Mark: 2:18-22 | Jesus: Lord Over Tradition

July 19, 2020
Book: Mark
Series: Mark

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Last week, we learned how religious people love the knowledge about God, but lack the mercy of God. We see this attitude played out in today’s message with another confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees regarding their traditions. Secondly, we also learn how we as the New Testament Church didn’t learn our lesson from the Pharisees because what happened in Jewish history has also happened in Church history.

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Pastor Dustin Daniels | River Bible Church

Mark: 2:18-22 | Jesus: Lord Over Tradition

July 19, 2020


INTRO:

Several weeks ago, Jesus shocked the Jewish people when He forgave a paralyzed man of his sins. (Mk 2:10)

And the reason people were shocked is that only God can forgive sins.

No one has ever seen a rabbi do that.

And then last week, Jesus stunned the crowds again by extending that same forgiveness to one of the most hated men in all of Galilee—Levi, the tax collector.

Jesus then witnessed to all of Levi’s friends at his conversion and going away party.

Jesus having fun infuriated the religious people—the Pharisees.

Jesus was feating — the Pharisees were fasting.

Religious people want to earn their way to God.

And they think you should too.

Religious people make up rules and regulations that are not in Scripture and impose them on others.

Religious people love the knowledge about God, but lack the mercy of God.

Religious people want to control you, and yet Scripture says that Christ has set you free.

Christ has set you free from everything.

The problem though is that we, as people, don’t do a very good job of living in Christ’s freedom.

It’s much easier to follow the rules and regulations…

Verses making godly decisions especially in the grey areas of life.

Now, as we go through the Gospel of Mark verse by verse, we see how Jesus is utterly opposed to everything that the Pharisees represent.

The Pharisees represent cold, hard religion—extra Biblical rules and regulations.

Jesus, on the other hand, represents life. That’s why the crowds flock to him.

PLEASE STAND for the reading of God’s Word:

SCRIPTURE: Mark 2:18-22

Mark 2:18 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?” NIV

Mark 2:19 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them. NLT

Mark 2:20 But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. NLT

Mark 2:21  “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. NLT

Mark 2:22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.” NLT

PRAY:

Free me from prison so that I can praise your name. (Ps. 142:)

Amen. Please be seated.

EXEGESIS: Mark 2:18-22

Mark 2:18 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?” NIV

Fasting: Abstaining from food, and even drink, for a limited time.

Why? When done correctly, it’s a form of submission to God.

When your stomach starts to grumble, it’s a reminder to pray and thank God for His goodness and provisions.

Fasting is also a physical expression of repentance.

Fasting is a physical expression of a spiritual reality—

And that reality is how utterly dependent you are on God for your next breath—let alone your next meal.

Back…

Mark 2:18. …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?” NIV

It’s an unusual combination here—John the Baptizer’s disciples AND the Pharisees.

It is not clear who is asking the question.

It’s also not clear what their intention was.

Some people say: Written in the third person, so it’s a good chance that these were common people, and they were asking a legitimate question with no agenda.

Because last week, Jesus and his disciples were feasting at Levi’s home.

The crowd saw this. People started talking, rumors have begun about Jesus.

Jesus addressed this kind of gossip in Luke 7:34, where he knew people were calling Him a drunk, a glutton, a lush, and a friend of sinners.

So Jesus’ behavior—His freedom in how He lives—

Is startling not just to the Pharisees, but to the common people as well.

No Rabbi has ever done anything like this.

So, people start to ask questions that they never asked before.

The very fact that common, everyday, ordinary people are asking these questions—about fasting—

Shows us how ingrained fasting is to the Jewish culture.

One of the many traditions that the Pharisees had—was weekly fasting.

They usually fasted twice per week—on Mondays and Thursdays.

Jesus referenced the Pharisee’s fasting in a parable about prayer…

“Where the Pharisee says, God, look how great I am, I fast twice per week… I’m not like this tax collector.”

So everybody is very aware of this fasting practice.


Mark 2:18 “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?” NIV

This question kinda-sorta insinuates that if Jesus wants to be taken seriously, you’d better pay greater attention to the rules.

The healings and the miracles and the forgiveness of sin—those are all great, but at the end of the day, you’d better get in line with our traditions.

It’s tradition—not holiness— it’s rules about and not a relationship with God…

that’s how You climb the corporate religious ladder around here.

