Friday, January 2, 2009

Mark 2 -- The Rule Breaker

As we open up to Mark 2 we find Jesus doing what Jesus does, healing people. Four friends go through great lengths to get their friend to the feet of Jesus, and Jesus heals the man. In the process Jesus offers forgiveness for the man's sins. The religious leaders cry foul.

The next section we find Jesus sitting down for dinner with people of questionable reputations. Even calling one of them, Levi, to come and be his disciple. Again the religious leaders cry foul. They want to know how Jesus could be eating with such scum.

After Jesus' rebuke of the religious leaders the questioning turns to fasting. The followers of John the Baptist, and the religious leaders regularly fasted. The followers of Jesus did not. Jesus responds with a few illustrations. Guests at the wedding, patching clothes, and wineskins. At the outset they might not look related to the question of fasting, or with each other. Yet Jesus is issuing a big challenge to the religious leaders. This passage is directly connected to the one before about who Jesus was eating with. The religious people were not understanding what God was doing, so Jesus needed to get new people involved who would.

The last section of Mark 2 is another account of Jesus and his followers breaking the rules. They pick heads of wheat on the Sabbath, and the religious leaders are there right away to let it be know that is not how things are done.

In this whole chapter we find Jesus getting in trouble with the religious establishment because he is not playing by their rules. It seems as though he is using a different playbook than they are. In fact Jesus is. The religious leaders, called Pharisees in other places, had set up all the rules and regulations they could to keep people from breaking the laws of Moses. It has been said they were building a fence around the law so people would not come close to breaking the ultimate law. The problem was these rules or laws became more important than people and relationship.

Jesus invited his disciples, along with you and me, to be rule breakers. Not just for the sake of breaking the rules, and not breaking every rule. That is to say no one should decide murder is alright. However, false rules, especially in the church, should be challenged. I find there are many areas of our faith where we follow the rules and do not even know why. We assume, gotta be careful, there is a certain way to behave if you are a follower of Christ, and the church must function just as it always has. The leads to the church being modern day Pharisees in need to a Savior to challenge us.

How do we know which rules to break and which ones to keep? Simple follow the leader, Jesus.

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