Who Needs the Gospel?

Who Needs the Gospel?

Mark 2

Series: Following Jesus, The Gospel According to Mark

May 27, 2018

 

Introduction

First half of Mark addresses the question – Who is this Man? Can he really be the Messiah, the Son of God (1:1)?

Chapter 1 talked about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and his relationship to his disciples. His teaching and healing pointed to his role as Messiah. His invitation to follow connects with all of us.

Four Stories of “Stuck” People

Healing a Paralyzed Man

When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralysed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, ‘Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and take your mat and walk”? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the paralytic— 11 ‘I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.’ 12 And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’

  • The Setting – “When he returned to Capernaum …”
  • The Challenge – “Why does this fellow speak in this way? …”

Jesus’ Response

  • “… so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ …”

Jesus and Levi

13 Jesus went out again beside the lake; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. 14 As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.

15 And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax-collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him. 16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax-collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ 17 When Jesus heard this, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’

  • The Setting – “Jesus went out again beside the lake …”
  • The Challenge – “Why does he eat with tax-collectors and sinners?”

Jesus’ Response

  • “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

Jesus’ Followers – Fasting

18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, ‘Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?’ 19 Jesus said to them, ‘The wedding-guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.

21 ‘No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.’

  • The Setting – “Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting …”
  • The Challenge – “Why do … your disciples do not fast?”

Jesus’ Response

  • ‘” As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.”

Critique of Tradition

  • ‘No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.’

Jesus’ Followers – Sabbath

23 One sabbath he was going through the cornfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, ‘Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?’ 25 And he said to them, ‘Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? 26 He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.’ 27 Then he said to them, ‘The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; 28 so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.’

  • The Setting- “One sabbath he was going through the cornfields …”
  • The Challenge – “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?”

Jesus’ Response

  • “Have you never read …”

Claim of Authority

  • ‘The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.’

Clues to Jesus’ Identity

  • Jesus has the authority to forgive sins – ‘But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’
  • Jesus has authority over the Sabbath – ‘so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.’

Clues to Jesus’ Mission

  • Forgiving sins – ‘When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’
  • Surrounding Himself with sinners – “And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax-collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him.”
  • Being with Him is more important than religious duties — ‘The wedding-guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.’
  • Note: Jesus isn’t against fasting – he assumes his followers will fast and tells them how to do it. (Matt. 6:16-17)
  • Creating a new tradition – “one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”

Conflict Increases

  • Scribes challenges Jesus’ authority to forgive sin and his friendship with sinners.
  • Jesus and his followers set apart from both the Jewish religious leaders and John the Baptist – not fasting (yet).
  • Pharisees challenge Jesus’ behaviour – He claims authority over the Sabbath.

Conclusion – Who’s the Gospel For?

‘Those who are well have no need of a physician,

but those who are sick;

I have come to call not the righteous

but sinners.’

 

We are not enough on our own …

Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit,

because apart from Me you can do NOTHING.