Jesus Stirs Up a Conflict
Good Morning, it is a great day to be in the house of the Lord this morning. So glad to see all of your faces this morning. I really am grateful your here, after last weeks passion play I didn’t really know if anyone would show up we recieved such a dynamic presentation of the gospel, but today you’ll have to settle for the horses mouth. turn with me in your Bibles this morning to Mark chapter 2 we will begin in verse 13. Were continuing our study on the gospel of Mark learning from the life of Jesus, as I mentioned last week we saw a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ, and one of the things that kept flooding through my mind as they whipped Scottie who played Jesus, was how could anyone treat another human being so horrifically.
I mean especially since Jesus healed the sick, and the blind, he fed the hungry, and caused the paralyzed to walk again, how could anyone treat someone the way they treated Jesus? Well this morning were going to look at the catalyst that sparked a revolt against Jesus and His followers and were going to notice something very interesting, this conflict that is mentioned in our text this morning is what eventually lead to Jesus being beaten, mocked, spit upon and ultimately killed. I think you will find it interesting to know that Jesus stirred this conflict up Himself.
What we see here in the first 2 chapters from the writer Mark is the amazing popularity of Jesus during His ministry and the intense hatred of Jesus from the religious leaders. Mark puts together 4 stories in chapter that shows how Jesus came into conflict with the religious leaders of His day. In each story you will find a question that is raised about what Jesus is doing.
The first story was the story we looked at two weeks ago, it was the story of the healing of the parylitic. Where in verse 7 the pharisees ask: “Why does this guy talk like this, He is a blasphemer who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Then we move on to the story where Jesus shares a meal at the house of a man named Levi, and here you will see in verse 16 they ask: “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Then when the pharisees were fasting some people come and ask Jesus in verse 18 : “How is it that the disciples of the pharisees are fasting and yours are not?” then when the disciples pick some corn in the field on the sabbath again they ask : WHY ARE THEY DOING WHAT IS UNLAWFUL ON THE SABBATH.
Now you can ask questions to understand and gain the meaning behind something, but you can also ask questions because your trying to express your resistance to something. That is whats happening throughout the life of Jesus, anytime you see the religious leaders asking Jesus questions it is never so that they can learn it is only because they want Him to know that they do not approve of what He is doing. Isn’t it funny how people think they know better than the Lord? As if somebody had asked their opinion?
GOD DOESN’T NEED YOUR OPINION! GOD IS GOD AND HE WILL DO EXACTLY WHAT HE KNOWS TO BE RIGHTEOUS!!!
After all the reason why these religious leaders were questioning Jesus is because they didnt believe He was God in the flesh, but instead thought He was an enemy of God. The pharisees are resisting the ministry of Jesus because they want to bring it under their control. There is a growing tension that flows all the way throughout chapter 2. I want us to see this very clearly this morning, JESUS CHOSE THIS CONFLICT, it wasn’t that he sort of mishandled His relationship with the pharisees and got Himself into alot of trouble. Thats what we do!
How many times have you said: “I wish I wouldn’t have said that.”
“I wish I wouldn’t have done that.” Because it got me into trouble.... But you never see that with Jesus, Jesus chose this fight. He came into the world to save, and if He is going to save, it means He is going to have to confront those who are in power and are holding people in bondage.
That starts here.
JESUS STIRS UP CONFLICT
He took the initiative. Everybody say somethings are worth fighting for… He confronts the deadness and the silly rules of religion and truly makes a mockery of this establishment. Jesus made 3 choices that got Him in a fight. Were going to look at these choices and when we see what is behind them, were going to be faced with a big decision, because if we make the same choices Jesus made we will have the same result as Jesus. If we make the choices He made we will find ourselves in the same conflict He found Himself in.
HERES THE QUESTION:
ARE WE GOING TO FOLLOW JESUS, OR ARE WE GOING TO FOLLOW THE PHARISEES?
Let’s look at these 3 choices
Jesus Offers Friendship To Sinners
Jesus Offers Friendship To Sinners
He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them.
He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
Now this is familiar isn’t it, we have seen Him do this already with Simon, Andrew, James, and John. The thing that is different here is that Levi was a tax collector. Now something to remember here is that Israel has been invaded by Rome, they were an occupied city. Rome imposed taxes and they needed someone to go around and gather them up. But who in their right mind would go around to their own people and give it over to a foreign power?
So the Romans knew that they would have to offer good money to someone if they wanted to have a JEw be the one in charge of collecting the taxes because no one would do it if they didn’t pay them well. So what they would do was set the amount that the collectors had to gather, and then turned a blind eye to any additional amounts that these guys gathered which would go into their own pockets and they could do with that anything they wanted.
