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Summary: Great expectations part two further conflict with the Pharisees. Whose right?

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Mark 2:23-3:6. Great expectations part two.

Regulations shape all our lives. Michael imagine a game of bridge without rules, Brain imagine a Cricket match without the wickets and the crease, Mark imagine a football match without a ball and the posts. Imagine these roads without highway code, Imagine this land without a civil law and now Imagine a God without any law!

Here we have a further two encounters with the Pharisees focusing upon the weightier side of the law in regard to the Sabbath the day that God had instituted (Gen 2:2-3) After the days of creation. The Pharisees recognised the Sabbath was holy and to ignore such a fact and to turn ones back upon it was to turn ones back upon the God of the covenant.

The Pharisees examined the Sabbath law.

The Ten Commandments forbid working on the Sabbath (Ex 20:8-11, Deut.5: 12-15)

So they began to ask the question what is exactly involved in working and how can we avoid doing such work? It involved a lengthy list of do’s and don’ts on Sabbath work, this was their hedge (39 Sabbath laws) to make sure they were never in danger of breaking the Sabbath commandment.

Ultra orthodox Jews still today form hedges for instance: Israel’s major airline, El Al, recently rejected a plea by ultra-orthodox Jews with a priestly heritage to fly inside body bags. Why would someone want to do this? Ritual law states that a priest who enters a cemetery becomes religiously "unclean."

A ruling by a prominent rabbi declared that flying over a cemetery was the same as entering it. He suggested body bags as a means of maintaining separation, but abandoned the idea when told by airline security that it would be unsafe. Orthodox priests can now avoid pollution by flying late at night, as the noise levels require night flights to follow an alternate route which doesn’t pass above the cemetery.

This type of behaviour sounds bizarre to Western ears, but it harks all the way back to the time of Jesus. The Pharisees too went to great extremes to ensure they observed the Law of Moses. The goal was to be totally committed to God’s will.

There’s one thing for certain - orthodox Jews stand out! According to the Old Testament, purity laws such as these made Israel stand out, identified Israel as God’s people. Jesus declared that God’s will is no longer focused on ritual purity, but purity of character. We should be marked by our love, grace, forgiveness, etc, and as committed to developing such character as the ultra-orthodox Jew is to ritual purity.

source: reported by reuters.com,

This might sound bizarre to our ears but it stems back to the Pharisees in Jesus day. Christians can also use add ons which are not warranted.In regard to what is permitted and not permitted on the Lords day for example.

In actual practice Jesus was’nt in breach of Gods law but was in breach of man made regulations they equated to disobedience to Gods law. V24. That’s exactly why the disciples of Jesus were rebuked because law no 3 of 39 hedged laws on the Sabbath states there was to be no reaping on the Sabbath.


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