Afterwards (chap. 2) He goes again into the city, and immediately the multitude gather together. What a living picture of the Lord's life of service! He preaches to them. This was His object and His service (see chap. 1: 38). But again, in devoting Himself to the humble accomplishment of it as committed to Him, His service itself, His love-for who serves like God when He deigns to do it?-bring out His divine rights. He knew the real source of all these evils, and He could bring in its remedy. "Thy sins," said He to the poor paralytic man, who was brought to Him with a faith that overcame difficulties, persevering in spite of them-that perseverance of faith which is fed by the sense of want, and certainty that power is to be found in Him who is sought-"thy sins are forgiven thee." To the reasoning of the scribes He gives an answer that silenced every gainsayer. He exercises the power that authorised Him to pronounce the pardon of the poor sufferer. 
The murmuring of the scribes brought out doctrinally who was there; as the verdict of the priests, who pronounce the leper clean, put the seal of their authority upon the truth that Jehovah, the healer of Israel, was there. That which Jesus carries on is His work, His testimony. The effect is to make it manifest that Jehovah is there, and has visited His people. It is Psalm 103 which is fulfilled, with respect to the rights and the revelation of the Person of Him who wrought.
Jesus leaves the city; the people flock around Him; and again He teaches them. The call of Levi gives occasion for a new development of His ministry. He was come to call sinners, and not the righteous. After this He tells them that He could not put the new divine energy, unfolded in Himself, into the old forms of Pharisaism. And there was another reason for it -the presence of the Bridegroom. How could the children of the bridechamber fast while the Bridegroom was with them? He should be taken from them, and then would be the time to fast. He proceeds to insist on the incompatibility between the old Jewish vessels and the power of the gospel. The latter would but subvert Judaism, to which they sought to attach it. That which took place when the disciples went through the cornfields confirms this doctrine.
Ordinances lost their authority in the presence of the King ordained of God, rejected and a pilgrim on the earth. Moreover the sabbath-a sign of the covenant between God and the Jews-was made for man, and not man for the sabbath; therefore He, the Son of man, was Lord of the sabbath. As Son of David rejected, the ordinances lost their force, and were subordinate to Him. As Son of man possessor (in the sight of God) of all the rights which God had bestowed on man, He was Lord of the sabbath, which was made for man. In principle the old things were passed away. But this was not all. It was in fact the new things of grace and power, which did not admit of the old order of things. But the question was, whether God could act in grace, and bestow blessing, in sovereignty, on His people-whether He must submit to the authority of men availing themselves of His ordinances against His goodness, or do good according to His own power and love as being above all. Was man to limit the operation of God's goodness? And this, in truth, was the new wine which the Lord brought to man.
Footnotes for Mark 1