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Mar 5 / Reflexion Community

Meditations in Mark Chapter 2 03/05/2023



Welcome and Prayer: Jim Calhoun
A prayer for this Lenten season

You laid down Your life and gave up everything for us.
Let us place our death in Yours
The death of our plans
The death of our expectations The death of our willfulness
The death of our selfish ambitions
The death of our imagined selves
Teach us to accept all afflictions
All disappointments
All regrets
So we may know our great need of you
So we may  know your loving care
Take hold of us with Your love,
Bind our wounds
Make us whole
Make all things new
To know your voice
To know your care
To know your healing presence
So we may freely
And wholly give ourselves to you

Morning Talk: chuck smith, jr.
[Jesus] went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them Mark 2:13

Intro: If you haven’t noticed,

There’s a pattern that many sermons and Christian books follow
– the preacher or author begin with a problem:
• what Christians or churches are doing wrong – or not doing
• then in the sermon or book they set out to solve the problem
◦ for instance, what we’re supposed to do and how to do it right
– every week people hear their preacher begin by pointing out their shortcomings
• not praying enough, giving enough, their faith isn’t strong enough, etc.
• people go to church or read books, because they hunger for God
◦ they are burdened, worn out, anxious about their family and future,
◦ some are unemployed, or perhaps a single mom, a lonely senior, a confused teen
• and in the first minutes of listening or reading, they get beaten down
– the way of Jesus is not to condemn people or place heavy yoke on them
• but he welcomes, clothes, feeds, heals, reassures, and loves them

Mark chapter 2 records four episodes of Jesus’ run-ins with the “religion police”
– they’re like a dark cloud wherever he goes
• he wasn’t looking for trouble, but he kept getting into trouble
◦ they questioned his words and actions, or his disciples’ actions
• in fact, those questions move the plot through the chapter from one episode to the next
◦ and each question that Jesus is asked begins with, “Why?”
◦ Jesus is pressured by the religion police to defend himself or his disciples
– typical of his teaching style, Jesus uses
• analogies, word pictures, and examples from the OT
• what does Mark want us to get from each of these episodes?
◦ for me, he wants to give us a glimpse of Jesus and the mystery of who he is
◦ the light of God shines through Jesus in Mark chapter 2

Jesus is the Son of ManWhy does this man speak like that?

Capernaum was a lovely, little seaside village
– Jesus returned there (cf. Mk. 1:21) and was teaching in someone’s home
• four men brought a paralyzed friend – but the house was too crowded for them to get him inside
◦ so went up on roof, dug through ceiling, lowered friend down into the room where Jesus taught
this would cause most preachers to lose their composure
– but it was exactly the kind of thing Lonnie Frisbee would have loved
• I know of specific instances when while speaking Lonnie was interrupted by some bizarre event
◦ he always seemed comfortable when that happened, as if he knew what was going on and what God’s Spirit wanted him to say and do
• that is how Jesus responded to this strange intrusion

Jesus’ first words to paralytic, “Son, you sins are forgiven”
– I think that would perturb me if I was one of the friends who brought him to Jesus
“I didn’t help carry him all the way here for that!”
• meanwhile, the religion police were offended and outraged
Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone? (v. 7)
◦ they were asking themselves two questions: why and who
◦ now if they had the answer to the Who question, they would have had the answer to the Why question
• Jesus called them out, and answered them with a demonstration of what he had authority to do
– this is the truth that was revealed: The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins
• “Son of Man” identifies him as one of us – one with us
◦ in the next chapter, he uses same expression, only plural
◦ “the sons of man” refers to all of humankind (Mk. 3:28)
“Has authority on earth to forgive sins”
on earth, because this is where we live, this is where we suffer, and this is where we sin
◦ forgiveness is a major healing and the beginning of our complete healing
◦ it goes to the deepest roots of all that is wrong in our lives

