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Bible Commentaries
Mark 2

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-12

  1. Intro:
    1. News swelled around Capernaum. Peters mother-in-law was healed; many others were healed, the demon possessed exorcised; even a leper was made spot free!
      1. Hope again washed ashore this little lakeside village of Capernaum…because Jesus was “in the house”!
    1. ​​​​​​​What was he preaching? – Current events? 10 ways to be a better person? How to grow a successful business? Capitalism & Christianity? How to gather a crowd?...No, He preached the word to them.
      1. This word Preached isn’t one of the 2 most common Greek words used, “to proclaim, or to bring good tidings”. - Instead it is λαλεο to speak”. It means a conversation, or a conversation kind of tone.
      2. Listen every Small Group Leader…The Jesus Style was simple, down-to-earth, an easy-to-understand conversational language!
    2. And right in the middle of Jesus teaching the word we are interrupted with a divine distraction(see vs.3)...Then they came! Who? What?
  3. GO IN OR GIVE UP? (3-5)
    1. ​​​​​​​A Paralytic – Life for him was pretty much reduced to a horizontal one.
      1. No Assisted Living like Murrieta Gardens down the street. No skilled nursing facility like Country Villa on the corner. No Rancho Physical Therapy. No miracle drug. No medical breakthroughs. No specialist. No Orthopedic nor Neurosurgeon.
        1. Life as he knew it was a 3’x6’ pallet prison! (bedroll, mat, poor man’s bed)
      2. His life, in his culture & time period, could be summed up to “dependency, humiliation, confinement, boredom, loneliness, frustration, & despair.”…until this special day!
    2. Four Men & a Brainstorm!
    3. Ok they were latecomers…but faith brought them!
      1. Do we go in or give up?
      2. They weren’t put off by the crowd of people thronging the front door.
        1. How often I hear of people being put off coming to church because “the parking lot was full”…How sad!
      3. They didn’t use the excuse, “It must not be the Lord” when they couldn’t get in the front door.
      4. They could have said, “Well, we got him this far.” “We tried.”
      5. They weren’t put off by the crowd of people that shooed & shushed them away! - They thought hmmm…“The outside stairs!!!”
        1. ​​​​​​​Explain homes: Flat roof. Formed by beams & rafters, across which matting, branches, & twigs, were covered by earth, then packed hard.
        2. And so we have light starting to stream in. Eight hands digging through the roof. Dust everywhere. People coughing. Dirt particles fallin on the religious leaders Armani suits!
    4. Jesus saw their faith! - Not the paralytic’s faith(that we know of), but the Faithful Fab Four’s Fantastic Phenomenal Faith!
      1. This was risky! They could fall. Worse, they could drop him.
      2. Jesus saw persistent, creative, & sacrificial faith!
      3. Jesus saw 4 sweaty men willing to put a shoulder to their faith!
      4. Jesus saw a faith that laughs at barriers!
        1. Philip Yancey, Faith is believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse
      5. ​​​​​​​But wait...they tore up someone’s roof, interrupted a home bible study, & inconvenienced everyone else that was listening.
        1. Well, Jesus did say, regarding his kingdom, “the violent take it by force.” Mt.11:12
        2. See, faith does these things. Faith is unconventional. Faith does the unexpected. And Faith gets God’s attention :)
      6. What’s more important a roof or a man? (They weren’t asking, does he have homeowners insurance)
        1. Maybe they fixed it after. Actually, it would be pretty easy to do.
        2. Too many people are more interested in the place or the program instead of the people!
          1. So, when they’re confronted with the decision Go in or give up? They take the later.
      7. Pastor Ray Stedman uncovered their names: Frank Faith, Harry Hope, Larry Love, & Dan Determination.
        1. Frank Faith said, “I believe we can get this man to Jesus.” Harry Hope said, “I believe there is hope for this man” Larry Love said, “I really love this guy. I hate his sin, but love him.” Dan Determination said, Let’s roll!
    5. Who will Bring Them?
    6. Many people will never come to Jesus unless somebody brings them!
    7. The bible doesn’t say anywhere that sinners are to come to church, Everywhere in the bible it is clear the church is to go where sinners are!
      1. We are to be engaged in going out where sp cripples are & bringing them to Jesus!
      2. I love the fact that any morning down the street at Starbucks we have a number of people from church there. What a great opportunity to associate with our neighbors of our community.
        1. In our So Cal culture, this seems to be our “gate to the city” our “1st century well.” [Where people hung out, talked, caught up, & visited]
          1. Strike up conversations with people.
    8. Caring for Shut-Ins!
    9. ​​​​​​​The paralytic’s friends provided a model for caring for shut-ins!
    10. What are some practical ways we can follow their example?
      1. Do you know anyone that is bed ridden? Anyone in a convalescent home? Anyone in the hospital? Anyone lonely?
      2. Take them communion! Bring them Worship! Take them Prayer! Take them a Daily Bread devotional! Show them how to listen in on the radio or online! Take them a worship CD! Take them a short bible study!
      3. Go out & find someone to minister to. “But people are too busy!” Then go do Prison or hospital visitation; or to a Convalescent home.
