working together for the future of faith
(2) Mark 2:1-12 = Matt 9:1-8 = Luke 5:17-26
(1) John 5:1-9a,14
5:1 After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 5:2 Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. 5:3 In these lay many invalids--blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5:5 One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" 5:7 The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me." 5:8 Jesus said to him, "Stand up, take your mat and walk." 5:9 At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. ... 5:14 Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, "See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you."
(2) Mark 2:1-12 = Matt 9:1-8 = Luke 5:17-26
2:1 When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2:2 So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. 2:3 Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 2:4 And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." 2:6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 2:7 "Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" 2:8 At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, "Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 2:9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Stand up and take your mat and walk'? 2:10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" --he said to the paralytic-- 2:11 "I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home." 2:12 And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"
= Matt 9:1-8
9:1 And after getting into a boat he crossed the sea and came to his own town. 9:2 And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." 9:3 Then some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." 9:4 But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? 9:5 For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Stand up and walk'? 9:6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" --he then said to the paralytic--"Stand up, take your bed and go to your home." 9:7 And he stood up and went to his home. 9:8 When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.
= Luke 5:17-26
5:17 One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting near by (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. 5:18 Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; 5:19 but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. 5:20 When he saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you." 5:21 Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, "Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" 5:22 When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, "Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 5:23 Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Stand up and walk'? 5:24 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" --he said to the one who was paralyzed--"I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home." 5:25 Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. 5:26 Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, "We have seen strange things today."
RCL: Year B, Epiphany 7
ECUSA & RC: Year B, Ordinary Sunday 7
advanceWORD: Epiphany 7B
John Dominic Crossan
Stratum: I (30-60 CE)
Crossan [Historical Jesus, 320-25] sets this event within the context of a discussion of the miracle tradition associated with Jesus. He begins by noting two processes that he sees at work in the corpus of miracle stories:
... one moving from event to process and the other in the opposite direction from process to event. By event I mean the actual and historical cure of an afflicted individual at a moment in time. By process I means some wider socioreligious phenomenon that is symbolized in and by such an individual happening. But just as event can give rise to process so process can give rise to event.
There is nothing very surprising in all of this. The basic symbolic interpretation postulated by Mary Douglas's body-society parallelism means that social symbolism is always latent in bodily miracle and that bodily miracle always has social signification. It is very easy and indeed inevitable to move in both directions, from body to society or event to process and from society to body or process to event. And it is very possible not to be certain at times in which way one is moving. There is no such thing as a simple miracle. There is not such thing as private magic. (p. 320f)
When he turns from theory to textual analysis, Crossan opts to consider the cures of paralytics in Mark 2:1-12 and John 5:1-7 as variants derived from one single traditional event. He is particularly impressed by the following similarities between the two stories:
the same problem (paralysis)
the need for assistance in moving to place of possible cure
the command to rise, carry the pallet, and walk
the conjunction of sin and sickness
Crossan notes the impact of excessive taxation on the mental and physical health of the poor, and the ways in which the resulting disease was attributed to sin rather than to injustice. The appropriate cure for an affliction resulting from sin was to be found in the Temple rituals, but that came at a price and added to the suffering of the poor. He observes:
When, therefore, John the Baptist with a magical rite or Jesus with a magical touch cured people of their sicknesses, they implicitly declared their sins forgiven or nonexistent. They challenged not only the medical monopoly of the doctors but the religious monopoly of the priests. All this was religiopolitically subversive. (p. 324)
The intersection of sin and sickness can be observed in the complex syntax in which Jesus reverses the logic of the traditional assumption that sickness is a divine judgment for sin and asks whether someone who could cure the sickness has not also forgiven the presumed sin:
2:9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Stand up and take your mat and walk'? 2:10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"—he said to the paralytic—2:11 "I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home."
It is precisely those questions that form as implications flowing from a healing miracle that Crossan suggests drive the movement from event to process, from a cure to a reflection on forgiveness, from an experience of forgiveness to questions about a divine power at work in and through Jesus. However, on his assessment, "in the beginning was the lame paralytic."
The Seminar's voting on the sayings attributed to Jesus in this story was as follows:
Color Mark 2:10 219 K 88Son 6 17 23 54 0.25 Black Mark 2:1-12 219 K 88Son 6 6 26 63 0.18 Black Matt 9:6 219 K 88Son 6 15 21 59 0.23 Black Matt 9:1-8 219 K 88Son 0 9 29 62 0.16 Black Luke 5:24 219 K 88Son 6 15 21 59 0.23 Black Luke 5:17-26 219 K 88Son 0 11 26 63 0.16 Black John 5:1-9 219 J 88Son 0 9 21 71 0.13 Black
With respect to the event described in the story, the Seminar concluded as follows:
As a whole, the story in Mark 2 was voted GRAY. However, vss. 5b-10 received a strong PINK vote as an earlier form of the tradition without the post-Easter controversy over authority to forgive sins. (Similarly, the core of the John 5 story was thought by some Fellows to be an older healing story around which the evangelist has woven materials reflecting later Jewish/Christian disputes.)