Jesus The Table-Turner
There is no way around it- during Jesus' ministry on earth, He stirred the pot. The process of God inaugurating His Kingdom (a way of looking at Jesus' ministry) resulted in a rethinking of, really, all of life: religion, politics, money, class-systems, socioeconomics, faithfulness, relationships. You name the table, Jesus turned it.
And it didn't take long for people to notice.
Mark opens his gospel account by sharing stories that show the problem that the religious people had with how Jesus determined who could be healed; which really meant, who could be forgiven. In the midst of this, Mark includes the [REMARKABLE] analogy that Jesus uses about rethinking the things and ways of old (Mark 2:18-22, wine/wineskins). Come on now! You go, Mark.
But here is today's story: Mark 2:23-28
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then 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.”
Jesus and the disciples were hungry. They found some food to eat. The Pharisees throw a flag on the play, because, as the law stated: picking heads of grain on the Sabbath = work on the Sabbath = law broken. The Pharisees, like they do, proof-texted Jesus with some forth commandment (Exodus 20:8-11) and some Exodus 35:1-3.
In response, Jesus 'plays their game' for just a moment, and tosses a text back at them: 1 Samuel 21:1-6. But that wasn't enough- the table had not yet been fully turned. But then He closed the deal. "The Son of Man is Lord."
What Just Happened
If we simply allow this passage to become a 'Jesus is right, the Pharisees are wrong' story, then we aren't getting the full picture here. To the Pharisees, Jesus essentially says:
"I know what you believe the law is, and I know why you believe it that way. I've read the same writings. What I want you to see, however, is that I AM (had to do it) the way to go. Consider me, not what has been written."
"I know what your 'bible' says, but I need you to hear what I am saying."
"You have heard it said before, but I am saying this to you."
Are we allowing Jesus to say the same thing to us, today?
Nearly 2,000 years after this event took place, we should be able to, by now, realize the world that we are living in: God came down, revealed Himself to us, died, rose from the dead, descended, ascended, and it changed life on earth indefinitely. People compiled writings that talked about this reality, handed it down, and we call it The Holy Bible, or, The Scriptures.
The Pharisees' problem was not that they didn't know the law- because they did. Their problem was that they didn't open themselves up to the fact that their law about God was being reworked by God Himself- Jesus.
I think, very clearly, Jesus is asking us- you and I- today, to consider Him over The Bible.
The Bible IS Living & Breathing
The Bible is a library of diverse writings that try to make sense of God and the implications of Jesus, written by people with diverse experiences, in particular cultural circumstances.
For generations, theologians and scholars have worked to help us better understand what is going on in the Bible.
It is most certainly living and breathing, and even more so, is God. (Right?! Right.)
Here are four significant examples of how the Bible and biblical principles have lived and breathed, even as recent as fifty years ago.
1. Murder: Cain kills Abel for no reason (Genesis 4) -> Lamech kills someone for wounding him (Genesis 4) -> Murder is granted within an 'eye for an eye' understanding (Exodus 21) -> Jesus said anger is murder (Matthew 5).
2. Love: Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19) -> Love your enemies (Matthew 5) -> Love others like Jesus has loved you (John 15)
3. Slavery: The Bible speaks of slave/slave master relations, and makes very little mention of the abolishment of it. In modern day, it wasn't until 1863 that the Netherlands abolished slavery (the US did two years later). Regardless, slavery still very much exists today.
4. Race Relations: The ministry of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks for itself.
Jesus Is Lord, The Kingdom Of God, And You
"The Son of Man is Lord." All places and spaces have been filled by Jesus. His Kingdom has been inaugurated on earth and many have chosen to live in submission to Him, allowing Him to be the Lord of their lives. Those people live their lives, daily entering into and inheriting the Kingdom of God, by seeing that Jesus would get His way on this earth.
Many more wander in the wilderness, trying to make sense of Jesus in light of politics, personal desires, and even what is said in the Bible.
Are you more in a relationship with a book, a set of beliefs handed down to you, or a living God?
How deep will you allow your relationship with Jesus get?
Will the scriptures be your guide, or will HE, by His Spirit?