These guys had the protection of the Roman army, they could do whatever they wanted when ever they wanted. These Jewish men who took this position, were considered thieves, who stabbed thier own countryman in the backs and made money of of them. Most of the time they were immediately excommunicated from the synagogue. This man was someone who was not welcomed in church. A TAX COLLECTOR
These men were thought to be the scum of the Earth, thats what Levi was… and Jesus called him to be a disciple. That is why I hear so many people who won’t come in repentance to Jesus because they think there is no way THEY can be saved, and I always say If Jesus can save the scum of the Earth, I am sure there is room enough for you too. Levu is so touched by this offer to follow Jesus he accepts the offer and then He says I have got to go share this with my friends, and who are His friends?
If you are an outcast in society the only friends you could possibly have is the other people who for different reasons are outcasts of society. Then you find out in verse 15 that Levi invites Jesus over for supper, LEvi gets on the phone and says: get the pig in the ground, and get the wine on ice cause all my rowdy friends are coming over tonight.
“many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples.”
Oh goodness no Levi the son of God wont be found there! What are you doing?!
These people are notorious for their wickedness, and their immorality. The Bible says that the sins of some men are obvious going out before them, and the sins of others are more hidden trailing behind them. Well the sins of this rowdy crowd would have been obvious. I don’t know about you but this is an amazing encouragement to me. That no matter where you find yourself in this life, whether you are neck deep in sin and everybody knows it, or whether you are hiding sin, and no one knows about it, or whether you are in sin and do not even realize it, there is no place where Jesus will not come and meet you right where you are.
THIS IS AMAZING GRACE!
I mean think about it, Jesus called Levi, this is a man who has a reputation on him that he can never be free from. A man who is thought of as being the the one at the bottom of the barrel of his community, and Jesus come to this retched little office and says “Levi I want you to follow me.”
This is the sheer grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and not only does Jesus call Levi but this man becomes an apostle, we know Him better by his new name, we know him as MATTHEW the author of the first book of the New Testament. DONT EVER TELL ME YOUR TOO FAR GONE FOR JESUS TO TOUCH YOU AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
Jesus offers friendship to sinners
His enemies actually nicknamed Him this they called HIm: Jesus friend of sinners
WHATEVER CHOICES YOU MAY HAVE MADE, WHATEVER REGRETS YOU MAY HAVE, WHATEVER REPUTATION YOU MAY BE WEARING, JESUS CHRIST OFFERS HIS FREINDSHIP TO YOU!
If you recieve His freindship it will change your life, you see JEsus brought tax collectors out of extortion, He brought prostitutes out of prostitution, Jesus will meet you where you are but HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU WHERE YOU ARE!
Try to picture Jesus sitting in the house of Levi surrounded by this crowd, it is an awesome sight, Jesus at the table surrounded by unholy people… beutiful!
Because if there were only holy people welcomed to the table of Jesus, YOU AND I WOULD NOT BE INVITED WOULD WE?
THANK GOD FOR GRACE AND MERCY!
The pharisees hated this! Their reaction is pure hatred and resistance: “WHY DOES HE EAT WITH TAX COLLECTORS AND SINNERS?”
There is a choice here, ARE WE READY TO FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS?
I have to tell you that one of the most encouraging things that I see in the life of our church today, and there are many, that we are broadening the reach of our ministry. We are serving and reaching people today that we did not reach 5 years ago, and that we did not serve 20 years ago. That’s what Jesus did and I have watched this church do it consistently better every year.
The pharisees want to focus their effort on those who are already righteous, people like us. But Jesus wont do that He offers friendship to people who never went to church, who were alienated from the synagogue. If were going to be like Jesus we need to be focused like Jesus on winning people who would NEVER think about coming to church. So heres the first challenge, following Jesus as opposed to the pharisees means you share the love of Christ with people who are not interested in your church!
Jesus says I didn’t come to call the righteous… He is saying i cant limit my focus to only those who come to church! There is a world of need out there people who have no clue what living and walking with Jesus looks like. Thats what I am living for and if you are a part of my body that is what you need to be living for to seek and save the lost!
Jesus offers friendship to sinners
Jesus Confronts the Powers of False Religion
Jesus Confronts the Powers of False Religion
False religion always lacks joy, if you have experienced religion without inner joy, then your experience has not been with the Lord JEsus Christ. Theres more for you to discover.
False religion hands out heavy burdens
JESUS CONFRONTS THIS HERE AND IT ESCALATED THE CONFLICT.
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?”
This is interesting to me