Refresh Ministry Bible Study – “None but (Our Own) Jesus” or “Don’t Ask – You’ll Tell”
I. Text: Mark 2:15-28 (ESV)
15 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. 16 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?” 17 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
18 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?” 19 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. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 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. 22 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
23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And 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 was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 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?” 27 And 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.”
This week, share something about your week that was either difficult or a praise. Let’s start off by having some worshipful prayer to learn to see God as He ought to be seen – not as Santa Claus or someone who is just a great healer, but a loving God. Last week, we talked about Jesus healing the paralytic and actually had some different interpretations on how the people might have received it. What were some reactions that the people back then might have had/we might have had to how Jesus addresses the healing of the paralytic? This week’s study, titled “None but (Our Own) Jesus, will hopefully continue the trend of properly knowing who Jesus is and seeing where our correspondence to God might be mirrored in the text with how Jesus speaks out against some of those mirror images.
III. Observations/Main Points
In v.15, Jesus is at Matthew’s (Levi’s) house, and this is His entrance into that community – through Matthew. In v. 16, 18, 24, we have three separate groups of people questioning what Jesus is doing: the scribes, the people, the Pharisees. V. 16, the scribes are triggered by Jesus eating with sinners and tax collectors; they asked His disciples, but didn’t ask Him outright. Their question is directly about Jesus; it reflects a lot about their attitude towards what Jesus was doing and their own expectations of whom Jesus ought to associate with. V. 17, Jesus’s response is interesting because we’d hardly say that anyone is “well” or “the righteous”; Jesus is somewhat inviting them to accept that they’re in need of a physician and that they themselves are sinners. V. 18, the people have their own questions now, and they also reveal their own thoughts/expectations/ideas of how Jesus ought to act. Their question is about His disciples and how they act. V. 24, the Pharisees have their own question to ask, and it’s kind of about both Jesus and His disciples (although it looks like it’s more about His disciples). Their question again reflects their ideas about how Jesus and His followers ought to conduct themselves. V. 25-26 is a reference to 1 Samuel 21:1-6. V. 27 is so key. V. 28, Jesus sets them straight.
Split into groups, and have them answer the following:
In verse 15, whose house are they in? What (or who) leads to Jesus being with these unfavorable people?
What three groups of people question Jesus and His followers, and what are their questions? What can you gather from their questions?
What is Jesus trying to say in verses 19-22?
No right answers, but if you were to choose a verse that embodies the spirit of the passage and what’s transpired, which verse would you choose and why?
Throughout this passage, we see different groups of people engaging with Jesus on their terms, and this is where the trouble lies. What do all three groups have in common? They already have their own expectations of who Jesus should be; in other words, they’ve created a space for Him to fill and are troubled – or at the very least, confused – when He doesn’t occupy the place they’ve made for Him. In the same way, Jesus responds to all of them in the same manner. He invites the people who think they know how Jesus ought to be with an invitation to know Him as He really is. He says in verse 17, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” If we take the time to consider what He’s saying, we see Him inviting them to see themselves as the sick and as the sinners so that they might get to know Him and be in relationship with Him, the physician. He gives the illustration of the new and the old, making Himself to be the new wine that bursts the old wineskins because the old wineskins have been filled already; He’s making it clear that they need to either burst or become new wineskins for the new wine – Jesus – to fill them. Finally, his response to the Pharisees is that they’ve lifted the law over and beyond where it ought to be in their lives; instead of the Sabbath being for man, they live for the Sabbath, which is not why it was created. His desire is for these teachers of the law to know who He is – the Lord of the Sabbath. As we close up, how have we wrongly boxed in the Lord? What are some ways that we might even be making our Gospel smaller than it ought to be? As we come to the Lord day by day, let’s continue asking Him questions about who He is not as those who already know Him, but as those waiting for Him to reveal more of who He truly is to us; we are the sick and the sinners, the fresh wineskins, and those who seek to know the Lord of the Sabbath.