For an introduction to this series, click here.
Jan. 16, 2007
I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while. It's just negligent of me. Anyway, I won't post again in a couple of days, because my grandpa passed away and I will be at his funeral.
In this chapter we start with the story of the man lowered through the roof. I love this story, as I told you when we discussed this in Matthew. Jesus is teaching a house full of people, and all of a sudden, some dirt starts to fall on some of the people. There are strange noises on the roof. Soon a patch of light breaks through. The patch gets bigger, as stuff falls onto the people below. Then a bed with a man on it comes slowly down through the opening. That would have been a great sight to see. And don't bore me at this point with a discussion on how first-century houses were built. That's missing the point entirely. No one drops through the roof to just visit someone. These guys were desperate, especially the man on the bed, who was willing to be lowered in such a precarious manner. Ever wonder how many times he almost fell out of the bed on the way down?
Once again we see Mark the psychologist as he records something Luke and Matthew do not: "They were all amazed and glorified God, saying 'We never saw anything like this!'"(2:11) This isn't a very significant thing, but it is noteworthy, simply because the others don't record it. Mark seems to be on the edge of the crowd, taking as much interest in what others were saying about Jesus as what Jesus himself was saying.
Next we have the call of Matthew. We discussed this earlier, as there are only three explanations: Matthew and Jesus spent a lot of time together beforehand or Matthew went to hear Jesus teach a lot or we have an extreme example of irresistible grace, in which the one called immediately responds. It could be a combination of those three, but don't discount God’s calling grace.
Next we have the story of Jesus and the Sabbath. Evidently Jesus had quite an entourage. During His time of popularity, He must have had people of all stripes traveling with Him, commenting on everything He did, because here we have the story of the disciples eating wheat in the field on Saturday, and the Pharisees criticizing. Jesus gives them the story of David who ate the shewbread when he was hungry, and then made a startling statement not recorded by Matthew or Luke: "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath." (2:26-27, ESV)
All record that Jesus said He is lord of the sabbath, a definite claim to deity, but only Mark records that Jesus added that the sabbath was made for man. This was the greatest crime of the Pharisees: they were turning something God intended to be a blessing into a burden and something to be dreaded.