Class Notes: 7/31/2013

Mark 2:18-23 Jesus describes the new protocol plan to John's disciples and Jesus' disciples trample on the Pharisees' Sabbath keeping rules

In our study of Mark we are in Mark 2:18 we see Jesus being criticized by John the Baptizer's disciples regarding His attendance at Matthew's party.

This criticism comes on the day after Jesus and His disciples had attended the party at Matthew's house. This is subtle indirect criticism regarding their attending the party with people who were social outcasts.

Legalism always puts the believer in direct opposition to Jesus Christ and grace. Legalism causes the believer to imitate the unbeliever's religion. Legalism causes the believer to be linked with the unbeliever as in "we and the Pharisees." Legalism is evil.

They were fasting with the religious people rather than out partying with Jesus the previous evening and now they have the gall to criticize Jesus about it.

Mark 2:19; Jesus uses three analogies in his answer to the criticism from John's arrogant disciples. The first answer has to do with inner happiness or true spirituality. It is an illustration of a wedding feast.

"Can the wedding guests fast as long as the bridegroom is with them?" To understand this we must understand that the custom of the time was for wedding guests to stay in the house with the bride and the groom during the honeymoon.

They all feasted, partied and had a great time and it was a very exciting and happy time and everyone had a lot of fun but the party broke up when the bride and the groom left.

In the analogy the wedding guests are believers and the groom is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is on the earth and what Jesus is saying to them is: "As long as I am here in person you should be having a party."

Mark 2:20; " but the day will come when the bridegroom will suddenly be taken from them, and then shall they fast" (in the true sense of the word with the prioritization of Bible study and prayer). This is an illustration of the happiness of having a relaxed mental attitude.

His presence with them was a situation as happy as a wedding feast but this situation would abruptly change, because the time would come when the Bridegroom (Jesus) would be abruptly taken away.

The word translated "taken" is the Greek word "aparthe" that implies a sudden violent removal from them and on that day (His crucifixion) the disciples would fast in the sense of experiencing sorrow instead of happiness.

This allusion to His coming death is a prophetical reference to the impending Cross in the book of Mark. Net note 44

It is a future tense referring to the communion table. The type of fast that we have at the communion table is a legitimate fast; it is remembering the Lord Jesus Christ through our recall of doctrine under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.

When the Lord is taken, a reference to His death, "then shall they fast." The disciples would then enter into this communion concept. This is a perpetuated time that is used for Bible study and prayer that would ordinarily be used for eating.

This anticipates the Church Age that is going to put off the Millennium that is the big party.

Jesus is saying that we have inner happiness, we are relaxed. He is saying that He is going where the positive volition is. And positive volition in Capernaum was with the tax collectors and prostitutes not with the religious people.

Mark 2:21-22; contains the second and third illustrations that show that the old and the new are mutually exclusive and cannot be mixed. The new must completely replace the old because the old and the new are completely incompatible.

The idea is that ritual, religion and legalism and it's artifacts such as Sabbath keeping and fasting are completely replaced with the filling with grace and truth by means of God the Holy Spirit. John 1:17; John 4:23-24; Gal 5:22-23;

Mark 2:21; If you have an old garment that has been torn and make patch from new cloth that has not been pre-shrunk the next time the garment is washed the patch will shrink it will tear a bigger hole in the garment than was there before it was repaired.


v22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins will be destroyed. Instead new wine is poured into new wineskins." Net notes 46 and 47

The point was that the completely new and previously undisclosed life that Jesus was introducing was represented by the new cloth and the new wineskins and the new system (the protocol plan of God) could not be contained within the legalistic ritual and religion of Judaism (the ritual plan of God) that in the illustration are represented by the old garment or old wineskins.

He was telling them that a new way of life requires a new frame of reference. The Christian way of life only goes with a grace frame of reference; it will not be contained in the frame of reference of ritual, legalism and religion.

