*edited for readability*
Welcome. As you’re grabbing a seat, if you’d open up your bibles to Mark chapter two, we’re going to be going through Mark chapter two. For guests, visitors: if this is your first time, I met a bunch of you. I’m so glad you’re here. My name is Dave. I’m the lead pastor. I get the honor each week of just opening up the scriptures and looking at how great our God is. That He loved us really well. He sent his Son to live the life that we couldn’t live, died the death that we owed, paid the penalty we couldn’t pay, conquered the enemy – death we couldn’t conquer; and freely gives us the salvation that’s by grace, through faith, in Him alone-the glory of God. So we here love to make much of Jesus because we believe Jesus changes everything. We’d love for you to come be part of that. So glad you’re here this morning. We’ve been walking through the book of Mark. Mark shows us our King; our incredible King. Today we’re going to see our King’s courageous heart as he fights back religious wolves, so that we might have rest.
God loves rest. He’s given us rest, and we don’t know rest in America. So I’m really excited about the sermon today. Let me read it to you. It’s in Mark chapter two. I’m going to read from verse 23 down through chapter three, verse six. These two stories show us how our King got crucified. How are King goes from coming in and everybody’s shouting out: “Hosanna”–to just a short time later, everybody’s saying: “Crucify him.” How did he get there? Watch. Watch your King’s heart of courage here as he fights for our rest. In verse 23, God says, Mark writes:
“And it happened that He (Jesus) was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And He (Jesus) said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; 26 how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” 3:1: He entered again into a synagogue and a man was there who’s hand was withered. 2 They were watching Him to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” 4 And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy him.”
This is the first time Mark mentioned to us that this group now conspired. Luke says they were filled with rage. Matthew points this out as well and says: this group now conspired or planned. ‘How do we kill Jesus? How do we do away with this man?’ So let’s…let’s enjoy this text together. I’m going to give you the big theological picture just as we walk through, because this is such a huge point for us. Mark assumes that we know something of what the Sabbath means, the Lord’s Day, the day of rest. Mark also assumes we know something of 1 Samuel Chapter 21, and Mark assumes that we know something about the Pharisees.
So I’m going to try to walk you through these, so that we can connect. Even if you’re here, you don’t have a Bible, you’ve never read the Bible, you’ll still be able to follow along with us this morning. Here’s the big theological picture that we’re going to walk through. Mark mentions the Sabbath seven times. Here’s what I want you to know. If you did a straight read through the Bible, you would come across this reality very quickly: Our God, the one true God, the God of the Bible is a God of rest. He loves rest. He created rest. He’s really big on rest. Exodus 20… and I just expounded Genesis Chapter two verses 1-3.
Exodus chapter 20: verse nine, ten, and eleven. He commands us to rest. (All right? There’s a couple of them. They’re like, Amen) How cool is God? He says, “Listen, I took a day off. I want you to take a day off. I want you to be big on rest.”
(OK, I’ll work on it. I’ll keep working on you, because some of these things are well…) I’ll walk you through why we don’t cheer, and hoot, and holler at that, here when we get down to verse 27 and 28. Here’s the small theological picture: Sin separated us from a God who is really big on rest, loves rest, created rest, and commanded rest. So now…(y’all are just yanking my chain, you’re messing with me now. So I’m going to move, move through this ravel you’ve given me..Moses would say..) Sin separated us from that. So we’re driven now. Life is about performance. Life is about performance. Bottom line: life is about what you can produce. This is why we wake up every day and we go, we go, we go. “Rest? I ain’t got time for rest, yo! Look at my list. Because lists mean I’m important and I’ve got a big list. So I’m going to work seven days a week; 14, 15, 16 hours a day. Not only that, but I’m in the pursuit of happiness. Happiness comes from money. I got to work more, to earn more, so I’m just going to work. Go, go, go, go.”