        1. Just go to where people are! Find a need & meet it.
      4. We need to “raise some roofs” in order to get people to Jesus!
      5. We need to do some difficult, out-of-the-ordinary, irregular things.
        1. May our Motto be...No crowd too thick; no stairs too steep; no wall too high to climb; no roof too thick! [Or sing...There ain't no mountain high enough, Ain't no valley low enough, ain't no river wide enough To keep me from getting to you]
    11. Slide #20 The Prince meets the Paralytic!
    12. The Prince meets the Paralytic & the face of God smiles & says, “Be of good cheer/ courage!” (in Mt.9:2) then, “Son, your sins are forgiven you!”
      1. Doctors estimate that 50% of all physical sickness comes from emotional & spiritual problems: bitterness in spirit, an unforgiving spirit, holding grudges.
        1. ​​​​​​​The most easily identified is probably the “ulcer” which are not caused by what you are eating but by what is eating you!
      2. The problem you are facing today is not your wife or husband, not your boss, & not your parents. Your problem is sin.
  4. SPECTATING SPIES! (6-12) [or Creepy Critics!]
    1. Sitting there? – They could jumped up & lifted a hand. – Here were the real paralytics!
    2. (8b) Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? - Imagine this morning here in church, the person in front of you...turns around right now & points to you & asks, “Why did you just think that thought?”
      1. How scary to have your mind & heart read! [further proof of who He was]
      2. But now Jesus is about to trap the trappers!
        1. ​​​​​​​No matter how many times Wile E. Coyote tried to trap the Road Runner in all his ACME traps…He always ended up in his own trap!
    3. Their Reasoning went like this: If this Jesus claims the power to forgive sins. And, only God can forgive sin. Therefore, Jesus just claimed to be God!
      1. Precisely the point. Their reasoning was exact…but it didn’t bring them to Christ.
      2. “If that hole in the roof teaches us anything, it’s that faith is what brings a person to Jesus, not intellectual reasoning’s. Curiosity crowded the classroom, but it was faith that dug through the roof to bring the paralytic to the feet of Christ.” (Ken Gire, Incredible Moments, pg.25.)
    4. Which is easier? – Both are easy to say. But both are equally impossible to dounless of course...you are God!
      1. In that case one is as easy as the other!
      2. Any Charlatan or snake charmer could say, “your sins are forgiven!”
      3. Jesus does here, what NO mortal man can do…forgive sins!
        1. ​​​​​​​No person, no priest, no pastor, no denomination can do this!
      4. Jesus, so moved by this faith, applauds it, if not with his hands, with his heart. (Max Lucado, Mark, pg.22.)
        1. And you & I get to witness a divine loveburst!
    5. What is Christianity? What is the distinctive thing that Christianity has to proclaim to men? – The forgiveness of sin!
      1. ​​​​​​​The healing of the body is a great miracle, but it does not last.
      2. The forgiveness of sin is God’s greatest miracle, for it lasts forever & accomplishes the greatest good!
        1. “God’s goal isn’t to do a patchwork job on our lives…He came to make us whole!” (Warren Wiersbe, pg.656)
      3. Spiritual healing is of much more value then a physical one. When Jesus heals a person’s spirit in salvation, there is also the healing of bitterness, hatred, lust, anger, gossip, & the like.
      4. Physical paralysis is terrible, but worse yet is spiritual paralysis!
        1. We are all spiritual cripples.
        2. We are all Mephibosheth’s (Saul’s grandson) who was crippled!
          1. His nurse was fleeing during war time with the baby & fell & dropped him.
        3. We are all spiritual cripples because of a fall. When Adam & Eve fell the whole human race fell.
          1. For when we were still w/o strength[crippled], in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)
    6. How do you picture them departing? - I picture 5 grown men, arm-in-arm, laughing, even skipping down the street, w/tears of joy streaming down their cheeks!
    7. (12a) Note: he doesn’t wobble like a newborn colt. Showing not only was the paralysis gone, but muscles had been strengthened.
      1. The crowd that refused him entrance, now parts like the Red Sea in amazement, to make way for his exit!
      2. The bed that carried him, he now carried. Once the sign of his sickness, now the sign of his cure!
        1. Like the man who’s money was his life. It was his only interest. It was all he lived for. Money was the sign of his sickness. Then he gets saved & starts using his money to serve Jesus & get people to Jesus. The sign of his sickness is now the sign of his cure!
    8. Has Jesus ever said to you, “Your sins are forgiven?”
    9. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A little boy had disobeyed his mother, he got out his slate chalkboard & wrote, “Mom, I’m sorry I was bad. If you forgive me, wipe this out.” The next time he came by, his mother had wiped it clean.
      1. Jesus has promised to do exactly that for you.
      2. Even better, Job says, My transgression is sealed up in a bag, And You cover (plaster over) my iniquity. (Job 14:17)

Verses 13-17

  1. Intro:
    1. Outline: A Conversion; A Celebration; & A Clinician!
    2. Read Jason’s Mower story:
    3. Slowly the synagogue door was closing on Jesus.
      1. The guardian’s of Jewish Orthodoxy was declaring war on Him.
      2. So...to the seaside He goes. Open air, fresh breeze, short walk...let’s join Jesus on the shore of Galilee, in Capernaum.
