In Jesus’ Words: Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-3:6)

God made the Sabbath for mankind, not the other way around. This next story of Jesus shows another example of Jesus’ deity as the Son of God, because here Jesus demonstrates authority even over the Sabbath. But before we get into the story, what does it mean to be the Son of God? This is where there can be much confusion. “Son of” means to be in the direct line of, or in this case, God. God does this by manifesting Himself into the human image of Jesus. Though it may sound strange at first, the Old Testament is filled with stories of God walking among the people, and other spiritual beings and angels not like us. It is actually right in line with God’s character and the rest of the Bible. And as the Son of God, Jesus was also the first to call God, “Father”, a concept that was not used prior to Jesus. It is just one more example of His deity.

~ Jesus Questioned About Working on the Sabbath ~
Mark 2:23 – 3:6

On the Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and His disciples began to make their way picking some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read what David and those who were with him did when he was in need and hungry— how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest and ate the sacred bread—which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests—and also gave some to his companions?” Then He told them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Now Jesus entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a paralyzed hand. In order to accuse Him, they were watching Him closely to see whether He would heal him on the Sabbath. He told the man with the paralyzed hand, “Stand before us.” Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do what is good or to do what is evil, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. After looking around at them with anger and sorrow at the hardness of their hearts, He told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. Immediately the Pharisees went out and started plotting with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.

There are three similar-sounding titles for Jesus: “Son of God”, “Son of Man”, and “Son of David”. What is the difference and why three titles?

Like God, just one title for Jesus cannot cover all his attributes, but these are also three specific claims:
Son of God – in the line of God. God manifested Himself in the image of Jesus. God in the flesh.
Son of Man – only Jesus calls Himself this title. It refers to his humanity, and his ability to identify with our suffering and struggles.
Son of David – in the line of David. Jesus is directly descended from the genealogy of King David through Mary’s blood line, and his earthly father, Joseph, carries the legal line from tribe of Judah. This fulfills the prophecy from the early Israelites and King David’s time.

In Jesus’ Words: Why are you not fasting? (Mark 2:18-22)

In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees required fasting twice a week for orthodox Judaism, even though the Old Testament law prescribed only one fast on the Day of Atonement. But Jesus was not doing this and some people questioned why not. Jesus went about teaching and healing and dining with people. Jesus brought life and joy with Him, not mourning.

Even today, our faith in Jesus should bring us joy, comfort us, give us hope. There may be times for fasting, but I believe they are rare. Unless it is done for all the right reasons and in private, then one is just merely going through the motions of a good diet or cleansing. Jesus came to replace the old, external traditions of rituals and self-righteousness, to give us new, internal traditions of repentance and grace! It is freeing, and it is joy! Don’t pour the new wine into old wineskins!

~ Jesus Questioned About Fasting ~
Mark 2:18-22

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”

Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”

In Jesus’ Words: Follow Me (Mark 2:13-17)

Do you remember that feeling when you got picked for the team in school? It probably made you feel happy or relieved. Or maybe you remember not getting picked, and it seemed to make your whole day feel even worse.  Everyone wants to belong somewhere, to know they have worth. We want to feel, that even though we might not be very good or have made some stupid mistakes, someone believes in us anyway, and likes the potential they see in us. Well, that’s exactly what Jesus did, and how he made people feel.

Jesus was known for dining with sinners and tax collectors. Tax collectors were in a category all by themselves and considered the biggest sinners of all. It would have been scandalous in those days to be seen with them, much less dine at their house. Now, Jesus was not hanging out with them to call out their sins or to prove his point, which he certainly had the authority to do. He was there for one thing: Follow Me! Jesus saw their potential over the bad. He was giving them a chance. They had been picked for the team!

~ The Call of Matthew, Dining with Sinners ~
Mark 2:13-17

Then Jesus went out again beside the sea. The whole crowd was coming to Him, and He taught them. Then, moving on, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” So he got up and followed Him.

While He was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also guests with Jesus and His disciples, because there were many who were following Him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked His disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew went on to follow Jesus the rest of his life, giving up his rich lifestyle. He wrote a book about Jesus’s life which became one of the four gospels. He went on to minister to Persia, Macedonia, Syria and Ethiopia to bring the good news to kings and sinners, and he never regretted that day he was picked or his decision to follow.

