Past Issues

Jesus -- the Messiah # 8

Read Mark 2:18-3:12.

Jesus Questioned About Fasting

(18) Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, "How is it that John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?"

(19)Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. (20) But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. 

(21)"No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. (22) And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins."

Lord of the Sabbath

 (23)One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. (24) The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?"

 (25) He answered, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? (26) In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions."

 (27) Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. (28)So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

Mark 3

(1) Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. (2) Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. (3) Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone."

 (4) Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent.

 (5) He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. (6) Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

Crows Follow Jesus

 (7) Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. (8) When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. (9)Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. (10) For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. (11) Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God." (12) But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.


Jesus found that people were being oppressed by all kinds of rules and laws.  God meant fasting and observing the Sabbath to be great blessings in people’s lives.  These were to be occasions to draw closer to God, times of spiritual renewal.  Instead, these laws of fasting and rest were being used by religious authorities to control and punish people.  This was not God’s intent, and Jesus was bringing in God’s Kingdom of love and forgiveness.

People should fast and they should observe the Sabbath rest. But, most important, they should do good at any time and place. “The Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath….. Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” (3:4)

Have you found yourself oppressed by those who simply want to enforce religious rules? Have you found that good practices are carried out without true meaning and devotion? Have you seen in religion how carrying out rules becomes more important than doing good? That is the call of Jesus.

Looking forward to your comments today,


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