Sundays on Mark (4)

Continuing our series of simple reflections on the Gospel of Mark

This week Mark 2:18-28

We begin here to get interesting insight into three separate groups of disciples: John’s and the Pharisees’ both fast, perhaps for different reasons. John’s likely as a sign of repentance, the Pharisees’ regular fasting as part of extra biblical tradition (only on the Day of Atonement was fasting required). Yet Jesus’ followers surprisingly do not follow such practice which again raises the question of his identity – the bridegroom who will be with them for a temporary period. The image here is of celebration, the implication is messianic.

The new wine in new wineskins is both a word of judgement on the Pharisees and an announcement that the new age of the kingdom is dawning, disrupting and superceding the old.

2:23-28 Further challenge and controversy follows in the technical dispute over harvesting on a Sabbath. Jesus’ example of David is again christological – as David the King (and his men) did this, so Jesus (and his followers) can do likewise. The Pharisees’ interpretation overstretches itself since the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. The exchange leads to further revelation of Jesus’ identity: the Son of Man (Jesus) is Lord of the Sabbath.

Prayer: We give thanks that in Jesus we see freedom, joy and life. Refresh and restore us O God, through your Spirit, to worship and follow you in liberty and life-affirming service. Amen.

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