In Jesus’ Words: We have never seen anything like this! (Mark 2:1-12)

Which is easier – to forgive someone’s sins, or to heal their physical body?  We have medical doctors, medicine and hospitals that can do great things today to heal the body, but we still only have one person who has ever claimed to be able to forgive your sins for eternity, and that is Jesus.  No other person, no matter what religion or belief, has ever even attempted to make that claim.  And that one single claim is the difference, and it’s a big difference.  It’s worth checking out the person who made this claim.

Jesus had no agenda of his own, and did not seek fame on his own.  Everything he did pointed to God, whom He called His Father.  The crowds that followed Him said it all – “We have never seen anything like this!”

I have to insert a little humor here as you read this story.  Imagine Jesus speaking to the crowds, people hanging on his every word, some serious perhaps, and all of a sudden these four guys start cutting into the roof and lowering this guy down into the room. People gasp!  But Jesus stays calm, and maybe he even smiles and laughs a little to himself as he sees what lengths these guys have gone.  Jesus was not put off.  I like to think that Jesus, who was also fully human, takes delight in our persistence and creativity of our faith to see Him.  He enjoyed people.

 The Son of Man Forgives and Heals
Mark 2: 1-12

When Jesus entered Capernaum again after some days, it was reported that He was at home. So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway, and He was speaking the message to them. Then they came to Him bringing a paralytic, carried by four men. Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above where He was. And when they had broken through, they lowered the mat on which the paralytic was lying.

Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

But some of the scribes were sitting there, thinking to themselves: “Why does He speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Right away Jesus understood in His spirit that they were thinking like this within themselves and said to them, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’? But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” He told the paralytic, “I tell you: get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”

Immediately he got up, picked up the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Would you climb through the roof of a crowded room if you knew Jesus could heal you?

There is true help for anyone.

Three classmates by the age of 22.  Almost one per year since my son graduated high school.  That’s how many of my son’s school friends have committed suicide or fatally overdosed since high school.  The count is four if I also include my cousin’s son in those numbers.  These were all good kids from good families with promising futures.  I’ll never forget the look on my son’s face the day he came home from that first funeral.  He was 18 and just starting college, not too long after having listened to a hope-inspired send-off from his high school graduation ceremony, and now he was suddenly thrust into the real world with real-world consequences.  These classmates of his earlier school years had all eventually gone to different schools, but there is something agonizing about looking back on your youth, remembering those cub scout days together and playing Star Wars, and wondering how did it get to this?  Suicide has become an epidemic, especially among young men age 18-25.  In each case, there was something troubling each of them deep within, something no one could reach or know what to do with.  I don’t understand it because I have never been there, but for those family and friends left behind to deal with it, they know that suicide is not the answer.

There is something attacking our society, attacking us, our families and our friends.  It should not be so casually blamed on things (fill in the blank).  It’s more than that.  It’s evil that is invading our society.  Period.  Jesus warns us in John 10:10 that “the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy”, and by any means possible.  The closer it gets to Jesus’ return to earth, the more evil activity Satan tries to stir up in a last-attempt effort to destroy mankind.  And while I don’t pretend to know what someone may be personally going through, I do know there is only one answer that will truly work.  Jesus mentions it in the second part of John 10:10 when He says, “but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  Jesus promises you life, and peace and rest, no matter who you are or what you’ve done.  Jesus doesn’t look at your past.  He is only interested in your future.  No one else on this earth offers the love, grace, forgiveness, help, and wisdom that Jesus does, and no one else promises victory over evil.  Why wouldn’t you want to follow His promises?  I cannot think of any better option on this earth, so I hope you’ll give Jesus a try.  You just might be surprised at what He can do if you let Him.

I hope you will join me as I continue in my study series, In Jesus’ Words, where I look specifically at the recorded words of Jesus, by going directly to the source and blocking out all the other noise out there.  For if Jesus is who he says he is, then His words matter, a lot.  They are the most important thing we have.

1-800-273-talk(8255)
suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Find a counselor to talk with. Most health insurances and churches can recommend someone.
Sometimes it may take a few tries to find the right one, just like with anything else, but keep trying.