage of religion (v.23-28):

1.    Religion restricts men by regulations ---- it is lawful to do works on the Sabbath.

2.    Religion has put the cart before the horse without knowing that the Sabbath is established for men.

3.    One can be released through knowing that the Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath.


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Mary Zhou