Knowing Jesus thru the gospel of Mark -part4
By Ysrael De la Cruz
We have been journeying through the gospel of Mark so that we get to know Jesus better. Each writer of the gospel emphasizes certain aspects of Jesus. Mark begins his writing telling us that Jesus is the Son of God. Mark emphasized Jesus’ authority in the way he taught the people. The Bible reminds us that people were amazed at his teaching because he taught them as one with authority and not as the teachers of the law. Mark highlights Jesus’s authority to heal and to cast out demons. He healed people of various diseases and freed people from the power of Satan. Last week we learned that Jesus also has authority to forgive sins. This one reminds us that Jesus is God in the flesh. The religious people, the Jews knew that only God has the power to forgive sins. They just missed the fact that God was among them in human form. You can’t read the gospel of Mark and not see Jesus’ authority displayed in what he said and did.
Today we will look at another incident in the ministry of Jesus and see what we can learn about his identity.
Mark tells us that this took place on a Sabbath day. (Matthew 12:1-8// Luke 6:1-11)
The Pharisees (the righteous ones), religious group during the time of Jesus. They upheld the oral traditions of the law. They believed in the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament, they believed in angels, demons, the soul and the afterlife. They were expecting a Messiah, a king like David to come and restore the kingdom to Israel.
They did not see Jesus as the coming Messiah, they saw him as a threat. An impostor. They fiercely opposed Jesus’ ministry.
They brought Jesus a complaint. (v.24) Why are they doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?
They saw the disciples’ action of plucking heads of grain as a violation of the Sabbath law. Why are they doing something they are not supposed to do on the Sabbath?
What the disciples did was permitted to do in the law according to Deuteronomy 23:25. The Pharisees had an issue with the day in which they did this.
Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees (v.25-26)
Haven’t you read what David did when he was in need? Jesus related a story found in 1 Samuel 21:1-6. David was a fugitive, and he went to the priest to get supplies for his men. He needed bread and the priest did not have any bread except the bread of the presence which only the priest could eat. The priest gave David the bread so he and his men could eat. Jesus told them this story to teach them about the true meaning of the Sabbath. It was made to benefit people, not to burden them. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (v.27) The Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath. (v.28)
Jesus just showed them that he had authority over the Sabbath for he is Lord of it; he created it for the benefit of mankind; he did not create it so that people be overwhelmed by what you can do and not do on the Sabbath.
The disciples were hungry when they picked up the grains; they did it to meet their needs. This is why Jesus told the story of David, what David did when he was in need.
In chapter 3 Jesus did something else to show them the point of the Sabbath
Again, Jesus entered the synagogue and there was a man who needed healing. He had a withered hand (his right hand according to Luke)
The Pharisees watched Jesus to see if he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse (v.2)
Notice the religious people’s agenda to check Jesus out for the purpose of accusing him.
Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm. To save life or to kill?”
They did not respond to Jesus. You can see Jesus’ anger at these people. He was grieved by their hardness of heart.
Jesus healed the man (v.5) “Stretch out your hand,” and when he did, it was restored.
(v.6)The Pharisees went out immediately and held counsel with the Herodians against Jesus. They plotted how they would kill Jesus.
This is what usually happens when people see Jesus as a threat. They want to get rid of him at all cost. They Pharisees are joining forces with the Herodians so they could destroy Jesus. Instead of recognizing Jesus’ authority and committing themselves to follow him, they rather get rid of Jesus.
Jesus showed his authority over the Sabbath law; he taught them how the Sabbath was made for the benefit of people. Jesus healed on the Sabbath because it is always right to do good on any day, even the Sabbath. Jesus, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath. Religion will imprison you; Jesus came to set you free. He is the one with all the authority, it was shown in his teaching, in healing people, in casting out demons. He has authority to forgive sins; he has authority over a religious holiday or festival. He is Lord of all.