We’re going to see what that…what that has produced in our nation–that has rejected a God of rest, who commanded rest, and instead said, “we’re going to go.” Here’s the bottom line: In the gospel, Jesus Christ: the son of God, co-equal with the Father and the Spirit, entered into human history. He lived a perfect life, without sin, that none of us could live. He did this so that he could die as a substitute and sacrifice, in my place for my sin. He was buried. He rose again and now He offers to me a salvation that is by grace alone. I can’t earn it. If you’re here and saying, “Man, I’m just trying really hard to please God.” Jesus already did. You can’t do that. I tried-even as a pastor-it ended me up in rehab. (Being a performance driven, just we gotta get it done). Jesus did it, and in Christianity, that’s called the Good News. Everything else is called religion: man-made means, modes, and methods of trying to please and appease God. That’s religion.
It will kill you. It will exhaust you. It will frustrate you. And you will end up being angry at God, because you’ll try very hard and bring all your works to Him, and He’ll say, “All your righteousness is as filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6) Jesus Christ did it all, and in Christ you have everything that you need. Apart from Christ, you have no rest, and you’re driven.”
Today we’re going to see our King, and his courageous heart, fight for our rest. Rest isn’t just a good idea. It’s mandatory for the troops to be well rested, so we can fight well. The enemy hates rest. I’m going to say this a number of times. We have an enemy who does not want you to rest. He hates rest. He’s against rest. He despises rest. It’s called a military strike; strategery. The Fabian strategy. Like I don’t have to fight you straight on. If I can just demoralize you, distract you, discourage you, and get you depressed so you’re not rested–you’ll destroy yourself. I won’t even have to fight you. You read back through the Roman Empire, Hannibal, those wars… became a huge strategy and Satan uses that. You see if he can get you working seven days a week, get you incredibly tired–you won’t get along with anybody else. Let me put it this way. Hey, when…when toddlers haven’t had naps…(I haven’t. Listen, let me tell it first. See it. That means you’re tracking).
When toddlers haven’t had that naps…listen in my house, it’s awful. That’s when I tell Brooke, “What’s wrong with your kids? Your kids are horrible. Sweety, you kids are awful.” After a nap – those are my kids. They’re all sweet. They get along, they play. You see the body of Christ that doesn’t know how to Sabbath, how to stop, how to rest, how to delight, how to enjoy, how to look back and say, “Lord, thank you for six days of work where I could get it done.” Our King is going to fight for our rest. And he’s got a fight not against the world, but against religious people who put rules on other Christians. Watch as our King presses in and faces down these religious wolves, who are putting all kinds of rules on people. Watch. Here comes the scene, setting, and scenario.
Mark sets it up to show you your King’s courageous heart and how he fought for your rest. Go to Chapter Two, Verse 23. Watch how Mark sets it up. It’s a picture of delight. It’s a picture of beauty. It’s a picture of rest. Watch where Mark starts:
“And it happened that He (Jesus) was passing through the grainfields….”
Can you get the a mental picture? So they’re just walking through grain fields. Peaceful Day. No allergies apparently. (Sorry) Anyway, but He was doing this on the Sabbath. So He’s walking through on the Sabbath, beautiful grain fields, and his disciples began to make their way along with him. So his boys are there. He’s there, grain field, beautiful time–and they began to pick the heads of grain-rub them together and make themselves a little… a little lunchable on the Sabbath Day. They’re going through and they’re just having a little meal. Delightful time, right? Time with friends, good food, beautiful day, a time of rest, a time of delight.
Now, if you know anything about religion, and some of us here are very, very religious. I’m going to use this term numerous times, so let me define it. Religion is man-made means, modes, or methods that you believe will please God. It’s your works, that you believe, that when God looks down, He says, “Man, that guy tried really hard. I’m really pleased with how hard he worked.” Religion comes up with their own rules, their own lists. They’re all different, but all the major world religions are the same: If you are very, very good and try very hard, God will be happy with you. That’s religion across the board. Christianity is totally antithetical to that. Christianity says, ‘we can’t please God.’ Therefore, He sent his Son, who lived perfectly for us, and He’s given us His righteousness, by grace, through faith in him. So there are these religious guys who just couldn’t handle delight, couldn’t handle joy.
