Red Letter Year: 1/10

Mark 2.1-12

2 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

6 But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7 “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 9 Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”


This is one of my favorite stories (I have a feeling you may get tired of me saying that this year). Roofs were typically made of mud and straw, picture these guys breaking up the hardened roof and digging out a hole. Bits of roof rained down on everyone inside, picture Jesus and the religious leaders covered in a thin layer of dust as they argue. And note that the faith Jesus saw was that of the four friends, not the paralyzed man. He forgave and healed that man because his friends believed – because they had a shameless, tenacious faith. They really went out on a limb for this guy. What lengths are we willing to go to see others forgiven and healed? What won’t we do?

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Red Letter Year: 1/8

Mark 1.16-28

16 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 17 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 18 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

19 A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. 20 He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.

21 Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law.

23 Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit began shouting, 24 “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

25 Jesus cut him short. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. 26 At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.

27 Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” 28 The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee.


As we read Mark, you will notice that a lot of things happen immediately, at once, or very quickly. The action keeps coming in Mark and I think once things begin to happen in the spiritual realm they tend to happen very quickly.

We are so used to all these stories it can be hard to read with fresh eyes, but note that we are still in chapter 1 of the first Gospel written and one of the first things Mark decides to tell us is about the casting out of a noisy demon. And it’s not like the folks then were used to that sort of thing – verse 27 tells us the people were amazed at what happened and how it happened.

What stands out to me most in this passage is the word authority – the people noticed that Jesus taught with “real authority” even before he told the demon to get lost. Those people were right, Jesus’ teaching does carry real authority, enough to reach across the centuries and speak powerfully into our lives. Which is what this Red Letter Year is all about.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.