John the baptizer's disciples who raised the question about fasting did not realize that Jesus had come to introduce an altogether new system. It was not in accordance with His program to call men and women to subject themselves to the bondage of legalistic principles.

It is not possible to put the new wine of grace into the ritual of the law because they are mutually exclusive. Rom 11:6; "And if by grace, then is it no longer by works: otherwise grace would no longer be grace."

Conversely But if it is of works, then is it no longer of grace: otherwise it would no longer be works.

By His answer Jesus clearly distinguishes between the legalism and ritual of the Age of Israel and the grace and truth of the Church Age that He is revealing. There is no place for legalism, ritual or religion in the Christian way of life because it destroys the Christian way of life.

This is why Jesus and his disciples did not fast but instead went to Matthew's party. Jesus is making the point that fasting should not be practiced because some Jewish or church tradition demands it, but fasting can be practiced in times of sorrow.

Since believers today are not under the Mosaic Law, there is no regularly scheduled fasting. Christian fasting should not be compulsory. It may be practiced because of a personal need but not out of the requirement to observe some rigid ritualistic mandate.

When practiced as part of some alleged religious superiority or merit (Luke 18:12;), fasting is stinking self-righteousness. Initially the early church observed fasting as a voluntary religious practice, but unfortunately, because of self righteous arrogance, it did not take long for it to degenerate into a supposedly meritorious obligatory formality of ritual without reality.

Mark 2:23; As the disciples walked through a grain field on the Sabbath day they began to pick some of the heads of grain and to rub them in their hands to break them up and eat the grains.

This was in full accord with the provisions made in the Mosaic law where God said in Deut 23:25; "When you go into the ripe grain fields of your neighbor you may pluck off the kernels with your hand, but you must not use a sickle on your neighbor's ripe grain." But according to the Pharisees' Rabbinical Law to do this on the Sabbath was taboo.

Remember that the Sabbath is an illustration of grace. God rested on the seventh day because everything that man needed in the perfection of the garden had been provided, at that point there was nothing more He could do for Adam.

The Sabbath is a picture of grace: God providing and man receiving the benefit of that provision. The fourth commandment commanded Israel to rest every week on the Sabbath (the seventh day) so that they would be reminded of the grace of God.

However, religion and self righteousness had reached in and grabbed the Sabbath and distorted it into the worst type of legalism.

According to the Mishna and the Talmud it was unlawful to carry food from one house to another on the Sabbath; a donkey could not be led out on a road unless its covering had been removed before the Sabbath; an egg could not be cooked by putting it near a hot kettle or on a hot cloth or in sand which had been heated by the sun on the Sabbath.

It was unlawful to extinguish a lamp on the Sabbath or to light one after the Sabbath began; it was unlawful to move furniture on the Sabbath except when used as ladders, and then only for four steps; it was unlawful to wear any ornament on the Sabbath because it might be a burden, and carrying burdens on the Sabbath was forbidden.

The Pharisees used to spend many hours arguing whether or not it was lawful to tie your sandals on the Sabbath; it was forbidden to fix a leaking barrel on the Sabbath, and they even came to the place there they decided it was forbidden to stop a wound from bleeding on the Sabbath;

An interesting taboo in the Talmud had to do with dentistry. False teeth or a false plug in the tooth could not be put in on the Sabbath. If you had taken out your false teeth (and apparently they had false teeth in those days) you could not put them back in on the Sabbath

On the Sabbath it was also forbidden to sew, to reap, to plough, to bind sheaves, to thresh, to winnow, to sift, to grind, to bake, to shear, to wash, to dye, to weave, or to shave.

These taboos are all are extra-biblical; they have nothing to do with God's Word. There is nothing in the Bible that states that you can't pick and eat grain on the Sabbath day. The Rabbinical law had about 2,500 taboos for Sabbath keeping and we can see from this that in the case of Jesus the Pharisees were probably just waiting for this to come up so they could accuse Him.

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