  2. A CONVERSION! (13,14) An Invitation to Follow!
    1. BACKDROP!
    2. Tax Collector – We have many tax collector jokes.
      1. A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.
      2. ​​​​​​​In order to simplify tax collections in the near future the IRS will issue a new easier to use tax form.
        1. How much money did you make this year? ________
        2. SEND IT IN
      3. IRS agent to taxpayer: "I'm afraid we can't allow you to deduct last year's tax as a bad investment."
      4. IRS - Be audit you can be
        1. ​​​​​​​Today we make jokes, but in biblical times...they were Hated!
    3. Tax office – This was a tax station in Capernaum on an important trade route. Tax collectors were also used to excise taxes for port duties & fishing tolls.
      1. Traveling from the Roman province to the N/E the 1st town a traveler would come to was Capernaum(see blue arrow). Thus the tax office was placed on this busy thoroughfare.
        1. 2 main roads: Via Maris(in purple), King's Highway (in red). [The imp land bridge between Europe & Africa] All traffic must go through here. It was 1 of the great roads of the world! ["Via Maris" is Latin and means "the Way of the Sea" from Mt 4:15]
    4. The Romans collected their taxes through a system called “Tax Farming” (like our Franchises today)
      1. They assessed a tax figure, then sold the right to collect taxes to the highest bidder.
    5. There were 2 kinds of taxes in those days: Stated Taxes & other Duties.
      1. Stated TaxesPoll Tax (all men 14-65, women 12-65 had to pay just for being alive); Ground Tax (1/10th of all grain; & 1/5th all wine/oil produced); also there was a Tax on fish (which is what Capernaum was famous for); Income Tax (1% of one’s annual income).
      2. Duties – Here was the most opportunity for abuse.
        1. These were taxes for: using roads, harbor docks, sales tax, import/export duties. A Tax was even paid on a cart…each wheel was taxed!
      3. If you didn’t have the money to pay NO PROBLEM!...they also loaned money…at an exorbitant rate! (today we call them credit cards)
      4. They were “Trained Extortionists”!
        1. Barclay said, “So rare was honesty in the profession that a Roman writer said he once saw a monument to an honest Tax collector!”
      5. The Jewish tax collectors were most despised(as Daffy Duck wud say despicable!)
        1. These Jews couldn’t serve as a judge or a witness in a court session.
        2. They were excommunicated from the synagogues!
    6. All of this made Jesus’ dealing w/Levi, the tax collector incredible!!!
      1. Yet, didn’t this become one of Jesus’ trademarks in His ministry?
      2. Saving such individuals like: Mary Magdalene (7 demons); Zacchaeus (another tax guy); The adulterous woman that was brought to him; The 5 time divorcee at the well. Oh & You & I.
    7. (14a) As He passed by – Even as he is walking along He was looking for opportunities!
      1. Jesus was never off duty!
        1. Lord, help us to look for men/women who need You...as we walk!
      2. And Jesus wanted the man...no one else wanted! :)
    8. Mark says, He saw Levi - Luke states, He saw a tax collector; Matthew says of himself, He saw a man.
      1. Levi was a well hated man. Jesus you want a Tax Collector as a disciple???
      2. When “low-life Levi” got saved, do you think that many said, “he won’t last”?
        1. Did anyone doubt whether you’d last as a Christian?
      3. Levi received a name change to Matthew...“Gift of God”!
      4. Centuries ago a number of workmen were seen dragging a great marble block into the city of Florence, Italy. It had come from the famous marble quarry of Carrara, & was intended to be made into a statue of a great OT prophet. But it contained imperfections, & when the great sculptor Donatello saw it, he refused it at once. So there it lay in the cathedral yard, a useless block. 1 day another sculptor caught sight of the flawed block. But as he examined it, there rose in his mind something of immense beauty, & he resolved to sculpt it. For 2 years the artist worked feverishly on the work of art. Finally, on Jan.25, 1504, the greatest artists of the day assembled to see what he had made of the despised & rejected block. Among them were Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, & Pietro Perugino, the teacher of Raphael. As the veil dropped to the floor, the statue was met w/a chorus of praise. It was a masterpiece! Michelangelo’s David is 1 of the greatest works of art the world has ever known.
        1. Jesus saw in the flawed life of Levia Matthew! (writer/evangelist)
        2. Jesus sees in us what no one else sees!
        3. Jesus wanted the man no one else wanted!
    9. He arose & followed him – Luke adds, So he left all, rose up, & followed Him.
      1. This was 100% commitment!
        1. Remember the Chicken & the Pig walking by a restaurant & noticed a charity was going on, serving Bacon & Egg breakfast. The Chicken said, “let’s go in & give to the charity”. The Pig said, “No way! For you it’s only a contribution, but for me it’s a commitment!!!”
      2. Matthew gave up all!
        1. James & John, Peter & Andrew could always go back to fishin…as they did later!
          1. But not Matthew, he burned his bridges completely! Walking away, he would never get it back.
          2. Yet, some time in every life there comes the moment to decide!
      3. Matthew staked everything on Christ!
        1. God never goes back on the man who stakes his all on Him!
      4. ​​​​​​​Matthew received clean hands, a mind at rest, & a new name.
