Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Criticism of the Lord Jesus in Mark 2

I want to look at 4 questions posed by the Pharisees as they criticised the Lord Jesus in Mark chapter 2. Of course the Lord Jesus was criticised regularly by the Pharisees as they observed him and sought to discredit Him, trap Him and take Him. However in these confrontations there is much we can learn about the character of the Lord Jesus and apply to ourselves. The last two questions form a couple so there are 3 main points that I want to make from these thoughts, that will hopefully encourage us in our Christian lives as we make application.

Who can forgive sins but God only?

Found in verse 7 the Pharisees reason and murmur in their hearts, outraged at the 'blasphemy' from this Jesus of Nazareth! Of course, their question was accurate - only God can forgive sins, but they failed to appreciate that the man standing in their midst was God manifest in the flesh, their  Immanuel (God with us)! We are eternally grateful that we know a Saviour and a God who forgives sins, made possible through the work of Calvary. The point we realise here is that as God, He rewards FAITH with FORGIVENESS. Verse 5 says - "when Jesus saw their FAITH... Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." Praise God for the joy of sins forgiven! (Psa 32:1)

How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?

Again the observation of the Pharisees was correct! We are ever thankful that our Saviour was known as the friend of publicans and sinners (Matt 11:9), all who came to him were never cast out, our Saviour was approachable and the common people heard him gladly (Mark 12:37). Here we learn that our Lord rewards FOLLOWERS with FELLOWSHIP. We see this in the preceding verses when he asks Levi the tax collector to follow Him, and then he is found sat at meat in Levi's house much to the consternation of the scribes and Pharisees! We thank God that we have a Saviour who not only FORGIVES but blesses us with His presence and FELLOWSHIP! (Matt 28:20, Matt 18:20)

Why do thy disciples fast not? Why do they on the sabbath that which is not lawful?

In verse 18 the criticism was about fasting, or depriving oneself of food. The Lord Jesus points out that his disciples (friends) had the Son of God in their presence, and they were enjoying their privileged position with their Lord, why should they fast? The Christian life is to be enjoyed, unfortunately sometimes we think it is a life of restriction or denial! We have so many spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 1:3) our life should be one of Christian liberty, free from the power and dominion of sin (that can so easily beset us! Heb 12:1)
In verse 24 the question also was concerning food and restrictions! This was characteristic of the Pharisees who thought that such empty ritual legality made them right with God, whereas their hearts were far from Him. In these two criticisms we learn that God also rewards FRIENDS with FOOD. The Lord Jesus wants to see us happy and growing as believers! He doesn't want us to be weighed down with restrictions and denial but rather to be feeding on the Word (lots of scriptures for this) and to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18) Our Saviour can meet all our need (Heb 4:16) and desires to feed us and sustain us through our lives, what a wonderful Saviour He is!

Yours in Him,
Mark

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