Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Duel With the Pharisees

By Mary Vee
Mark 2; Luke 5, Matthew 9



From Mark's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee
I am standing on the shore of
The Sea of Galilee at Capernaum
These rock served a great purpose,
They helped amplify Jesus' voice when
he spoke to the large crowds.
My name is Mark. I am a disciple of Jesus. I am here with other disciples, so they may add something to what I share today. The most recent disciple to join us is Levi. 

This is what happened after Jesus said to Levi, "Follow Me."

Levi left his tax collection table, leaving people standing around him, and walked toward Jesus. He spent some time with us listening to Jesus. We welcomed Levi.

That night, Levi invited us to a great banquet for Jesus at his house. A large crowd of tax collectors and others came too. There was a lot of food, plenty for everyone.

The men laughed and enjoyed themselves.

In truth, we other disciples saw that Levi wanted his friends to meet and hear Jesus speak. He became a missionary before the rest of us!

At the far end of the table, a group of Pharisees grumbled. These men had studied the Law of Moses most of their lives. They were very smart and had become the teachers for the people. 

Some of the rules the Pharisees practiced though, were ones they had made up, taking the Law of Moses to stricter levels that God wanted. Tonight, a few of us disciples heard them grumbling, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

From the sound of their voices and the look on their faces, anyone could see that the reason for their question was to stir trouble.

When Jesus heard them ask the question He said, "it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. You should go and learn what these words from the Old Testament mean: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I have not come to rescue the righteous, but the sinners."

Well that didn't make the Pharisees very happy. These were witty men. They were quick to say back to Jesus, "John's disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but your disciples go on eating and drinking. What do you have to say about that?"

Jesus didn't even stop to ponder an answer. He said, "Can you make the guests of the groom go without eating while he is with them? The time will come when the groom will be taken from them. In those days the guests will fast."

The Pharisees didn't have a response to that.

Jesus then told them a parable. A parable is like a little story with a very special meaning. He said, "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment and the patch from the new material will not match the old fabric. 

"No one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins. The wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. No one wants new wine after drinking the old wine. The guest will say, 'The old wine is better.'"

The Pharisees left after the banquet. They were angry about being challenged, especially since they could not think of anything good to say in the end. 

I have a feeling we are going to see a lot of the Pharisees. They won't let this challenge go without saying more.

On the other hand, Jesus, well, He has a Spirit in Him that shows in every word and deed He does. Listening to Him is not like listening to the Pharisees spouting off facts. Listening to Jesus is like...well, like listening to the Truth.


Come back to read the next story.


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sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.



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