        1. Now he could look people in the face.
      5. Matthew left everything…except his pen!!!
        1. ​​​​​​​Writing one of the most important documents of all time! The Jesus’ Story.
  3. ​​​​​​​A CELEBRATION! (15,16) An Invitation to Dinner!
    1. ​​​​​​​(15) So, Levi throws Him a party! (Lk.5:29)
      1. And Jesus throws down the gauntlet of defiance...and goes! (Barclay)
        1. And weird, the outcast of society seemed to be comfortable around Jesus.
          1. Note: Picture is strange/shocking...but its supposed to be!
        2. You’d think they’d feel like a porcupine in the middle of a bunch of kittens….but that wasn’t the case.
      2. New believers, there’s no finer time to win others for Christ as there is when you 1st get saved!
      3. There is the natural response of a truly regenerated soul!...To honor Christ!
      4. Lk.15:32[NIV] But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.
    2. Have you become too good to dine w/your pagan family members or friends? (If so, who are you more like in our story?)
      1. But, my uncle Larry the lush will be there. My aunt sleazy Sally & cousin Carl the cusser are coming. Not to mention, bad mouth brother Bob & cigarette Sue.
        1. Surely I shouldn’t subject my children to that!
        2. Or, join the real world!…& teach your children through it (there is a line of course!)
      2. Remember, the Christian’s life is not one of isolation, nor assimilation, but Mission!
    3. We would never see ourselves as Pharisees but the question is, do we act like them?
      1. We seem to arrange our lives so that we are with non-believers as little as possible!
        1. We attend Christian bible studies where almost everyone is Christian, we play sports with Christians, eat dinner w/Christians, go to Christians doctors, call Christian plumbers, & even take our pets to Christian vets!
        2. We are to “keep the faith”, but not from others!
      2. Listen carefully to Jesus’ prayer, My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. Jn.17:15(niv)
        1. Not to remove them from danger/opposition but to preserve them in the midst of conflict!
        2. Like Daniel in Babylon; or the saints in Caesar’s household. (Phil.4:22)
      3. History records that when Oliver Cromwell ruled England, the nation experienced a crisis: They ran out of silver & could not mint any coins. Cromwell sent his soldiers to the Cathedral to see if any silver was available. They reported back that the only silver was the statues of the saints, to which Cromwell replied, “Melt down the Slide#21 saints & get them back into circulation.”
        1. Is that Gods nudge for you this morning?
    4. (16) Sinners - a technical term for common people, as opposed to Law keepers.
    5. While the Scribes & Pharisees stood on their lil soap boxes of scorn; looking down their noses of neglect; & scanned w/their beady eyes One who was scandalous. It was then that Jesus donned his white Doctors smock & went to work in a hospital of hurting souls!
      1. Once again, the Pharisees & Scribes missed the fact that the symbol for Christianity would be a Cross NOT a Ladder!
    6. About now, Jesus was “taxed” with the scribes & Pharisees shocking conduct.
      1. Pretty disgusted with their pygmy hearts.
  4. A CLINICIAN! (17) An Invitation to Wholeness!
    1. ​​​​​​​A Clinician is defined as a doctor having direct contact with and responsibility for patients, rather than one involved with theoretical or laboratory studies.
    2. (17) This was a well known Proverb...And, a statement of His mission!
      1. Jesus was saying, “To people who think they are righteous, I have nothing to say. But to those who know they have need, I have come.”
      2. The Message Bible says, I’m here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit.
    3. If you say, “I am an honest, moral, upright, person”…Then I have no gospel to preach to you!
      1. Why send a doctor to someone who is not sick? Why offer financial help to a man who is not poor? Why throw a life preserver to a man not drowning?
    4. “The 1st link between my soul & Christ is not my goodness, but my badness; not my merit, but my misery; not my standing, but my falling; not my riches, but my need.”
      1. So, the only Passport into His Presence is a Passport stamped with SIN.
      2. The Psalmist nailed it when he said in Ps.107:20 NLT He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death.
      3. C.T. Studd [1862-1931] – Pioneer missionary. One of the group of students known as the “Cambridge 7” [The 7 from Cambridge went & worked with Hudson Taylor in China] said, Some want to live within the sound - Of Church or Chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop - Within a yard of hell!
    5. Matthew was not only called to leave everything, but also to find a friend/companion for the coming pathway! Fellowship was offered!
      1. ​​​​​​​This morning, Jesus offers you an Invitation to Conversion; an Invitation to Celebration; an Invitation to Himself...the Great Clinician!
      2. Jesus says, Follow me! – stop wandering around, cease your questionings, your intellectual debates, come & travel w/me, & find all your answers in my friendship!
      3. Jesus says, Follow me! – young & old, men & women. Today!

Verses 18-22

  1. Intro:
    1. In vs.16,17 the religious leaders had a problem with Who Jesus was associating with at the table! - Now they have a problem with How He is enjoying himself w/them!
      1. His conduct seemed…well, inappropriate!
      2. See, John the Baptist was austere, a recluse, an ascetic; but Jesus on the other hand, accepted invitations to meals, played with children, & enjoyed social engagements!