Watch verse 24. Here comes the conflict. The Pharisees: these are the people that were separated that said, “No, we’re very pleasing to God. We’ve tried really hard. We’ve separated ourselves. We came up with a whole bunch of rules, a whole bunch of lists, and God’s happy with our rules and our lists.” Watch this. This is actually hilarious.
24 “The Pharisees were saying to Him (Jesus)…”
Now, for those of you here who aren’t Christians, you don’t know what the Bible says about Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus is God, second person of the Trinity, co-equal with the Father and the Spirit, the eternal one, the creator of all things visible and invisible. So here comes the religious cats and they’re talking to God with a Bod on earth.
(Mira) “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
Here’s what you’ve got to understand. Religious people are very bold, very bold, and very, very confrontational. They’ll get right up in your face and say, “You’re wrong. You’re sinning. You’re not doing what what our rule books says that you ought to do. You need to repent.” They tend to be incredible bullies. They’re very convinced that they’re right. Therefore, you must be wrong. If there’s a disagreement, you’re always wrong. They’re always right. In fact, they’ll correct God. Just flat out. They’ll say, “God, you’re wrong. We know you’ve…. you’ve already healed a bunch. You’ve done a bunch, but you are wrong.” You need to know- my, my religiometer – my creepometer…. Whenever you come to the Bible….. This is when you know religions growing in your heart: whenever you come to the Bible and you naturally apply it to your spouse. (There we are. All right.)
That happens to me every single day. (This would be so good for Brooke. I should just leave my bible open on the kitchen table, with a little sticky note pointing right there). That is pride, arrogance, religiosity growing in my heart and it will destroy my marriage. You see, this is what religion always does. It spies on others and applies truth to others because it’s unable and unwilling to humble itself and apply truth to itself. This is what they did. They came and they applied the truth to Jesus, but it wasn’t…. Jesus wasn’t breaking the truth of God’s word. He was breaking their rules and their laws that they came up with. That they said, ‘this is why God is very happy with us.’ And so there’s the scene, setting, scenario. Watch how this plays out.
Watch how Jesus loves everyone. Watch how your King loves everyone in this very well. He’ll love the religious guys; he’ll love the hurting guys. He just loves perfectly. As a church that really highlights the goodness of God, the salvation by grace, our religiosity can come in. We’re really against religious people, so we’ve gotta be very careful that we don’t just set up religious rules against religious people, because then we become religious in our own way and we’re equally wrong. Watch what Jesus does. He does it perfect. Watch 25 and 26. Total twist here:
25 “And He (Jesus) said to them….”
And let me just tell you, this is not what I expect. If you take your western glasses off, what I expect Jesus to do here, is to go back and win an argument. To say, “Have you guys ever read Genesis chapter two, verses one through three–where God talks about the Sabbath? Or expect Jesus to expound Exodus Chapter 20, verses 9-11, and say, “Here’s why I’m right and you’re wrong, and I win the argument because I’m smarter than you. Therefore, ya…ha. I’m better than you.” Jesus doesn’t… watch how he uses the scriptures. and I’m going to ask you the question: How do you view the scriptures? I want you to see how Jesus uses the Old Testament because it totally messes with my mind.
25 And He (Jesus) said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry;
He references back. Just write down 1 Samuel Chapter 21. David’s on the run from Saul. He’s really…he and his boys really hungry. They go, they ask the priest, do you have anything to eat? Only the twelve loaves of shewbread. David takes those twelve loaves… Totally unlawful, right? I can expound Leviticus and Deuteronomy to you. Totally unlawful. They take those 12 loaves, they eat them, and God doesn’t condemn them. God’s like, “You know what? People over process, people over procedure, a life is more important than this rule that was meant to serve you, not enslave you.”
