Grace Words

A Daily Bible Reader's Blog

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Friday, November 23. 2 Timothy 4, Mark 1 – 2

    Much of what you will find in the Gospel of Mark you will also find in one or more of the other gospels, but occasionally, there will be those nuggets about Jesus’ life that only Mark tells you about.  The closing verses of Mark chapter two is an example of that: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

    Luke takes great pains to note that Jesus was a scrupulous observer of the law of Moses, but if we are not careful, Mark will lead us to the opposite conclusion – if we are not careful.  Note that when Jesus healed the leper in chapter one, the healed man was required to observe the ritual of one who is healed.  What we find, however, is that Jesus has an understanding of the law his contemporaries do not.  They understand the law as the rule of God in their lives – but it’s only a rule.  Faithfulness requires slavish obedience to the rules.  You can be a horrid person (precisely the way Mark portrays the Pharisees), but if you keep the rules, you are good in God’s sight.

    Jesus, however, has no such understanding.  The law is not so much about rule keeping as about being like God.  It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep the law, only that the law is made for your benefit, to mold your life and change your character.  Jesus keeps the law from the inside out.  His opponents keep it only on the outside.

    This should become an interpretive rule for us.  It was exactly that for Jesus.  The rules of God are meant to affect our behavior by informing our hearts.  We don’t case them off when they don’t suit us, but we are obligated to discover how God intended them to suit us.