    2. Jesus had made it clear that He came to convert the sinners, not to compliment the self-righteous!
      1. Now Jesus tells them that He had come to bring gladness, not sadness. (Warren Wiersbe, Be Diligent, pg.26)
    3. I believe we’d see many many more souls come to Christ if people would simply read through this Gospel. Why?
      1. Because the distorted caricatures of Christ would be revealed & the true radically winsome and absolutely irresistible Jesus would be revealed.
        1. Simply seeing Christ as He is in the Scriptures is life-changing. There is something radically inviting about Him!
    4. Outline: The Glad Groom; & The Refreshing Revolutionary.
  2. THE GLAD GROOM! (18-20)
    1. FASTING: Background!
      1. 1st we note the Pharisees would “whiten their faces, put ashes on their heads, wore disheveled garments, refused to wash, & looked as forlorn as possible.”
        1. This way no one would miss the fact that they were fasting, & all would see & admire their devotion!
      2. The Scriptures only required(maybe?) fasting once a year, on the day of Atonement.
        1. Lev.16:29 you shall afflict your souls (lit. humble yourself)
      3. In Zech. 8:19 we learned that they had come up w/4 other fasts themselves. But they weren’t necessary anymore after the rebuilding of the new temple.
      4. By Jesus’ time, the Pharisees had decreed that “godly people” should fast twice a week (Mon & Thursdays) [6am-6pm]
        1. Most likely this hit on one of those days!
      5. The Pharisees were the 1st to promote the lie that, “the more sour the saint the more spiritual!”
        1. Erma Bombeck tells of a time she was sitting in church & a small child turned around & began to smile at the people behind her. She was just smiling, not making a sound. When her mother noticed, she said in a stage whisper, “Stop that grinning – you’re in church,” gave her a swat, & said, “That’s Better!”
        2. “Some come to church like they had just read the will of their rich aunt, & learned that she had given everything to her pet hamster!” (Kent Hughes)
      6. The Pharisees would ask…isn’t true spirituality when it makes you “do things you don’t want to do, & keeps you from doing the things you want to do?” [Many believe thistoday!]
        1. There's something comfortable about reducing Christianity to a list of do's and don'ts. You always know where you stand, and this helps reduce anxiety!
        2. The Christian life is a feast, not a funeral?
    2. (19,20) Since it was John’s disciples that were really asking the question (Mt.9:14) is why I believe that Jesus uses the bridegroom analogy.
      1. John had already used it in Jn.3:29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.
      2. Jesus also performed His 1st miracle at a joyous wedding feast.
      3. Now, He was inviting people to “come to the wedding”.
      4. Becoming a Christian is like entering into a marriage relationship.
        1. Rom.7:4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another; to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
      5. 2 People are not married because they know each other.
      6. 2 People are not married because they have strong feelings for each other.
      7. 2 People are not married because they live together.
      8. 2 People are married when they commit themselves to each other & make this commitment known! [This is usually done by an “I do!”]
      9. And so with Salvation! – It is more than just knowing about Christ; or having strong feelings about him; but salvation comes when we say, “I do!”
    3. Why would it be inappropriate to fast at a friends wedding reception?
    4. 1st from the Message bible (19,20) Jesus said, “When you’re celebrating a wedding, you don’t skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. Later you may need to pull in your belt, but not now. As long as the bride and groom are with you, you have a good time. No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire. This is Kingdom Come!
      1. Ancient Jewish weddings lasted a week. A continuous week of feasting & celebration!
      2. For the hard working this was traditionally the happiest week in their lives.
      3. They were often treated like kings & queens(sometimes/crowns)
      4. A Rabbinical ruling said, “All in attendance on the bridegroom are relieved of all religious observances which would lessen their joy.” (William Barclay, Mark, pg.59)
        1. Thus the wedding guests would be exempt from all fasting.
      5. Oh, a little reminder: This side of the cross…we are no longer guests/friends of the bridegroom…but we are the Bride of Christ!
        1. Now, make a comparison here! Who is more joyful, the guests or the Bride & Groom?
          1. Our joy should outdistance the guest’s w/intensity & continuance!!!
    5. Do you have JOY Christian? Do you cultivate it?
      1. The early Christians were accused of being drunk they were so joyful!
      2. The 1st Franciscans were reproved for laughing in church because they were so happy.
      3. ​​​​​​​The 1st Convents of the Reformed Carmelites were most happy places, because St. Theresa insisted on musical instruments & a jolly time in the house of recreation.
      4. The 1st Methodists stole some of their hymn tunes from operas & set the songs of Zion to dance music.
      5. The 1st Salvationists jumped for joy because General Booth always told them that if they felt the spirit move them, they could leap in a hymn or a prayer, & they did!
        1. There is perpetual wedding joy w/Christ for those who will have it!
    6. Slide#20 So what’s the key to getting & keeping this Joy?
      1. ​​​​​​​It is the discovery of Christ & the company of Christ which is the key to happiness!
      2. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourselves!”
    7. Slide#21 The following vices are very common to Pharisees.
      1. ​​​​​​​You are a Pharisee If…you are more busied in censuring the conduct of others, than in rectifying your own!
      2. You are a Pharisee If…you desire that everyone should regulate their piety by yours; & embrace your particular customs & forms of devotion!