Watch, watch verse 26,
26 how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and (he) ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?”
Here’s why this is hilarious. Jesus turns to these guys who set up these rules and regulations and asks them a question. “Have you never read what David did? This is hilarious because these cats would have had the posters of David up on their wall killing Goliath. Like, no Michael Jordan, no Shaq or whoever the big poster. (Do kids put posters up anymore? No… Back for us Xers we used to put up posters.) These guys would’ve had posters of King David killing Goliath and all of that. So for Jesus to ask them, “Have you never read what David did?”, number one is hilarious because they would’ve been inflamed by that. “Like we memorized 1 Samuel Chapter 21 jerk.” They would’ve been all fired up, and then Jesus goes through to show how David actually broke the law and God didn’t condemn him. See in western thought, it’s like, ‘No, it’s black and white. God said certain things. You do them and he’s happy with you. And you don’t do these things and he’s happy; because you don’t smoke, drink, or chew or go with anyone who do. And therefore we make God happy by all our rules and regulations.’ What religion always does is: it reduces truth and makes it nonsensical.
Religion is like a minimum speed limit. You ever seen the minimum speed limit signs? Anyone? Anyone ever not seen the minimum speed limit signs? (Y’all going to sleep on me? There’s one person, OK.) In certain parts, in certain regions, and certain areas–there are minimum speed limits. What religion does is will take those and makes foolishness out of it. Now I’m going to use hyperbole to prove a point. It means exaggeration just for this. So I’m going to parenthesize my hyperbole. Religion is like this. (Well, the minimum speed limits 40, so I’m gonna.. I’m gonna go 40 no matter what. Then all of a sudden some dude walks out in front of your car and you run him over. Somebody says, ‘why did you run him over?’ “Minimum speed limit is 40. I kept the speed limit. I’m a law keeper.”) See, religion messes up priorities. It will mess up your priorities. You will no longer see people who are broken and in need of grace–to love them, and serve them. Religion makes rules.
Jesus pushes into that with these guys and says, “Really? Minimum speed limit? Have you never read what David did?” You see he was calling out the foolishness and folly of their rules, that they believed pleased God. How do you view the Bible? Jesus viewed it as a tool that brought freedom for life. Not rules that regulate every aspect of life whereby you can please God. Do you come to the Bible and do you view it: rules or tools? Now, I already see on some of your faces… you’re like (but there are rules in there. There are rules. There are.) Listen, I don’t deny any of the 613 old testament rules. I don’t deny any of the present active imperatives in the Bible, but those rules are there to set you free. Those rules are there to set you free. (No Amens…)
The Bible says, “Don’t get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18-20)
(“Oh my goodness. God told me not to get drunk! What a mean, harmful, hateful God.”) Well, no, not really. Here’s a conversation that never took place. (Hey, what’d you do this weekend? ‘Got loaded drunk.’ Oh, good for you. I bet you made really smart decisions. ‘I did. I balanced my checkbook. I did my budget. I did my five year plan. I did all the laundry, washed my dishes, and overall loved my family really well while I was drunk.’) Like that never happened, right? Even the rules that He gives us are for our good, for our freedom– because sin enslaves. Religion only sees rules; not tools to set us free. Now watch verse 27. It gets better. I’m having too much fun. I’m going to roll a little bit more.
“Jesus said to them” after he totally faced ‘em and said, “Did you guys not read 1 Samuel 21?”
Then Jesus said to them, “the Sabbath was made for man, not the other way around. I didn’t make man to obey the Sabbath” That is religion always sees burdens, not blessings. Religion will always see whatever God gives them as a burden. It’s the most amazing thing. It’s what religion does. ‘Well, I’ve got to do this to make God happy. I’ve got to take a day off.’
