Summary: The human religious nature that tries to resolve our guilt and shame in our own way.

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Last week - healing… reaffirm…

We’ll see more… but today… what’s driving through Jesus… the CENTRAL POINT


Mark 1:40-41

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you

can make me clean."

Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am

willing," he said. "Be clean!"

> In those words we see a driving force that cannot be stopped… compassion…how

God feels towards us.

But we discover just how deeply it confronts another force at work within us…

religious force.

Explain… I’m referring to the human religious nature… that tries to resolve our guilt

and shame in our own way…

Jesus came to break through our ‘religious’ nature … to penetrate our religious

pretense with the reality of the grace that offers the relationship God truly

desires… and we truly long for.

We’ll see several encounters in a row… confrontations with this religious nature.

Any sense of Jesus as some sort passive peace-making religious figure is lost. he

knowingly and deliberately offended people. In fact, he became too hot to handle,

and the "establishment" of that day finally decided that the only way out was to get

rid of him.

This controversy came out of his unceasing opposition to anything which

threatened true humanity.

At one point Jesus makes it clear that what he brings is NEW… and cannot be

merely grafted into their previous religious perspective.

Mark 2:22

“… no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the

skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine

into new wineskins."

He is breaking through with the fulfillment of what God had foretold…

Jeremiah 31:31-34 (cf Ezekiel 11:19, 33:26)

"The time is coming," declares the LORD,

"when I will make a new covenant…

32It will not be like the covenant

I made with their forefathers…

"I will put my law in their minds

and write it on their hearts.

… they will all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest,"

"For I will forgive their wickedness

and will remember their sins no more."

New wine is work of Jesus… said at Lord’s Supper… new wine / new covenant… as well

as what he would unleash with sending of Spirit… also correlated with wine… divine joy.

Wineskins … wine ferments… stretches and hardens… no problem… but then it’s stiffer

and not able to handle the stretching and re-hardening of any new wine.

The point is this: Jesus is not merely another rabbi… nor a new religion… he is the

fulfillment of what had begun in the religious forms of Judaism. He will never be able to

be a simple attachment or appendix to their religious nature. Divine grace is breaking

forth in a new way that the people who understood only the laws and structures could

not have grasped.

Jesus has come to break through our religious limitations by restoring relationship

through a new work of grace – embodied in himself.

From Religion to Relationship….. that is what unfolds as the nature of Jesus’ ministry


Series of confrontations… that capture the breakthrough of a new covenant of

grace at hand…

1. Mark 2:1-12 – Heals paralyzed man

– Upsets ‘some teachers of the law’… because he declared forgiveness of the

man’s sins.

Mark 2:10-12 (CEV)

I will show you that the Son of Man has the right to forgive sins here on earth."

So Jesus said to the man, 11"Get up! Pick up your mat and go on home."

12The man got right up. He picked up his mat and went out while everyone

watched in amazement.

Healing bothered them (as it gave greater notoriety to Jesus)… but forgiving sins

offended them… it seemed inappropriate… unfitting. Perhaps because of what it claimed

about who he was… but perhaps because it just didn’t seem appropriate or fair to

release such a man… to declare a man clean so easily…

> But FORGIVENESS reflects he very depth of our need.

Jesus has come to break through our religious nature with the relational depth of

grace - forgiveness

Christ has come to break through and re-plumb the depths of need with the grace of


Self righteousness wants rules… standards to meet… sinners want forgiveness first.

Never presume that they can earn a righteous standing with a little sacrifice or good



2. Mark 2:13-17 – Calls Levi (tax collector)

Mark 2:13-17 (NIV)

Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he

began to teach them. 14As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at

the tax collector’s booth. "Follow me," Jesus told him, and Levi got up and

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