      3. You are a Pharisee If…you speak of & compare yourself w/other people, only that you may have an opportunity of distinguishing & exalting yourself!
      4. You are a Pharisee If…you bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but you yourself will not move them with one of your fingers. Mt.23:4
        1. Christianity is not a Sob, but a Song!
      5. You are a Pharisee If…you think Christianity is about rules rather than relationship.
      6. You are a Pharisee If…you think any church that has experienced growth must be watering down the Gospel.
      7. You are a Pharisee If…you accept only the KJV as authorized because it’s the version that Paul & Silas carried.
      8. You are a Pharisee If…your sins seem so small when placed beside the really BIG sins of others.
      9. You are a Pharisee If…you rationalize that Christians who don’t agree with you are all “compromisers.”
      10. You are a Pharisee If…you rehearse your virtues when you should be confessing your sin.
      11. You are a Pharisee If…you are obsessed with externals, but blind to the internal reality of your own soul.
      12. You are a Pharisee If…your outward righteousness is more important than your heart holiness.
      13. You are a Pharisee If…you are insulted by the notion you may be a Pharisee!!!
        1. How do I know these are true?...because I am a recovering Pharisee!
    8. (20) When the bridegroom will be taken away from them – This is a hint of His anticipated death, resurrection, & return to heaven. Yet, it seems to go right over their heads.
      1. Death did not take Him unaware! He saw His cross ahead!
    9. They will fast in those days – Jesus wasn’t suggesting that their feast needed to be turned into a funeral when He left!
      1. He was only pointing out that fasting would be proper at a future time, but that joyful celebration should be the normal experience of believers! (Clyde E. Fant, Jr. & William A. Pinson, Jr.Twenty Centuries of Great Preaching, pg.27,28 [quoted from Kent Hughes pg.78])
    1. ​​​​​​​Now Jesus uses 2 illustrations to make his point! New Cloth & New Wineskins!
      1. With Jesus earth was crammed with heaven. He lived so close to God that everything spoke to Him of God! [Look for your own devotions...daily!]
    2. New Cloth – Picture an old sail on a sail boat. If you patch a hole with a new sail cloth, as soon as it gets wet & dries, you will have far bigger hole!
      1. The new fabric Jesus brings can’t be interwoven w/the tired fibers of old religion…it will simply tear apart!
    3. New Wineskin - Water or wine “bottles” were frequently made from animal skins. Such leather vessels were popular among nomadic peoples for their durability.
      1. The skins of goats were stripped off as nearly whole as possible & partly tanned, so they could be filled w/new wine.
      2. Their natural elasticity & strength would allow the fermenting new wine to expand. (Gives off gasses, causing pressure)
      3. Thus, new wine in old skins would cause them to burst & then you’d lose of both the wine & skin.
      4. The new wine Jesus brings is expanding!
        1. He fills the wineskins of our lives which stretches us to new limits!
    4. What is Jesus suggesting about Himself by talking about new cloth & new wineskins?
      1. He’s pointing out that He has come to bring something startlingly new. Not to tack something onto Judaism.
      2. “I have come to bring a brand new relationship with God!!!”
      3. * They might have been happy to add a few of His new teachings to theirs, but He showed them very clearly the folly of this!
      4. The Christian faith is “exclusive” in nature! – Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
        1. Salvation is not patching up a few areas of your life, it is a whole new robe of righteousness
    5. The Christian life is not a mixing of the old & the new; rather, it is a fulfillment of the old in the new.
      1. Ex: There is 2 ways to destroy something. Smash it or permit it to fulfill itself.
        1. An acorn, for example can be smashed w/a hammer, or it can be planted & allowed to grow into an oak.
        2. In both instances, the destruction of the acorn is accomplished; but in the 2nd instance, the acorn is destroyed by being fulfilled.
    6. What identifies Pharisaical Christianity?
      1. Whenever something is emphasized that we must do for God, rather than on what God has done for us in Jesus!
      2. Whenever we impose man-made rules on people in the name of achieving holiness by avoiding sinners.
      3. Whenever we see sin in others but not in ourselves!
    7. If the Pharisees had a Halo it would be way too tight!
    8. If the Sadducees had a Halo it would be in their back pocket!
    9. If the Zealots had a Halo they would be throwing it at people!
    10. If the Essenes had a Halo you wouldn’t know it because you’d never get a peek at it!
      1. Brennan Manning, “The titled halo of a saved sinner is worn loosely & w/easy grace!”

Verses 23-28

  1. Intro:
    1. Last week we talked about not being able to put new wine into old wine skins.
      1. Well, the new wine Jesus sought to bring them did just that.
      2. We witness this morn the 1st rips in their old, stale,brittle, wine skins of their religion
    2. Strap on your 1st century sandals we’re going to take a walk with Jesus this morning to 4 different locations:
      1. We are heading for the synagogue…but on the way there we must pass through a Field of Grain.
      2. Next, we’ll make it to the Synagogue for Shabbat morning service.
      3. After this we’ll take a walk down to the Lake.
      4. Then later retire up to the Mountains for some much needed R&R!
    3. Outline: [1] Jesus’ Common Sense [2] Jesus’ Courage [3] Jesus’ Compassion [4] Jesus’ Call.
    4. Did you know that odds against bowling a perfect 300 in the game are about 225,000 to one!
      1. One bowler appropriately collapsed when he qualified to join that brotherhood of 300.
      2. Yet another bowler just couldn’t bring himself to play the final ball of an otherwise perfect game. Instead he silently packed his shoes and ball and walked out - and never again set foot inside a bowling alley!
