Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mark: healings and rules

Mark 2:27 - 3:6

In this section, after just showing the Pharisees that people can feed themselves on the Sabbath, he declares that he is the Lord of the Sabbath.  Here is one of the many instances where Jesus declares himself God.  The Pharisees, however, have been so busy memorizing rules and building rules around the rules, that they never recognized him.

Next time it is the Sabbath, and Jesus sees them, he sees a man with a shriveled hand and asks if it is okay to heal on the Sabbath.  To save life or to kill?  The Pharisees know the right answer but it is not what they have been teaching, so Jesus angrily heals the man.  Next, the Pharisees plot to kill Jesus, on the Sabbath.

In my Sunday School lesson this past Sunday, I was called on to teach about food culture in the Bible.  I taught about the Passover, but I also taught about the clean and unclean foods.  This is one of the ways that the Pharisees built rules around the rules so that they would not accidently commit sin.

Here is an example.  Since there was a rule about not boiling a young goat in its mother's milk, the Pharisees declared that their people cannot eat milk and meat together.  That means no Hamburger Helper for the Jews even though all the food in it is kosher.

But if a man is hungry and sees grain in a field, they would rather the man starve than to pick the grains and eat them.  And apparently healing is work, so not even God is allowed to heal on the Sabbath.  And it is okay to plot and to kill the Lord of the Sabbath on the Sabbath.  That isn't work.

There is always the constant desire for people to follow the laws of Jesus without following Jesus himself, and in ourselves that will never work.  We get mad at the Pharisees for doing this, but everybody does this.  I will get mad at a child for singing some popular song about being bad, but I myself have listened to and enjoyed popular songs about being bad in my own time.  And I'm thinking about rules and not about truly loving Jesus.

God does not want us to follow rules and never come to him.  They are impossible for us to follow simply so we can look to Jesus and rejoice in the blood he shed for us that covers us and makes us acceptable to approach the Father without being burned for eternity.

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