Summary: The human religious nature that tries to resolve our guilt and shame in our own way.
Last week - healing… reaffirm…
We’ll see more… but today… what’s driving through Jesus… the CENTRAL POINT
OF CLASH AND CONFLICT…
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…
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.
“… 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…
"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
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