Jesus is a PhysicianWhy does he eat with tax collectors and sinners

Mark describes a shocking scene
– the first shock: Jesus calls a tax collector to follow him
• the second shock comes in verse 15
And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus
• when I came to this passage in 2008, I was reading the New American Standard Bible
◦ the NASB has a note in the margin for the word “sinners”: “irreligious Jews.”
◦ when I read that, I wrote:
I’m not sure why this notation was placed here, because there is nothing in the original language to justify it. It was someone’s interpretation of the kind of guests who were present at Matthew’s dinner party. But the attempt to soften the word “sinners” is pathetic.
“Forgive us, O God, that we deny Jesus’ descent into the darkest places among the truly sinful. We try to protect the purity of his image. We tell other Christians that it is not okay to hang out with sinners. Forgive us for trying to justify our resistance to being among people who do not share our faith or are antagonistic to it. Forgive our resistance to loving them, even though that is what the Lord taught us by his example. Don’t let us forget what we were.”
– I am forever amazed and grateful for Jesus’ answer in verse 17
Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.
• I am one of his patients – and that means I am his problem
◦ I cannot heal myself (any more than paralytic could stand up on his own)
• Jesus moves among all the broken people
◦ caring for them, defending them, and defending his love for them

Jesus is a BridegroomWhy do . . . your disciples not fast?

I hear another unasked question:
“How come your disciples aren’t as dismal, unpleasant, and depressing as John’s disciples and the religion police?”
– the answer was, “Because my disciples are at a wedding, not a funeral”
• they had not learned to be miserable from Jesus
◦ fasting is a way of expressing grief and contrition
• they had his forgiveness, his help, his love – they had hope
◦ they were following Jesus, not religion
– Jesus went on to use analogies – a new patch on new cloth and new wine in new wine skins
• the kind of fasting they did was a duty, a routine piety
• wine sometimes has positive connotations in scripture–cf. Jdg. 9:13; Ps. 104:14-15
◦ Jesus’ first miracle mentioned in John’s gospel was when he turned water into wine at wedding
– the old religious system was not ready for this,
• it was an old wine skin that could not accommodate the new wine
• some Christians believe there’s a spiritual advantage to fasting
◦ but every spiritual need we have is fulfilled in Jesus

Jesus is like DavidWhy are they doing what is not lawful?

Years ago I learned a valuable truth from a seminary professor
Chuck Kraft, “The Scriptures are inspired–our interpretations are not inspired.”
– interpretations change as we learn more about the Bible
• they also change with cultural shifts (e.g., when women began wearing slacks in mid-20th century)
• Jesus’ disciples were not breaking any Sabbath law,
◦ but the were violating one of the interpretations of Sabbath law
– David provided a good example of the Lord’s point
– Jesus’ actions were similar to David’s, and Jesus had disciples as David had his companions
• it was a bold comparison – the Messiah would be a descendant of David
• but then Jesus makes an even bolder statement

Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath
The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath(vv. 27-28)

In the Old Testament, God set strict boundaries around the Sabbath
– he was adamant about Sabbath-keeping, and required Israel to treat it seriously
• so who is this Son of Man that God would make him lord of the Sabbath?
◦ Jesus is saying that God has authorized him to make the Sabbath rules
◦ or at least to be the one who interprets the rules correctly
• this rattles the entire law and how they understood and used it
◦ we must look at it through new eyes — the Sabbath was made for men and women
◦ and we must look at Jesus with those same eyes if we want to know God’s purposes for us

Conclusion: I have one other meditation from this chapter I want to share with you

He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him (v. 13)
“Reading these words, I longed to be there. Right now, I do not want to read another book, or listen to a sermon, or learn of someone’s method of prayer. I wish I could follow Jesus down to the beach and listen to whatever is on his mind. Jesus would not concern himself with being profound or clever. I doubt he would have “three points,” or use alliteration, or acronyms, or any other “preacher gimmicks.”
If we walked together alone, I would ask him, ‘Lord, what is wrong with me? What do You want from me that I haven’t been giving You? From Your perspective, what’s the most important concern of my life? What should have my undivided attention in this stage of life?’
Two times in this chapter Jesus was either preaching or teaching (vv. 1-2 and13). Mark doesn’t give us an indication that Jesus had planned to preach or teach, and in neither instance does Mark report what Jesus taught–not one word of it. Everything was spontaneous. Jesus’ words were for that moment; they fit what was happening in that moment. That is what I want: spontaneity. To be with Jesus and hear whatever he has to say for this moment. To be free from all past and all future moments. What is Jesus doing here, now?”

What happens when we take those meaningful walks along the shore?
Jesus stretches the imagination of our faith
And deepens the reservoir of our love

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