We would be blessed if you would join us Easter Sunday as we talk about the new hope to be found in the risen Savior!
This message is the conclusion of a series of ten lessons about discipleship from the first two chapters of Mark. Mark, of course, is just getting started in his gospel as he continues toward the glorious resurrection of Jesus in chapter 16. It is fitting for us to end this section of our study with some reflections on the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Today’s text is Mark 2:23-27 (HCSB):
On the Sabbath He 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?” He 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.”
The background information on this section is much more dense than we can cover in today’s lesson. The sacred bread and the priestly duties plays a part (Exodus 25). The story of David taking the bread is not a high point for David (1 Samuel 21). He is on the run from King Saul who is trying to kill him. Because of his actions here nearly 100 priests are destroyed by Saul. David flees to Gath, home of the giant Goliath whom he slew earlier in his life. Jesus brings this story up to show that his disciples are not under any condemnation for what they have done on the Sabbath. All of these details that are somewhat familiar to us are very familiar and flashing through the minds of the Pharisees. It is harder for us to make those connections and to see why Jesus brings up this story. But we can see some important insights for disciples today.
The Disciples are Condemned Under the Lordship of the Pharisees.
Even though Jesus’ ministry is relatively new, the Pharisees are already calling him down as a rule breaker and rebel. Throughout his ministry the Pharisees, Scribes, Sadducees – the religious powers that were clinging on to the old wineskins of yesterday – rejected Jesus and his teachings. Even though it was true that the disciples were not breaking any of the commands of God, they were breaking the traditions of the rabbis. This was a crucial moment where Jesus would either declare that he was there to continue the rabbinic tradition or the kingdom of God had broken through.
In Mark 8:14 Jesus told his disciples: “Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees…” Even though they had seen him feed 5,000 people they still asked for a sign. The ears of the Pharisee are closed by judgments and rejection.
Great caution must be exercised in making the tradition of men into the laws of God. It is easy for a well-intentioned plan to become the ‘sacred cow’ of the next generation. We can’t be so busy judging others that we fail to hear Jesus reminding us that He is Lord. In this passage Jesus reminds of three things bout His Lordship.
1. The Lordship of Jesus is Focused on Mercy. (The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. ~Mark 2:27)
What should a hungry David have done when food was nearby? The Pharisees would have focused on the law, Jesus focused on the need. As with his disciples. In just the first few chapters of Mark we have seen the authority of Jesus on display!
*Taught as one who had authority
*Cast out demons, demonstrating authority, and healing a man.
*Forgave the sin of the paralytic, blessing him with healing.
*Allowed his disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath.
*In chapter 3 He heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath.
Jesus constantly moves to help people by interrupting teaching times, breaking traditional man made laws, and touching the untouchable. In Matthew’s account Jesus made this statement:
If you had known what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent. ~ Matthew 12:7
This is our calling as disciples. In what way is your life focused on helping others?
2. The Lordship of Jesus is an Irritant to the Self-Directed. (The Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” ~Mark 2:24)
The Pharisees had built hundreds of laws around the Word of God and treated their laws as equal to God’s. They were irritated by the way Jesus exercised his Lordship here. The traditions of the Pharisees were not only regarded as equal with God’s, they enforced them in a burdensome way upon the people of their day. Yet while they enforced their law on others, they found loopholes for themselves. Jesus addressed this in Matthew 15:
These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men. ~Matthew 15:8-9
Two observations about Jesus and Tradition:
*Jesus did not reject tradition. He was a Jewish man who lived under the law of Moses. He did many traditional Jewish things such as going to the synogogue, engaging in passover meals, honoring his mother, and living the life of a rabbi. Tradition is not evil or bad – and can be very good.
*Jesus did not place traditions of men on equal par with teachings of God. In fact, when it was a matter of justice or of treating someone with dignity, He always broke tradition to express the love of God to someone else. The woman at the well in John 4 is a great example of this.
When we are self-directed we are more willing to follow our own traditions than to adopt the mission and message of Jesus. The disciple will always yield to the direction of Jesus.
3. The Lordship of Jesus is the Guiding Factor of Disciples. (Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath. ~Mark 2:28)
Jesus said, “Follow Me” and that is the Disciple’s greatest goal. Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.”
On Palm Sunday the crowds will welcome Jesus into Jerusalem with enthusiasm and worship.
Then those who went ahead and those who followed kept shouting: Hosanna! He who comes in the name of the Lord is the blessed One! ~ Mark 11:9
As disciples we are committed to the Lordship of Jesus in our own lives and will spend a lifetime pursuing His will.
John Mark Hicks’ thoughts on this passage HERE.
LifeGroup Discussion Questions
1. The Pharisees capitalized on making laws. When you were growing up there were probably certain rules in your household. Can you name a rule you use in your home today that was one of those from your own childhood?
2. What are some traditions of the church today that are treated as essential sometimes? What kinds of things should guide us if we consider leaving behind a tradition of the past?
3. Jesus is always focused on helping others. Our church does do some things to help others. In what way would like to see us grow in this area? In what ways do you wish our church was helping others? What can you do to help move us along in that direction?
4. This year we have covered ten marks of discipleship in Mark. Some of them certainly overlap in themes. From the review below, which one resonated with you most and tell us why? Feel free to look back at the Scriptures listed.
Mark 1:4-11 - The baptism of Jesus taught us to be submissive to the will of God.
Mark 1:12-13 – Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness taught us to resist temptation using the Word of God.
Mark 1:14-20 – The calling of the fishermen taught us the value of listening to Him.
Mark 1:21-28 – The teaching in the synagogue taught us the authority of the teachings of Jesus.
Mark 1:29-39 – The teaching journeys of Jesus throughout the communities taught us the mission of spreading the kingdom.
Mark 1:40-45 – The healing of the leper taught us the willingness of Jesus to heal and cleanse and touch.
Mark 2:1-12 – The forgiving of the paralytic that came before healing taught us the premium Jesus placed on forgiveness and forgiving others.
Mark 2:13-17 – The calling of tax collector Levi and the dinner party at his house with sinners taught us Jesus’ heart for the outcasts of society – and how we are to be.
Mark 2:18-22 – The story of the old wineskins and new wine taught us that Jesus was bringing a new way of thinking and faith that challenges us to grow.
Mark 2:23 – 22 – The Lordship of Jesus shows us that he is not just a religious leader, but he is Lord over our traditions, over our own ways, and over our lives.
We will have a special lesson for Easter Sunday next week. The LifeGroups will not be meeting but we will have a 6:00 worship assembly.
When LifeGroups return we will be studying 1 John for six weeks.
Tonight we will have our Wednesday Night Bible Classes for all ages. In the adult class Eddie Enlow will continue the series through Hebrews 11 called Heroes of Faith. He will talk about Samuel. Everyone is welcome to attend!
GriefShare also continues from 6:00 – 8:00. Royce and Carol Ogle will lead the group tonight.
Bible Class 9:30
Join us for worship on Easter Sunday!