I spent a lot of time in the south at college down there, and they would regulate everything we could do on Sunday. It used to blow my mind. It’s like (Wait a minute, God gave us a day off). “Yes, and we’re going to make sure you use it correctly.” (What…what?) “You can’t run.” (Really? Because some people rest by running.) You know that? I’ve met them. I’m not one, but I’ve talked to them. I’m like, “How do you rest? (I run) I’m like, “from what?” (No, I just run. Really…. I feel so refreshed.) 27 Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.
Hillside, here’s what I need you to realize. You go home-you do your studies, you do your research: you look at America and rest. We are exhausted as a nation. We are physically, emotionally, relationally, personally, exhausted. Seventy four percent of us are a danger to drive regularly. That’s what the studies say. A good number of us fall asleep at work every day. We are over-stressed, over-committed, over-caffeinated, and we’re exhausted because we don’t understand. Sabbath was made as a good gift from a good God for us. He tells us to rest. He says, “I’ve blessed you. I’ve given you a day.” And I’ll tell you what–the enemy hates this. You study in America the rise of prosperity along with the rise of anxiety, panic, fear, stress, and worry.
The more we make: the more worried, stressed and fearful we are that we will lose it; and that steals our rest. We go home and we are anxious, and fearful, and panicked. And even when we have a day off, we’d get our phones and we work more, don’t we? My wife has been so good for me in this….so good. She’ll just look at me and say, “Your family misses you.” I get to put away my phone and be present because I realize I’ll still have six more days to work. There was one day I can be present. I can show up. I can be there and I’m not that good at it. This message is holistically for me, but I realized the enemy hates rest. He’ll kill rest. Here’s something I never heard that I’m going to give to you. To rest well is an act of worship. To rest well: it’s an act of worship- because I’m proclaiming “God, you’re sovereign, you’re in control. This all doesn’t ride on me. I don’t have to do everything. I don’t have to carry the weight of the world. I don’t have to bear all these anxieties, panics, stresses, fears and worries. You’re sovereign. Therefore, I can cease striving for a day and know that you’re God.” That’s an act of worship. Why do we think worship involves us performing and doing more, when he’s actually called us to rest in him? You know, Psalm 127 says, “He gives to his beloved even in their sleep.” When was the last time you laid down and thought about, “Oh man, is my heart going to keep beating overnight? How many breaths do I have to take? I have to keep my kidneys going.” He’s so good. He cares for us. He says, “Cast your anxiety.” (1 Peter 5:7)
Jesus said, “The Sabbath: It’s a good gift. I’ve given it to you. Will you enjoy it or will you ruin it with rules?”
Because that’s what religion does. Watch verse 28. Watch where it goes from here.
28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Jesus, just dropped the mic on him. He’d totally reached back to Daniel chapter seven -read it when you guys get home, write it down. Said, “The son of man appeared; clouds of heaven.” (Matt 24:30)
Jesus said, “I made the Sabbath. Hey, your rules…your 39 rules, are cute. And I know you like to judge one another and see if everybody’s resting right? But I made the Sabbath. Therefore I get to define the Sabbath.”
And I’m so glad he did. Notice he said, “I want you to rest. I want you to refresh, be restored, replenished so you can go back out and serve me and rejoice, because I’m a good God. I’m not like the Egyptians. I’m not a slave driver. I’m a good God. I love to give you rest. And I want you to radiate that rest to a world that’s stressed and panicked and fearful. But I made the Sabbath so I get to define it.”
And I want you to know, he didn’t put a whole bunch of rules out there for it. He didn’t. You know why? I already told you. We’re all different. Some of us run to rest. It’s weird, totally weird. You know some of you, your more introverted, and so you’re going to rest totally different. You’re going to be alone in a dark room with no stimulation. That’s restful. That’s what I do sometimes: I’ll just lock myself in a room. I’ll be quiet. I look like I’m totally in a coma. (‘What are you doing?’ “Thinking.”) See I’m resting, and when I rest, I explore neurological pathways, things that needed to be looked at…and so I just rest by thinking. It freaks some people out. They’re like, (Dude, I thought you were in like a sugar coma or something. About to call 911). “No, I’m resting.”
