Summary: Tracks the dealings with Jesus as he chooses Levi to be a disciple but scourges against the Pharisees.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE UGLY
A SERIES ON JESUS: PART IV (TOUGH MESSAGES)
INTRO: THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE UGLY: In an early Clint Eastwood movie made in the late 1960s (relax gang, this one is before my time to, I am only using it because of the familiar name), this western movie centers around 3 western gunslingers trying to find hidden gold in the Confederacy of the Civil War (for those movie historians, producer Quinton Tarantino calls this the best directed movie in history). The nicknames that these 2 men go by…is Good, Bad…and you guessed it. Clint Eastwood is called good.
TRANSITION: For this lesson, we are still in Mark 2, and Jesus calls out 3 groups of people. Based on who he is talking to and the message he brings, can you guess what the three groups are?
1. THE GOOD
BIBLE VERSE: Mark 2:15-17
2:15 As Jesus was having a meal in Levi’s home, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 2:16 When the experts in the law and the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 2:17 When Jesus heard this he said to them, “Those who are healthy don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
A. Tax Collector’s Were Considered Traitors: Here is Levi (also called Matthew), hosting a feast with Jesus, maybe even using bribed funds gained illegally. Tax collectors were hated back in the day. Their job was to collect taxes from the people to give to Rome, and to make their income they put a surcharge or an extra tax on top of that, mostly up to their discretion. People of Jerusalem saw them as thieves (rightfully so in many cases), and worse than that, traitors—for they worked for the enemy, Rome.
*Technically (and this may be too much for some, but meat for the older ones), Levi could have been a tax collector for Rome OR he could have been a tax collector for Herod Antipas, the man who extracted tolls for people who enter into Palestine/Capernaum.
BUT WHAT THE WORLD THINKS IS BAD…GOD USES FOR GOOD!
B. Poor Reputation: Can a person with a bad reputation be used by God (allow time for some answers here)? After some information, here is the general census: absolutely God can use someone with a bad reputation! Think about Paul. What was he before he was a Christian…he was Saul, Saul the murderer, Saul the murderer of Christians. If God can use someone who killed Christians, God can use anyone.
But, this does not give us a license to sin. How many Christians in the Bible go out and destroy their names and are ever used again? I can’t think of any either.
C. Who Does God Use? Well, if we do a quick analysis of the disciples and who are called, we notice some things in common, I stress 2 of them here. The disciples are people who are:
1) BUSY. There is an old saying, if you want something done, ask a busy person. Why? Cause busy people get things done. The people Jesus called had jobs and in some cases busy in their jobs when they were called, James and John were fishing at the very time Jesus called them (notice they didn’t even finish their shifts).
2) PEOPLE WHO SAY YES. I know this is simple, but God calls those who say yes. I truly believe that God has many, many people that he has called or wants to serve him, but, they will not. So rather than pester them, he moves on. Notice, in all the disciples called, there was no delay.
2. THE BAD
A. The Pharisee: The Pharisees decided that the actions of the disciples in the picking of the grain and the removing of the husks was work—something they though evil to do on the Sabbath. In fact the Pharisees had a list of 39 things you cannot do on the Sabbath (and they are fairly generic, which means anything could be applicable to them).
B. List of Rules: The early rabbis determined that the primary categories of forbidden activities are those involved in the building of the Tabernacle, listing them under the heading of Av Melakhah (lit. "father of work") in the Mishnah (Shab. 7). These are: (1) sowing, (2) plowing, (3) reaping, (4) binding sheaves, (5) threshing, (6) winnowing, (7) sorting, (8) grinding, (9) sifting, (10) kneading, (11) baking, (12) shearing sheep, (13) washing wool, (14) beating wool, (15) dyeing wool, (16) spinning, (17) weaving, (18) making two loops, (19) weaving two threads, (20) separating two threads, (21) tying (a permanent knot), (22) loosening (a permanent knot), (23) sewing two stitches, (24) tearing in order to sew two stitches, (25) hunting a deer, (26) slaughtering, (27) flaying, (28) salting, (29) curing a skin, (30) scraping the hide, (31) cutting, (32) writing two letters (of the alphabet), (33) erasing in order to write two letters, (34) building, (35) pulling down a structure, (36) extinguishing a fire, (37) lighting a fire, (38) striking with a hammer