Eating With Tax Collectors, Fasting, The Sabbath, And An Escape Boat

Eating With Tax Collectors, Fasting, The Sabbath, And An Escape Boat

Jesus Calls Levi

He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

A Question About Fasting

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?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? 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 in that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

A Man with a Withered Hand

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

A Great Crowd Follows Jesus

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

But Sinners

Jesus graciously called Levi (or Matthew), a despised tax collector, to be one of his devoted disciples. Knowing what first-century Jews thought about these individuals, Jesus went even further and break bread with them in Levi's house! Of course, this action caused issues for the scribes; however, it was an opportune moment for our Lord to share His gracious message that although self-righteous people will not inherit His kingdom, those who repent and turn away from their sins shall find mercy within its walls.

The Days Will Come

Jesus' powerful teachings are made apparent in his altercation with the Pharisees regarding fasting, as this provides him a platform to explain the tremendous and transformational impact of his presence (2:19–22). Jesus has already performed miracles (1:22–28) and even asserted divine authority to forgive sins (2:5), but now he is making it clear that there will be significant implications for his coming. This passage evidences Jesus' most elaborate sermon of what is recorded thus far in Mark's Gospel.

Lord Even Of The Sabbath

The Pharisees expressed their disapproval when they noticed Christ’s disciples gathering grain on the Sabbath day (2:23–24). In response, Jesus provided the example of David which counteracted their excessively meticulous laws (2:25–26). He further explained that the purpose and essence behind observing the Sabbath was to benefit humankind (2:27) before he proclaimed his authority over this particular commandment from God Almighty Himself(2:28).

Lawful On The Sbbath?

On the Sabbath, Jesus heals a man with a shriveled hand. His critics are ready to condemn him but he responds by asking if healing and deliverance on the sabbath aren't what it's all about. By this point, his enemies have become so hostile they even desire to kill him (2:13–3:6). This passage culminates in an extreme display of animosity against Christ.

Crowds Increase 

The crowds continue to swell as people journeyed from long distances to hear Jesus preach and beg him to heal them. The pressure from the crowd is so intense that Jesus has a boat on standby in case he needs to escape. While everyone wonders what his miracles mean, the evil spirits have no doubt.





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