Other people are more extroverted. They’re around people, they engage people. They rest by doing that. Some people are feelers. They’d go outside and they enjoy nature, and it just allows them to replenish. Refresh. Others of us, we have allergies. We’re like, “Keep me in with a hepa filter. I don’t want to go out there. I don’t….I don’t rest outside.”
He made us all different. What religion does is: religion demand’s uniformity. I’m going to say this again just to protect and serve a lot of you kids. You’re going to go to places and you’re going to see everyone dressed alike, speaking alike, talking alike, thinking alike. That’s called religion. It demands uniformity. Demands that everybody look the same way and do the same thing. That’s what religion does to good blessings that God gives to us. Like whenever I run into a Mormon and they’re like, “Hey, can we talk?” (Sure. If you put on a blue shirt; just put on a blue shirt so that I know I’m not talking to a robot).
See religion demands everybody wear and do… totally inappropriate? Listen, my team would be upset if I didn’t say at least one thing that got me in trouble. No, but really you see the point? No. Listen, I know some of you have family members who are Mormons. They’ve denied the Deity of Christ. I don’t hate them. I love them and I want them to know freedom in Christ. I use that as an example: that religion demands that everybody look alike. Jesus in fact made us all different and he’s going to allow us to rest different. In that, we’re going to walk and give a lot of grace and a lot of freedom. Now, if you dudes just want to tell me, well, I rest by watching the NCAA tournament for 14 hours a day. I’m going to say no, that’s, that’s called being a selfish slob. (Sorry Jeff. I try not to get eye contact with anybody) Don’t turn your grace into licentiousness and be like, “I’m Sabbathing and all day long watching TV.” Scientifically that actually drains you. It doesn’t refresh you. I’ll pull up this study. I’m totally off track now. He’s the Lord, even of the Sabbath. He made it. He defines it. As you walk with him, he’ll walk you in the truth of what it means to rest well, to be refreshed. Now, watch where it goes from here. Now that the stage is totally set, these leaders have all that they need to crucify Jesus. They just need one more thing. They need evidence. Now it’s all set up. Watch what they do. Verse one, chapter three:
“He (Jesus) entered again into the synagogue;
Right here you’re going to see into the heart of a religious person. Religious people look very good on the outside. They look like they have it all together. You need to know that they have murderous thoughts inside. If you push a religious person, they will want to murder you. There is murder inside. They clean the outside of the cup, the bowl, the dish, but inside they’re full of all kinds of lawlessness. This is why I’m always cautious. The only times really I feared for my life is confronting religious people, because I know they’ll want to kill me.
Mark 3:1 “He (Jesus) entered again into the synagogue; (to love, to serve, to care, to share, to rest, to be with believers) and a man was there whose hand was withered.
So there’s a man there, who’s hand is withered. He probably had a chicken wing. If you read through the Church Fathers church history, he was probably a mason and got his arm crunched, so he’s no longer able to work, to provide for his family.
So he’s there: the man with a chicken wing; man with a withered arm. Watch this, verse two. Now it’s going to show us men with withered hearts.
“They were watching Him (Jesus)… the Pharisees. Why? To see if he would heal this man on the sabbath. Why? So that they might accuse him. There was a man with a withered arm and there was men with withered hearts. If you ever saw the Grinch That Stole Christmas….every time I read this….they give that x-ray of the Grinch’s heart and it’s like a little kidney bean. It’s all withered up. That’s these cats. That’s religious cats. They’re there. They don’t care if this man gets well. They don’t care if this man is restored. They don’t care if this man is loved. They care if Jesus breaks their rule, so that they can accuse him. Now, watch your King.
