In Mark 2:1, we have

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. (NIV)

Was he in his own home? If so, how does this change the interpretation of verses 6 and 7:

6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

because if it was his own home then he may have had some justification in forgiving their sin, in particular their sin of destroying his roof, because the sin was against him personally.

1 Answer 1


It seems that most of the commentaries take "at home" to mean Peter's home from Mark 1:29, which seems to have functioned as the base for Jesus' ministry in Capernaum. While both follow this majority opinion, J. Marcus allows that "en oikō̧" could simply mean "in a house" and R. Stein states the possibility that it is Jesus' own home. However, given that the Greek does not demand it, the portrait of Jesus given by the rest of the gospels as a poor and itinerant minister (cf. Matt 8:20) tend to push against the idea that this is Jesus' own home.

As far as the second question goes, even if it were Jesus' own home, I don't think it has much impact on the interpretation of the ensuing exchange for a couple reasons:

  • The sins at stake in the asking of forgiveness are probably not related to the dismantling of the roof. Rather a first century reader would likely connect the forgiven sins with the man's paralysis. For example, we see that the disciples in John 9:2 assume that a man's blindness is owing to either his own sin or perhaps that of his parents. While in that instance Jesus denies that they are related, we can still see the idea there as well as the connection present in passages like James 5:13-16, where prayers for healing blur into prayers for forgiveness.

  • The authority to which Jesus appeals for his right to forgive the man is not his authority as the owner of the house, but his authority as the Son of Man. The whole nature of the conflict between Jesus and the teachers of the law is not simply resolved by Jesus saying, "Hey guys, it's my house." So the entire thrust of the conflict and resolution in the passage are dealing at a different level.

  • 1
    While John 9 is often cited in these connections, there is a corresponding passage in John 5 where Jesus does appear to make the connection denied in John 9:2, but not so commonly noted - see John 5:14. And Luke 13:1-5 might be thought to be relevant to the wider question, too.
    – Dɑvïd
    Mar 26, 2015 at 7:48

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