Summary: This sermons shows that the coming of Christ brought a new spiritual order, that Christianity is not Judaism “patched up”.
All Things New
Aim: To show that the coming of Christ brought a new spiritual order, that Christianity is not Judaism “patched up”.
Text: Mark 2:18-22
Introduction: You don’t see many people with elbow patches these days, have you noticed that? When I was a lad it was quite common to see children with patches in the elbows of their jumpers, or having leather patches on the elbows of the school blazers. I think most High School students today would be mortified if their mother suggested sowing a patch on a wearing school blazer rather than replacing it with a new one. I must say, when I was growing up I used to feel a mixture of embarrassment and sympathy for the kids with patches. I was fortunate enough to be brought up in a home where we didn’t do quite so much making do and mending as other homes. Patches on the elbows seemed to say you came from a poorer home.
This evening, we come to our opening text in Mark and we read about patches. Putting “new cloth on an old garment.” You see there were those who thought that Jesus was seeking to build a patched up religion. That it was just an addendum to Judaism in one form or another, but the Lord wanted them to see that He makes all things new. That Christianity, whilst born out of Judaism, is something very different from it.
It all begins with that supper in Matthew’s house we spoke about the last time we were together, you remember, the one with “publicans and sinners”. You will recall it was an uncomfortable mix of guests, those considered to be the lowest caste of ancient Israelite life mingling with those who thought of themselves as a cut above. But it seems there is one more detail I forgot to mention, this feast of Matthew’s it would seem was held either on a Thursday or Monday. Not a good day for a party in Capernaum, not a good day for a party anywhere. Traditionally those were feast days, (I will explain why in a bit) and so it would seem the Pharisees were not only unhappy that Jesus was eating with publicans and sinners, they were unhappy He was eating that day at all!!
Let’s begin by considering:
I. Strange Companions – vs 18a
A. I don’t know about you, but that first line of verse 18 intrigues me, “And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees…”
1. Now I have heard it said that opposites attract, but even with that old adage in view we have to admit that these two make for very strange bedfellows… “the disciples of John and of the Pharisees…”
2. The Pharisees, as a group, it is fair to say had little time for the ministry of John the Baptist.
3. John was something of a wild man by their standards; in all likelihood he was an Essene, a sect of the Jews who lived ascetic, monastic type lifestyle. John lived in the wilderness ate locusts and wild honey dressed in camel hair, whereas they were at the hub of religious and political life in Israel, enjoyed fine clothes and good food.
4. They were virtually incompatible, indeed John when he saw them coming to his baptism roundly condemned them, “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 3:7)
5. These are hardly words of friendship and conciliation, and yet here we find the disciples of John and of the Pharisees, hand in hand in their approach to Jesus.
6. How can that be?
II. Shared Cause – vs 18b.
A. The concern that brought these two opposites together was the practice of fasting.
1. It never ceases to amaze me how some cause or other will draw together people who might otherwise never see eye to eye, and how they will abandon their dearest convictions if they determine a common enemy.
2. Sometimes, even in the Christian church, we may allow some doctrine or other to take on such supreme importance that it seems nothing else matters.
a. E.g. head covering, translation issue, frequency of the Lord’s Supper observance, and the Sabbath day etc.
b. When we get caught up in single-issue causes we often miss the core thing, we are blinded to the truths that really matter.
c. Isn’t that what Jesus meant when He said, “Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
d. How quickly the love of God is forgotten when someone offends against our hobby horse!