Mark 2 | Good, Good News
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Fasting | Mark 2: 18-20

Fasting
By: O'neill Trull

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Mark 2:18-20
18 Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.

Fasting is an oft neglected discipline in the church, but its history far outdates the 2000 years since Jesus left. Throughout the Old Testament we read of fasting, and in one of my favorite passages of scripture, Isaiah 58, the prophet writes of the true fast that honors God.

One of the things that stands out to me in Mark 2 is the fact that fasting in and of itself is not what moves the heart of God. The Pharisees regularly practiced fasting, but Jesus said their hearts were far from the things of God. Jesus seems to indicate here that the highest purpose of fasting is intimacy with Him, not to impress God. How often do we seek to impress God with our spirituality, rather than seeking a deeper connection?

Here are some things I’ve learned through fasting. We are very frail, even 24 hours without food is a struggle! As we fast, we are reminded of our complete reliance on Him to meet even our most basic of needs. As we fast it can remove many distractions in our lives, yes, food for most of can be a distraction form our relationship with God. Fasting, if done with a heart of humility and a desire to learn, will always reveal sin in our lives, but it will also reveal God’s grace and peace, and His desire to deliver us. Some of my greatest spiritual growth has followed a season of fasting, because in the fasting, I met with God.

As we fast, we are reminded of our complete reliance on Him to meet even our most basic of needs.


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Matthew’s Transformation | Mark 2:13-17

Matthew’s Transformation | Mark 2:13-17
By Krista Vaughn

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“He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”” Mark 2:13-17 ESV Once upon a time in the city of Capernaum, there lived a tax collector named Levi. Now during the trying times of the first century of the common era, tax collectors were greatly disliked by people from all backgrounds, except the Roman Empire of course. Being a tax collector was a wealthy trade. It was the task of the tax collectors to make the monetary goal of the districts from the people living in it. The tax collectors even kept the surplus money. Now, having a career with dirty money was greatly frowned upon and gave them the titles of “sinners” by the Pharisees, and if they happened to work for Rome, traitors.

What about our fellow, Matthew? Well, in the book of Mark and Luke, his name is Levi. Levi stems from the tribe of Levi who consisted of priests, especially from the Levites…so a descendant of holy attribution took up a career known for deceit and thieving. AND being marked as a sinner from the Pharisees, people were not supposed to intertwine their lives with them unless they were to be labeled as “unclean.”
A broken man not wanted by anyone… Was there any hope? Yes, yes there was.
Levi began to hear rumors about this Galilean who preached around the city. He attended a few of the meetings, and probably started to feel a tug at his heart. How do I come to this conclusion? Because Jesus calls him to “follow” Him.

…Which brings me to an Art Historical reference!
This sculpture depicted was created by Michelangelo, and is commonly known as one of his “unfinished” pieces. However, Michelangelo claimed it was meant to be that way in order to describe the transformation Levi went through: from being a sinner to being a disciple.
It encapsulates a frozen piece of time. A transition. A transfiguration. A testimony.

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Now how can a non-believer, such as Michelangelo, create a beautiful representation as this? Well, that is another story, but I do believe God can bring goodness from many situations, including from a sinner Winking Which brings me to the second part of the passage, although we will have to side-step into the book of Luke 5:27-32. “And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” This transformation led Levi to hold a celebration for Jesus and invite his friends. What a great way to fellowship! There, Jesus was comfortable in the presence of Levi with his friends. He welcomed them and saw them as people. He gave them the opportunity to have their lives changed for the better! No longer outcasts.

Ultimately, there are many things to take from this passage, but the main CATCH is about sowing. Jesus planted seeds during His preaching. From there, He was able to help those seeds of knowledge sprout into a lifelong journey of discipleship, for that is a part of the Great Commission: make disciples.

What we do, what we say, who we portray can all influence the people around us. It only took Jesus to recognize a man as a person who could be loved, to change a life.
And they lived in joy ever after.
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Jesus Makes a Statement(Sermon) Mark 2





JESUS MAKES A STATEMENT- MARK 2


Mark 2:1–11 (ESV)
And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”  
Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” 

“Jesus was doing more than performing a miracle, he was making a statement.” 
“Jesus is always making a statement.”

Jesus is revealing his identity.
1. The discerner of hearts

2. The forgiver of sins
“Jesus turns sinners into sons.”

3. The Son of Man
Daniel 7:13–14 (NLT) 13 I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.

“Only 1/3 of those that identify as Christians affirm that Jesus is God.” - Lifeway research March 2020

If you don’t believe Jesus is God, then you are serving a different Jesus, one that is unable to save you.”

Jesus is one who with two whats.
A Human Nature & A Divine Nature

4. The great physician
Sickness is not always the cause of personal sin but is a result of original sin. 
John 9:2–3 (NIV) 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

5. The rewarder of faith
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Mark 2:27–3:6 (ESV)
 
27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. 2 And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
…………………….
Jesus heals and forgives a friend: Mt 9:2–8; Lk 5:18–26
Jesus on fasting: Mt 9:14–17; Lk 5:33–38
Calling of Levi, a friend of sinners: Mt 9:9–13; Lk 5:27–32
Lord of the Sabbath: Mt 12:1–9; Lk 6:1–11


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