I want you to leave amazed by the courage of your King, so that your hearts are filled. Your King is a lion that fights for you. He wants you to rest. He loves you. He wants you to be well. And tired troops can’t fight temptation. For so many of us, we’ve been overwhelmed with sin. And we’re running, and running, and running, and we say, “I just can’t overcome.” Oftentimes because we’re tired, we don’t go to Jesus. Receive rest to fight well.
They were watching him to see if he would heal them on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him. Watch your King. Verse Three. So amazing.
3 “He said to the man with the withered hand, (arise or) “Get up and come forward!”
In the emphatic, “Arise, withered Wally! Come forward!” He didn’t have to do this. He didn’t have to do this. I’m going to say it again. There are other ways Jesus could have done this. He totally could have come up to this cat and said, “Hey, there’s religious guys and they are watching me, so meet me in back in 25 minutes by the recycling, but not the trash cans… recycling. We’ll get this whole thing taken care. Twenty five minutes. Yes, in back.” He totally could have done that. No sin in that, there wouldn’t have been anything wrong with that.
But, remember when Jesus stood on trial, he said, “All of my works I’ve done in plain sight for everyone. I didn’t do anything in secret. Everything I did was in the open.” (John 18:20)
He loves this man so much. He loves that congregation so much, and he really loves these religious men so much. He says, “Let’s do this all in the open. Let’s do it right there.” And watch what Jesus says. Verse Four,
“And, He said to them, (now he’s talking to the Pharisees) “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent.”
Quick test: true or false– just for you. Please tell the truth. Have you ever lost an argument, but maintained and argued your point just to save face? OK? Has your spouse ever proven you wrong, but you argue your point just to win? (Thanks Chris. We’ll talk about lying later) Because it’s embarrassing. I’ve done it. I’ve argued a point that I know is wrong and even when I’m proven wrong, I’m like, (Well, there must be multiple birth certificates, because I know that on one it says that… too personal of an example? That’s all right.)
Jesus totally… Now the whole crowd is involved. He’s going to call them out on their religiosity, their performance, their rules. “Is it right to do good or to do harm? To save life or to…” Jesus’ question is spot on. It’s totally legal. It is in fact the purpose of the Sabbath, to restore life, to restore health, to replenish. That is the whole reason of the Sabbath. But these men kept silent, because that’s what religion will do. It would rather be right, than redeem another person. This is why it’s from hell. It would rather be right. Be proven right. Look right, than redeem or restore another person. Watch where Jesus goes with this. It’s a perfect picture of the Gospel. Verse Five,
“After looking around at them with anger…”
Jesus was angry. He asked these men because he loved them, and he was inviting them to humbly repent. He asked a simple question to highlight their error, because he loved them, and he wanted them to repent. “Return to me. Come back! Israel, my children come back to me.” Here’s simple truth: they wouldn’t answer. Jesus looked around with anger and he was also grieved in his heart. Why? At their hardness of heart. Even when proven wrong, they wouldn’t humble themselves. They wouldn’t repent, they wouldn’t enter his rest. They require that their rules, their performance, was enough. They were abusers.
So Jesus looking at these men, who were staring down at him like a pack of wolves said, “Wally, stretch out your arm.” He stretched out his arm and it was very interesting, because that’s the whole purpose of Sabbath; to delight, to restore, to rejoice, to enjoy, to be together, to refill, to recreate that which was lost at the fall.
Most of us have no idea how to Sabbath and we live life exhausted, frustrated, panicked, anxious, fearful, and worried. Because we don’t go to Jesus and have our souls restored.
“The Lord is your shepherd. When you go to him, you shall not want. He’ll make you lay down in green pastures. He leads you beside still waters. He’ll restore your soull. Anoint your head with oil.” (Psalm 23)
Your king is a good King. He doesn’t need you to perform for him. He longs and loves for you to come be with him, so He can fill up your soul with life, joy, peace, patience– So you can go out another week and pour out loud. Watch verse six.
