Summary: Jesus had an irritating ministry to the Pharisees. He irritated them to no end. He didn't fit their ideas of a Messiah.

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, "Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?"

And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? (No!) As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast." But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away (apairô –Aorist Passive Subjunctive – to be violently removed/taken away Isa 53:8) from them, and then they will fast in those days.

No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.

The past six weeks we have been studying the different aspects of Jesus’ ministry. We have seen His ministries as impressionable, powerful, redeeming, remarkable and breath-taking! Now we find that Jesus has an irritating ministry. Dealing with legalism is irritating. Let’s examine our text today in…

Mark 2:18-22

An Irritating Ministry

Jesus had His critics. They could not understand why He didn’t act a certain way. While they fasted and prayed, He was dining with the undesirables. Jesus didn’t come to repair their religion, He came to replace it. Jesus certainly did not fit their idea of a Messiah. He was an irritation to them!

Introduction – Legalism3

The pharisaical legalism pictured in the parable of the good Samaritan is alive and well. As a result, a 15-year-old African-American boy in Chicago is not.

One a warm spring evening in may 1998, Christopher Sercy was playing basketball with a few friends half a block from Ravenswood Hospital. Three teenage Latino gang members looking for a black target approached and shot young Sercy in the abdomen. His frantic friends carried him to within 30 feet of the hospital and ran inside for help. The emergency room personnel refused to go outside to assist the dying boy, citing a policy that only allows them to help those who are inside the hospital. The boys called for nearby police to attend their wounded friend. When the officers arrived on the scene they proceeded to call for an ambulance, but refused to carry the boy inside. While passersby pled with the officers to get the boy into the hospital, he lay in a pool of blood unconscious. When, after several minutes, the ambulance had not yet arrived, the police gave in and carried Sercy into the emergency room. By then, nothing could be done to save his life.

As is often true, when we legalistically insist on the letter of the law, the needs of others are overlooked. By holding to standard operating procedures, the "royal law of love" was pinned to the mat. Initially, hospital administration vehemently defended their ER's lack of involvement. Only after a barrage of community outrage did Ravenswood Hospital reverse its policy of treating only those inside its doors.

It was Jesus who observed "Woe to you teachers of the law, you hypocrites. You give a tenth ... but you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy, and faithfulness." (Matthew 23:23)

Isn’t it interesting when we don’t act like the world thinks we ought to act? Religious people have a method of behavior. Any deviation from that “shows” our intolerance and ignorance.

Note the first thing that happens in this verse. There is…

A Challenge to His Practices 18

Jesus was confronted on why He did not fast as they (the Pharisees and John’s disciples) were fasting. Their circumstances and convictions on fasting were different than Jesus’. They fasted every Monday and Thursday (Luke 18:12). They also fasted on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement, Leviticus 16:29) they fasted for repentance, distress, mourning, preparation for trial or a mission.

First, they misconstrued His Mission. Jesus came to “seek and serve those who were lost” Luke 19:10. He didn’t come to please the world but to redeem the world.

We find that they also belittled His Ministry. The Pharisees, in particular, did not like Jesus ministering to the down and outers. To them, He did not have the proper authority (theirs) to teach the people. He did not have their permission to heal people. He violated the Law repeatedly by healing on the Sabbath. To them, that was unforgivable.

They criticized His Message. His message of grace was more than they could handle. It wasn’t strict enough for them. It allowed the unclean and unfit into the kingdom.

Years ago there were two little girls playing in front of our house. One little girl was waving her arms as if she was leading the music. She told the other girl that she could be the preacher. They sang for awhile and then the “preacher” got up and said, “Blah, blah, blah, blah.”

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