The problem is that Scripture only commanded the Jewish people to fast once per year.

And that was on the Day of Atonement. (Leviticus 16:29)

The Day of Atonement is the holiest day of the year for Israel.

This was when the high priest offered sacrifices for the nation’s sins.

Scripture tells us something doesn’t it?

So the common people have been misled—been lied to.

They asked a sincere, legitimate question.

Mark 2:18 “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?” NIV

How come everybody in Israel is fasting, but you guys?

Unfortunately, that’s the wrong question.

And when you ask the wrong question, you’ll always get the wrong answer.

A better question from the common people should have been to the Pharisees—and not Jesus.

A better question is…

“If Scripture says to fast once per year on the Day of Atonement, why are you fasting twice per week?”

Why on earth would you do that? That makes no sense!

In fact, it’s unBiblical. It’s going against the very thing you’re trying to achieve.

But regardless, Jesus answers the question.

Mark 2:19 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them. NLT

Jesus asks a rhetorical question, and then answers it.

He takes something somber—fasting— and completely flips the conversation to joy.

He uses the analogy of a wedding/party.

A Jewish wedding lasted seven days! Can you imagine partying for seven straight days?!

Friends and guests of the bride and groom had no responsibility but to eat, drink, sing, and dance.

(That’s not very Baptist of them is it—somebody should tell Jesus.)

To fast at somebody’s wedding is completely inappropriate, insulting, and rude.

Jesus’ point is that people come to a wedding to celebrate, not fast.

Question: Why would Jesus use a wedding as His analogy here?

Let’s turn to the OT to find out.

Though the Old Testament never refers directly to the Messiah as a groom, Scripture does so indirectly,

Isaiah 62:5 NLT
 …Then God will rejoice over you as a groom rejoices over his bride. 

Hosea 2:19 NLT
I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. 

Fast forward to the NT…John the Baptizer…

John 3:28-29 NLT

John 3:28 You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for Him.

John 3:29  It is the groom who marries the bride, and the groom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. 

Revelation 19:7
Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, 
and His bride has prepared herself. 

Isn’t that cool? There are more examples like in Scripture. It’s a fun word study.

Why would Jesus use marriage as an analogy?

Because the Church is His bride!

Jesus is the fulfillment of the marriage covenant.

So let’s slow down and make sure we understand what Jesus is saying here.

Mark 2:18  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?” NIV

So the question is about Jesus’ disciples.

Mark 2:19 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? NLT

In this analogy—write this in your Bible—Jesus’ disciples are the wedding guests, and Jesus Himself is the groom.

Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them. NLT

Jesus is saying, “It’s impossible for my disciples to fast right now because I’m with them- as the groom.

And as long as Jesus is present, the disciples aren’t fasting.

But…

Mark 2:20 v But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. NLT

Taken away— sudden, violent removal— a clear reference to Jesus’ crucifixion.

Jesus goes on…

Mark 2:21  “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. NLT

Jesus gives a second analogy to answer this question about fasting.

Jesus’ point is that He didn’t come to join the Pharisees.

Pharisees (“separated ones”) strictly observed the Hebrew Bible and the oral law.

Now, the oral law is something very different.

And this is where problems arise.

The Pharisees spent the past 400 years before Jesus shows up developing thousands of rules, regulations, and traditions to build,

what they called a “fence” around the Hebrew Bible.

So we’re not just talking the Ten Commandments.

We’re talking about the 613 commandments in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

The written law—are in the first five books of the Bible—Torah/Pentateuch.

Pentateuchpente, “five,” and teu-chos, “book”

This is the Hebrew Bible. It’s the written Word of God given to Moses.

Why did the Pharisees do this?

They wanted people to keep God’s commands, because they didn’t want to be judged as a nation again and to be carried off into exile like their ancestors.

Being under Roman rule was bad enough.

What seemed like a good idea at the time, got carried away.

The Pharisees ended up with hundreds or even thousands of additional rules for each of the 613 Biblical commands.

So obviously, no one can live under that kind of weight and bondage.

That’s called religion—specifically Pharisaic Judaism.

So back to verse 21.

Mark 2:21 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. NLT

Jesus is telling the common people, “Look, guys, I’m not joining the Pharisees.”

“I’m not here to patch up their mess.”

“I’m not plugging holes in this man-made fence.”

Jesus is telling them good news!