        1. How do you handle pressure?
    5. Here is an instruction on how to react to hungry pythons, as given to Peace Corpsmen serving in Brazil - “Remember not to run away, the python can run faster. The thing to do is to lie flat on the ground on your back with your feet together, arms at your side, head well down. The python will then try to push its head under you, experimenting at every possible point. Keep calm (that was underscored). “You must let him swallow your foot. It is quite painless and it will take a long time. If you lose your head and struggle, he will quickly whip his coils around you. If you keep calm and still, he will go on swallowing. Wait patiently until he has swallowed up to about your knee. Then carefully take out your knife and insert it into the distended side of his mouth and with a quick rip slit him up.” [I don’t know I could handle that pressure] :)
    6. The pressure in Jesus’ life came from 2 main sources…The Religious establishment and His popularity w/people! [see crush(9) & pressed(10) to fall upon]
      1. Are you experiencing crushing pressure in your life today? How do you deal w/ pressure? How should you? How did Jesus deal with His?
    7. Jesus fully understands 21st century mankind & all our built up pressures!
      1. Paul said, We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed (2 Cor.4:8a) - it carries the idea of “pressure”.
      2. Pressed but not squished! - They were under pressure like grapes being squeezed by a winepress.
      3. Let’s watch how Jesus handles Himself in the pressure cooker situations, & what specific steps He takes when the pressure rises!
  2. JESUS’ COMMON SENSE! (2:23-28)
    1. ​​​​​​​The issue wasn’t eating someone’s else’s grain. - Deut.23:25 When you come into your neighbor's standing grain, you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not use a sickle on your neighbor's standing grain. – The issue was what day they did it!
      1. All work was forbidden on this day.
      2. Work” was classified under 39 different headings.
        1. Four of these headings were “Reaping, Threshing, Winnowing, & Preparing a meal.” [explain: pluck, rub, blow, eat]
          1. They technically broke all 4 of these!
    2. This story is taken from 1 Sam.21:1-6. And, Ex.25:23-30 gives the details of this bread.
      1. 12 loaves were placed on this golden table in front of the Holy of Holies.
        1. Table= 3’(L) x 1 ½’ (w) x 1 ½’ (h)
      2. This was a type of offering to the Lord, then as it was replaced weekly, only the priests were allowed to eat it.
    3. The point? - Persons are far more important than rituals. The best way to use sacred things is to use them to help men!
      1. Read “The 4th Wise Man” legend. (from Barclay)
      2. Again, The best way to use sacred things is to use them to help men!
    4. Note the pressure Jesus was facing having…the religious leaders birddogging his every move.
  3. JESUS’ COURAGE! (3:1-6)
    1. ​​​​​​​Other writings let us know he was not born with this, but some illness had taken the strength from him.
      1. We have a few fragments from “The Gospel according to Hebrews” (an Apocryphal N.T. book) [which were never deemed cannon, but were quoted from the early church fathers] It said that this man was a stone mason & that he sought Jesus to heal him, for his livelihood was in his hands & he was ashamed to beg.
    2. The law of the day was that you couldn’t give medical attention on the Sabbath unless their life was in danger! [He obviously wasn’t]
    3. He asks him to step forward, or arise into the midst (3).
      1. Maybe to try to awaken, one last time, sympathy for this man.
      2. And probably to make sure everyone could see what was about to take place!
    4. Their rigidity to keep the law actually led them to abuse it far worse then they even think Jesus did! (Their rigidity led to hate & murder!)
      1. Jesus was able to look behind the law to see how they were intended for our benefit
      2. Their religion was loving ritual; Jesus religion was loving God & loving man.
      3. Jesus was people-centered; the Pharisees were law-centered!
      4. The Pharisees made a huge mistake that many still make today, this idea that you actually can domesticate real faith into humanly attainable standards. (a 1000 x’s NO!)
    5. Again note the pressure Jesus was facing having…“the religious leaders plotting to kill Him.”
      1. Let’s see how the common people are responding to Him?
  4. JESUS’ COMPASSION! (3:7-12)
    1. ​​​​​​​(7) Jesus never withdrew out of fear! - Nor ran from His problems! - Nor was he afraid to face the music!
      1. Simply…His time was not yet come!!! [There was still much He had to say & do!]
    2. (9) There is a job for everyone, even if only holding a little boat for Him!
      1. Oh the pleasure of simply being the door keeper in the house of the Lord; or loosing Jesus’ sandals; or here just holding His little get-away boat?
    3. Again note the pressure Jesus was facing having to have…“the motor running & the doors open, for a quick get away!”
  5. JESUS’ CALL! (3:13-19)
    1. ​​​​​​​Well, let’s now look at “3 pressure release valves” Jesus pulls to release the steam from the pressure cooker of life!
      1. Again be asking yourself…How do I deal with pressure? - How should I? - How did Jesus deal with His?
    2. 3 ways to pounce Pressure: Get Alone; Get Praying; Get Help.
