LINK: Mark 2
Mark 2:1-22 ~ Matthew 9:1-17 ~ Luke 5:17-39
Mark 2:23-28 ~ Matthew 12:1-8 ~ Luke 6:1-5
In this chapter, Mark continues to demonstrate Jesus' power and authority.
authority to forgive sin ~ 2:1-12
Jesus not only healed the paralyzed man, but also forgave his sins. This paralytic was very fortunate to have friends who would bring him to Jesus. These friends weren't easily deterred either. When they couldn't get in the door, they took apart part of the roof and lowered him down that way.
authority over tax-collectors and sinners ~ 2:13-20
Jesus called Levi the son of Alpheus to follow him. Levi is also called Matthew (author of the book of Matthew) and was a Jewish tax-collector for the Romans. The Jewish leaders considered other Jews who collected taxes for the Roman government to be traitors. When Jesus said, "follow me" to Matthew, he got up and followed him. Jesus and his disciples were eating dinner with a houseful of tax-collectors and "sinners" when the religious leaders complained that Jesus socialized with such "low life" people and that Jesus and his disciples were not religious enough.
authority to change religion ~ 2:21-22
Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that his message did not fit their old way of doing things. He was going to change "religion" as they knew it, and his round peg would never fit into their square hole.
authority over the Sabbath ~ 2:23-28
The Pharisees had added restrictions to the Sabbath beyond what God had required in the Law. They nit-picked the Law to death, and one of their pet topics was the Sabbath. The disciples weren't actually doing anything against the Law when they picked the grain on the Sabbath. He made it very clear that he had authority over the Sabbath.
The religious leaders of the day had everything down to a system. They were all about keeping the system. They knew nothing of a relationship with the holy God; they only knew of keeping a list of rules and regulations and thought that keeping the rules was what God required. They viewed anyone who didn't keep all their rules with condemnation. Jesus called their ways "old garments" and "old wineskins." He brought a message of grace and forgiveness, introducing something "new." His message would never fit into their system.
Many believers who have a church background in life get caught up in the "rules" of the church and never really experience the grace of God. We often think we're doing what God requires, when we're really following man's rules. We need to make sure our focus isn't on rules and regulations, but on Jesus. The author of Hebrews put it this way, "let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith" (Heb 12:1-2).
Lord, help us to fix our eyes on you and run the race that you have set for us to run. Thank you for bringing to us salvation from the sin that gets us tangled up and the from things that weigh us down. May we seek to serve you, not anyone's system. In the name of Jesus, who provided it all for us, amen.