Jesus is telling them that the Oral Law that the Pharisees love so much is not from God, and you don’t have to live under the weight of it anymore.

It’s called freedom!

So in this analogy…write this in your Bible.

The old garment is the Oral Laws of the Pharisees.

All these man-made laws, rules, and traditions have blocked the beauty and the majesty of God Himself.

Mark 2:22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.” NLT

Jesus gives a third analogy.

Let me ask you this, when you pour a glass of wine, do you use a cracked glass?

The Jews would use leather wineskin to house their wine.

Leather wineskins were soft and flexible when new, but over time they became dry and brittle.

An old wineskin is going to stretch as much as its ever going to stretch.

If it’s filled with new wine, the skin will burst because the new wine is still fermenting.

To prevent this from happening, old wine must be poured into old wineskins and new wine into new wineskins.

Luke 5:39
And no one, after drinking old wine, wants new, because he says, ‘The old is better.'” 

So what’s the point?

One interpretation is that Jesus was saying at the end of all this—

After His death, burial, and resurrection—

After the gospel is presented—

After Jesus endures God the Fathers justice and wrath for their sins—

After Jesus’ work is done and He says, “It’s finished.” From a blood stained Roman cross—

After He gives His life as a substitute for theirs—

The Pharisees would reject the new and stay with the old.

Religious people hear the Truth, but would rather try and earn their own way to God.

And that’s what the Jews have done—they have rejected Jesus as the Savior of the world.

They have rejected Jesus as the Lamb of God who has come to take away their sins.

A second interpretation is this—it’s more of a theological interpretation.

Hebrew Bible is the old wine.

And the new wine is the Oral Law of the Pharisees.

If you’re a wine drinker, you know that old wine is generally a better tasting wine.

Jesus is saying that the Hebrew Bible/Scripture is better than the teachings of the Oral Law of the Pharisees.

Biblical Judaism over Pharisaic Judaism.

Bible vs. man’s opinion of the Bible.

Last time I checked there is no book in the Bible titled… 1 or 2 Opinions.

God is so good, that we don’t have to guess what God is like or what He wants us to do.

God tells us! When you read God’s Word you hear His voice.

Freedom and legalism can’t live together, just like oil and water.

The two don’t go together.

In fact,

Matthew 5:17
Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.

Jesus came to live out the Hebrew Bible—not the oral law.

The Law of Moses was a temporary covenant.

Jesus fulfilled the covenant.

Christianity is simply the fulfillment/extension of the Hebrew Bible.

Jesus is fulfilling every law of the Hebrew Bible.

Jesus is the new patch and the new wine.

Jesus is not an attachment, addition, or appendage to the status quo of any religion.

Jesus cannot and will not be integrated into—

Or contained by– preexisting human structures, even Judaism.

These two parables state the same thing through different pictures—

Placing something new inside something old.

Jesus is saying—it’ll never work.

It’s amazing how Jesus answers this question on man-made religion like fasting, isn’t it?

Fasting and wedding celebrations do not go together.

PREACH:

It’s interesting to see how we, as the New Testament Church didn’t learn our lesson from the Pharisees.

Because what happened in Jewish history has also happened in Church history.

The Church has done the same thing with additional rules and regulations in addition to Scripture.

Think about all the different rules and regulations that vary from denomination to denomination.

Think of the different rules and regulations that vary from Church to Church in the same denomination!

And yet, many of us treat these man-made rules as Biblically inspired by God Himself.

That’s where many of our problems come in.

When we first met the Lord Jesus, we were so on fire.

We were like a sponge—going to every Bible study, every Church service we could.

Reading our Bible, taking notes, asking questions. We couldn’t get enough.

And then one day, something demonic happens.

Somebody in the Church tells you to conform to their man-made rules.

For example:

Larry the Legalist has a drinking problem— and tells Johnny Christian that he must abstain from drinking because it’s sin.

When in fact, that’s not what Scripture says. Ephesians 5:18 says, “not to get drunk.”

Larry the Legalist has a lust problem— and tells Johnny Christian that he can’t watch R-rated movies anymore.

Because if Johnny Christian watches a sex scene–that may lead to dancing…and we certainly can’t have any dancing!

But yet, Johnny Christian doesn’t struggle with lust.

Scripture says in Prov. 6:25, “not to lust in your heart for her beauty…”

What tends to happen is that somewhere through our Christian walk, the Lord convicts us of our ongoing personal sin.

