May 2013

Opposition to Jesus Escalates

Sermon audio:

Act 4 | The Coming of the King

This sermon on “Opposition to Jesus Escalates” from The Drama of Redemption was preached by Raymond Goodlett at Redemption Hill Church on Sunday, April 28, 2013.

Sermon Text:
Mark 2:18-3:6

Sermon Notes:

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Opposition to Jesus Escalates
Mark 2:18-3:6

Mark 2:18-28; 3:1-6Now 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?”.  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.  The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.  No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made.  And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins-and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.” One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.  And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”  And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?”  And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  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.  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.  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.  The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.”

If a picture of Jesus had to be constructed from observation of the average Christian(s) today, He would bare little resemblance to the God-man depicted in the aforestated verses.  Drawing conclusions about Christ from even a cursory scrutiny of opinions, attitudes and beliefs held by many modern Christians would suggest that Jesus was the sort of person who was apoplectically fearful of offending others and, as such, would eschew causing any man offense at all costs.  However, the Bible reveals a wholly different Person.

Religious Systems & Conformity

In these verses of Mark, Jesus is clearly communicating, from the very beginning of His ministry on earth, that He did not come to fit in.  He was unconcerned with the religion system of the Pharisees, and it is very evident in His approach and response to them with regard to the Sabbath.  He had no interest in adjusting Himself or anything about His ministry in order to win the approval of man.  He is effectively broadcasting that they can forget about trying to make Him compatible with the manmade version of Judaism which the scribes and Pharisees practiced.  By the very nature of who He was, He is incompatible with all false religion.  Any effort to conform Him to practices and traditions of the religious leaders of that day could not work; in much the same way that trying to sew a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment or trying to put new wine into old wineskins cannot work.  He didn’t come to improve the existing broken religious systems nor could He be contained by them.  He came to bring an entirely new system; the kingdom of God came to earth and He sought to have them see that they would either have to fit into His kingdom or they would remain on the outside.


What we learn from Jesus’ response is that real Christianity is never willing to compromise anything essential to the faith in order to make itself more attractive to the surrounding culture (inclusive of both the religious and the secular segments of a culture).

Application Questions

What is shaping your life, beliefs and behaviors today?  Is it the culture, and its sanitized caricature of Christ, or is it the authentic Jesus of the Bible?

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