Summary: In this text Jesus will show us how to move beyond hypocrisy and into genuine, authentic faith. In this text we will see Jesus goes head to head with religious hypocrites, and show us what it takes to leave hypocrisy behind.

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Mark 2:18-3:6


1. What is the #1 thing that keeps people from faith in Christ?

2. Is there anything that keeps people from faith in Christ like my hypocrisy? Saying one thing, and doing another. Claiming to believe and live a certain way, but not demonstrating it. Has anyone ever told you they can’t believe because of hypocrites?

3. Is there anything that keeps me from real faith, from a genuine, authentic relationship with God like my hypocrisy?

4. Are we doomed to be hypocrites? Is there any hope? Is there anything beyond hypocrisy? Can I have authentic faith?

Today Jesus will show us how to move beyond hypocrisy and into genuine, authentic faith. Today we will see Jesus goes head to head with religious hypocrites, and show us what it takes to leave hypocrisy behind. It all begins in Mark 2, verse 18. Turn there. As I read v. 18, notice the question Jesus is asked.

A traditional question – a question of tradition. (18)

Fasting was an important Jewish ritual, associated with mourning, sorrow.

Day of Atonement only prescribed fast, others followed, became traditional.

Pharisees at this time fasted Mondays & Thursdays, with ashen faces, shredded robes.

John’s disciples fasted as an expression of repentance designed to hasten the coming time of redemption.

How come you don’t do things the traditional way?

Why don’t you act like the Pharisees or John’s followers?

Why don’t you do what pious, religious people do?

We might say, “why don’t you do what spiritual people do?”

Notice the answer Jesus gave as I read vv. 19-20.

A non-traditional answer (19-20)

Jesus answers with a question - common rabbinical style.

Its no time for fasting - its a time for celebrating!

Jewish wedding lasted a week, very celebrative.

To fast in the presence of the groom would be unthinkable.

An expression of sorrow is inappropriate to the new situation that has come with Jesus’ presence.

Fasting = sorrow, Christianity characterized by joy!

Jesus is the center and cause of their joy.

There would be time later for fasting...

Not an explicit messianic statement, but veiled.

‘Bridegroom’ not used in OT or Jewish lit. for Messiah.

A need for something new (21-22)

Read vv. 21-22

Patching a hole in an old garment won’t do it - new clothes!

The old forms & traditions won’t contain the new truth!

"Fresh" wine would ferment, expand and explode old skins.]

Old not bad, but its time has passed. New luggage is needed!

John’s disciples fasted to prepare for the coming Kingdom.

In Jesus, the kingdom is here! So his followers rejoice!

This is something totally new, meaning totally different. The new disrupts the old and breaks the mold!

The Pharisees fasting perpetuated the old in an unbelieving mechanical fashion, blind to the new moment of joy.

Religious traditions are not enough. Jesus is!

A. Jesus escapes the tradition trap

Jesus says, “your traditions don’t cut it. I don’t participate in them because they belong to the old, not the new, different thing God is doing. They were hypocrites because they clung to their tradition and missed out on God. Jesus escaped their tradition trap, and escaped their hypocrisy. He is something altogether new!

B. We can escape the tradition trap

Jesus is the way to escape the trap of tradition.

People view tradition differently.

Some are fun & harmless – superbowl party, donuts on 1st day of camping trips

Some provide sense of heritage, memories – Christmas dinners, vacations

But some are parameters that prohibit growth and good.

Churches are good at this -- "we never did it that way before"; we have programs that we fight for because they are our tradition; music forms.

A hypocrite follows tradition and misses out on God.


Let’s not hide behind our traditions – coming to church, etc. Let’s move toward a real relationship with God.

There is something else we must do to avoid hypocrisy. As I read vv. 23-24, notice that Jesus gets questioned again by the Pharisees.

Sabbath observance was a very distinctive element of Judaism. The next two stories concern the Sabbath.

The action itself was totally legitimate. (Deut. 23:25)

But you couldn’t reap on the Sabbath – work not allowed.

The Pharisees interpreted picking a few grains as reaping.

This is making mountains out of molehills

This is a chief characteristic of legalism.

As usual, they had gone overboard quantifying restrictions.

Scribes enumerated 39 kinds of work that were forbidden.

Listen to how Jesus responds as I read vv. 25-26

Jesus counter-questions, appealing to Scripture.

He tells the story of 1 Sam 21:1-6.

Saul was the Lord’s anointed, then David was.

Saul pursued David. He is on the run and weary.

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