Everybody’s got something.

And we deal with whatever those issues may be—and we put up our own fencing laws for ourselves…just like the Pharisees…to protect us.

And that’s good…for us.

God wants us to be wise in setting up guard rails for ourselves—so we don’t drive off the cliff into sin.

The problem is that we tend to think that whatever we struggle with—

Whatever sin issue I’m dealing with, it must be the same issue for everyone else.

So Larry the legalist imposes his man-made rules on you.

Just like the Pharisees.

And then we judge Johnny Christian on how well he conforms to the Church culture and performs with these man-made, non-Biblical rules, regulations, and traditions.

Church history has shown the same thing.

We’ve done the same thing with baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and you have to know the secret handshake to even walk in the front door!

What’s the point?

KEYPOINT:

The Church has no more authority to issue rules and regulations beyond Scripture than the Pharisees.

Luke 4:18 CSB
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me 
to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, 

Jesus is fulfilling Scripture by quoting the Prophet Isaiah in 61:1

John 8:32

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Jesus has set you free from other people’s opinions!

The Word of God says in Galatians 1:10—Am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Jesus has set you free from your shame!

The Word of God say in Hebrews 12:2— …Jesus endured the cross, despising your shame.

Galatians 5:1 NLT
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. 

Because of the person and the work of Jesus Christ, you are now free.

Scripture says that once you accept the gift of His grace and accept Jesus as the Lord of your life…

You are sealed with the Holy Spirit—the third person of the Trinity, the Godhead—Father Son and the Holy Spirit.

Scripture says that you now have the supernatural strength and wisdom to not do what you’ve always done.

You don’t have to be a dog that returns to his vomit.

You don’t have to be the washed pig that goes back to wallowing in the mud.

Going back to your old lifestyle and participating in sin is like walking back— voluntarily—

Into your own self imposed prison cell.

And yet the door is wide open, but you choose not to leave.

Many of us choose to stay there because the freedom that Jesus offers scares us.

But please know that as a child of God The Holy Spirit of Almighty God lives inside of you and is your Helper.

The Holy Spirit is the one who fills you up with Himself so that you can thrive throughout the day.

What’s it look like for you to experience the freedom of Christ today?

What man-made rules, regulations, and traditions must you lay at the foot of the cross.

Our God is a jealous God.

The Word of God in Deuteronomy 4:24 says,
 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

He will have no other lovers.

These idols, man-made rules, and traditions in your life must die.

These things are preventing you from experiencing the freedom that Christ died for.

When we look at today’s Scripture, it is undeniable that Jesus is Lord over all traditions.

Jesus is Lord, period.

PRAY:

Free me from prison so that I can praise your name. (Ps. 142:)

Tithes and Offerings:
I want to introduce you to Russell & Kaniz Abraham.

Russell, is from Bangladesh, where almost everyone is Muslim. But Russell became a committed Christian because he read the Bible, which his mother gave him.

Now in New York, he is working to share the gospel with Muslims from Bangladesh and other countries.

Russell and his wife, Kaniz live in a community in Queens, where many other people from Bangladesh live.

A portion of your tithes and offerings go to missionaries like them worldwide.

Ways to give:

  1. Two black boxes in the foyer.
  2. PO Box 4540 Cottonwood AZ 86326
  3. Online via our website at RiverBible.org
  4. Or text 928-421-4030. Give 1

Sermon Bibliography
Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. Harper’s Bible Dictionary. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985.

Beale, G. K., and D. A. Carson. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos, 2007.

Blight, Richard C. An Exegetical Summary of Mark 1–8. Dallas, TX: SIL International, 2012.

Blum, Edwin A., and Trevin Wax, eds. CSB Study Bible: Notes. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017.

Cross, F. L., and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Edwards, James R. The Gospel According to Mark. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2002.

Elwell, Walter A., and Barry J. Beitzel. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988.

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Yeshua: The Life of Messiah from a Messianic Jewish Perspective. Vol. 2. San Antonio, TX: Ariel, 2017.

Kernaghan, Ronald J. Mark. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007.

MacArthur, John. Mark 1–8. MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015.

Manser, Martin H. Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser, 2009.

Osborne, Grant R. Mark. Edited by Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton. Teach the Text Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014.

Oden, Thomas C., and Christopher A. Hall, eds. Mark (Revised). Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998.

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