    3. Get Alone (13)
    4. He got away by Himself! (Does it say that?)
      1. Lk.6:12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself.
    5. Interesting, the Son of Man came to save man, but at times needed to get away from man! :)
    6. Yep, step one is to get off the treadmill of life & sit!
      1. These times are essential to our whole-being & our well-being.
      2. As Vance Havner you to say, “If we don’t follow Christ’s example to come apart, we may indeed, just come apart!”
      3. Allow Him to become irresistible again to you!
      4. Allow silence into your cluttered-loud-world! – Go park in the park; sit in a church sanctuary; find a hiking path up on the Plateau; get up early before the family; stay awake when everyone else is a sleep. Find/make your silence.
      5. Every day we need at least a few minutes, as well as extended times on a regular basis. [So, Get Alone!]
    7. Get Praying (Lk.6:12)
    8. Prayer drives us to Himself! – Prayer doesn’t pull God toward my will, but helps me to align w/ His will!
    9. Sir George Adam Smith tells how he and his guide were climbing the Weisshorn in the Swiss Alps. It was stormy and they were making their climb on the sheltered side of the peak. When they reached the summit, they were filled with the exhilaration. Sir George forgot about the fierce winds, leaped up and was nearly blown over the edge to the glacier below! The guide grabbed hold of him and exclaimed:“On your knees, sir! You are safe here only on your knees!”
    10. [So, Get Alone & Get Praying]
    11. Get Help (14-19)
    12. Jesus wasn’t afraid to share His responsibilities!
      1. Like Moses father–in-law Jethro’s advice given in Exodus 18.
      2. Like Paul’s to Timothy, And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
      3. We also need other men & women to share the load.
    13. [So, Get Alone & Get Praying & Get Help]
    14. 2 questions are answered here: How Jesus would make His message permanent? & How He would make His message duplicatable?
      1. ​​​​​​​He chose men whose heart He could write His message on, & who would go out from his presence to carry it abroad!
    15. By worldly standards...these men had no qualifications at all!
      1. Not wealth, no special positions, no special education, not trained theologians, not high ranking churchmen, they were 12 ordinary men!
      2. 12 ordinary men that were appointed, actually He made them (lit.)
      3. What they had going for them was: [1] they were attracted to Jesus & [2] they had courage to show they were on His side!
      4. These guys had all sorts of faults…but they loved Jesus & they weren’t afraid to tell the world about Him…That sounds like the definition of a Christian!!!
    16. We are called to 2 purposes: [1] to be with Him & [2] to be sent out by Him.
      1. To be w/Him – Have you found Him as the Irresistible Savior?
      2. To be sent out by Him - You have to be won in order to win others!
    17. We are equipped for 2 purposes: [1] to Preach & [2] to have Power!
      1. Preach – Jesus gave them something to say!
      2. Power – because they kept company with Him, his power was in their lives!
    18. Illustration: There are 2 ways of handling pressure:

      One is illustrated by a bathysphere, the miniature submarine used to explore the ocean in places so deep that the water pressure would crush a conventional submarine like an aluminum can. Bathyspheres compensate with plate steel several inches thick, which keeps the water out but also makes them heavy and hard to maneuver. Inside they're cramped. When these craft descend to the ocean floor, however, they find they're not alone. When their lights are turned on and you look through the tiny, thick plate glass windows, what do you see? Fish!These fish cope with extreme pressure in an entirely different way. They don't build thick skins: they remain supple and free. They compensate for the outside pressure through equal and opposite pressure inside themselves. Christians, likewise, don't have to be hard and thick skinned - as long as they appropriate God's power within to equal the pressure without. (Jay Kesler in Campus Life. Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 2.)
    19. Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length,
      Pressed so intently, it seems beyond strength,
      Pressed in the body, and pressed in the soul,
      Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll,
      Pressure by foes, and a pressure by friends,
      Pressure on pressure till life nearly ends.
      Pressed into knowing no helper but God,
      Pressed into loving the staff and the rod,
      Pressed into liberty where nothing clings,
      Pressed into faith for impossible things,
      Pressed into living a life in the Lord,
      Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured.
      The Disciplines of Life, by V. Raymond Edman, (Minneapolis: World Wide Publ., 1948), p. 16.
    20. Picture a Tea Bag
    21. “People are like teabags; you never know how strong they are until they’re put in hot water.”
      1. When you place a tea bag in hot water, it doesn't change. But the hot water reveals what was already in the tea bag.
    22. Picture a Rose Petal
      1. ​​​​​​​We think of the scent given off when a Rose Petal is stepped on & crushed.
    23. Picture a lump of Coal
      1. ​​​​​​​We think of Coal being under tremendous pressure being formed into Diamond. And this is done in a very dark place.
        1. Most natural diamonds are formed at high temperature and pressure at depths of 87-120 miles in the earth mantle.
      2. Every pressure that comes your way in your home life, in college, in your employment, will make you either bitter or better! [The struggle is just part of the journey!]
    24. Picture a water-saturated sponge.
      1. If we push down with our finger even slightly, water runs out onto the table. We immediately know what fills the interior pockets of the sponge.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Mark 2". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/mark-2.html. 2017.
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