“The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians…”
This is a strange mix right here. They didn’t get along, ever. The Herodians connected with the political powers; the Herod’s that be; and they built their kingdom off of expediency. The Pharisees saw them as dirty dogs; unclean. You couldn’t have anything to do with them. Now all of a sudden, the Pharisees and Herodians are together, giving counsel to one another on how they might destroy Jesus.
Here’s the picture of the Gospel. Jesus came to restore that which was lost–to give us rest. Here… The perfect picture of the Gospel is this: Jesus knew that in order to restore life, he would lose his life. It would be destroyed. Jesus knew that to give you rest, he would have to be ruined. Jesus knew to take your sin, to take your shame, to take my guilt, to take my condemnation, meant it would cost him his life. Mark says, “Here is the point Jesus knew he would be crucified because he healed this man, and the religious said, you must be destroyed.”
This is what the Gospel is, and if you don’t understand that, you can’t have any rest. You see what keeps you from resting is guilt, anxiety, panic, stress, worry. Have I done enough today? Have I read enough of the Bible? Have I prayed enough? Have I done enough to please God? That’s performance based religion.
Jesus calls and says, “You know what? Before you were even born, I loved you and I became sin for you, so that I might give you my righteousness, because I love you.”
He who did not spare His own Son, but freely offered Him up for us all. How will he not also give us all things in and through him. (Romans 9:32)
Jesus Christ as the propitiation, he satisfied the wrath of God towards my sin, but not only mine, for all those who would come to him by faith.(Romans 5:9)
Do you understand what Jesus did to purchase your rest? Therefore, do you understand what an affront it is to live a life of religion, rules, and performance? It totally destroys the picture of grace. Hillside, my prayer for you this week would be that you would know the redeemer’s love for you, and in that you would find rest. See, I’m convinced that much of our problem in marriage, family, community: we’re an exhausted people that are performance driven, very religious in all ways, and we demand that other people live up to that standard. We don’t give grace.
I’ve prayed that you might know the rest of Jesus Christ. That you might know his pleasure in Christ. Now, if you haven’t put your faith in Jesus Christ, you need to know, there is no rest outside of Jesus Christ. There’s none. You are on a performance based wheel that will never end. Every day you’re only as good as your last performance. So I would invite you today to handover the steering wheel of your life to Jesus Christ. Submit to him, surrender to him, put your faith in Jesus Christ. Let him give you that rest. But together Hillside: let’s be a place that doesn’t highlight religion, and performance, and rules; but grace, peace, mercy, love… The truth of the rest that God has given us in Jesus Christ. May you know the rest that Jesus Christ purchased for you today. Let’s pray.
Father God, thank you for sending your son to accomplish what we could not accomplish. Thank you for the rest that is now ours in your son, Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit, would you do a work in my heart that would align with Matthew 11:28: all those who are weary and heavy laden come to me and I’ll give you rest. Father, would you help me to rest well? To understand that you’ve taken away that guilt, that shame, that condemnation, in your son, Jesus Christ. Father, may this be a place of delight, of joy…. that rests well because our Father loves us well. I pray you’d do this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Mark 2:23-3:6 NASB
23 And it happened that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain.24 The Pharisees were saying 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 was in need and he and his companions became hungry; 26 how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
3 He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. 2 They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 He *said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” 4 And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
- The King’s Courage 2:23-3:6
- The Scene 2:22-23
- The Scripture 2:24-25
- The Sabbath 2:26
- The Savior 2:27
- The Sadness 3:1-6
QUESTIONS FOR NEXT WEEK – Mark 3:7-12
- How did we end up with celebrity pastors and celebrity Christians? What did Jesus’ response to popularity seem to be?
- How would we describe Jesus’ early ministry? Why do we seem to measure things in the church by numbers?
- What do you do with the pressures of life? Why do you think we tend to carry more than we can handle?
- What does it look like for you to cast your anxieties on Him?