What Does Jesus ‘ Call Mean for Me ?
Mark 2:1-3:6 Mark 2:15-28 December 13 2009
It was this man’s misery that he needed to be so carried, and shows the suffering state of human life; it was kind of those who so carried him, and teaches the compassion that should be in men, toward their fellow-creatures in distress. True faith and strong faith may work in various ways; but it shall be accepted and approved by Jesus Christ. Sin is the cause of all our pains and sicknesses. The way to remove the effect, is to take away the cause. Pardon of sin strikes at the root of all diseases. Christ proved his power to forgive sin, by showing his power to cure the man sick of the palsy. And his curing diseases was a figure of his pardoning sin, for sin is the disease of the soul; when it is pardoned, it is healed. When we see what Christ does in healing souls, we must own that we never saw the like. Most men think themselves whole; they feel no need of a physician, therefore despise or neglect Christ and his gospel. But the convinced, humbled sinner, who despairs of all help, excepting from the Saviour, will show his faith by applying to him without delay.
1. Levi’s call, and the entertainment given to Jesus. ( Mark 2:15-17)
Mark 2:15And it came to pass, in his reclining (at meat) in his house, that many tax-gatherers and sinners were reclining (at meat) with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many, and they followed him. 16And the scribes and the Pharisees, having seen him eating with the tax-gatherers and sinners, said to his disciples, ‘Why—that with the tax-gatherers and sinners he doth eat and drink?’ 17And Jesus, having heard, saith to them, ‘They who are strong have no need of a physician, but they who are ill; I came not to call righteous men, but sinners to reformation.’
Matthew was not a good character, or else, being a Jew, he would never have been a publican, that is, a tax-gatherer for the Romans. However, Christ called this publican to follow him. With God, through Christ, there is mercy to pardon the greatest sins, and grace to change the greatest sinners, and make them holy. A faithful, fair-dealing publican was rare. And because the Jews had a particular hatred to an office which proved that they were subject to the Romans, they gave these tax-gatherers an ill name. But such as these our blessed Lord did not hesitate to converse with, when he appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh. And it is no new thing for that which is both well done and well designed, to be slandered, and turned to the reproach of the wisest and best of men. Christ would not withdraw, though the Pharisees were offended. If the world had been righteous, there had been no occasion for his coming, either to preach repentance, or to purchase forgiveness. We must not keep company with ungodly men out of love to their vain conversation; but we are to show love to their souls, remembering that our good Physician had the power of healing in himself, and was in no danger of taking the disease; but it is not so with us. In trying to do good to others, let us be careful we do not get harm to ourselves.
2. Why Christ’s disciples did not fast. (Mark 2:18-22)
Marl 2:18And the disciples of John and those of the Pharisees were fasting, and they come and say to him, ‘Wherefore do the disciples of John and those of the Pharisees fast, and thy disciples do not fast?’ 19And Jesus said to them, ‘Are the sons of the bride-chamber able, while the bridegroom is with them, to fast? so long time as they have the bridegroom with them they are not able to fast; 20but days shall come when the bridegroom may be taken from them, and then they shall fast—in those days.21‘And no one a patch of undressed cloth doth sew on an old garment, and if not—the new filling it up doth take from the old and the rent doth become worse; 22and no one doth put new wine into old skins, and if not—the new wine doth burst the skins, and the wine is poured out, and the skins will be destroyed; but new wine into new skins is to be put.’
Strict professors are apt to blame all that do not fully come up to their own views. Christ did not escape slanders; we should be willing to bear them, as well as careful not to deserve them; but should attend to every part of our duty in its proper order and season.
3. He justifies his disciples for plucking corn on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-28)
Mark 2:23And it came to pass—he is going along on the sabbaths through the corn-fields—and his disciples began to make a way, plucking the ears, 24and the Pharisees said to him, ‘Lo, why do they on the sabbaths that which is not lawful?’25And he said to them, ‘Did ye never read what David did, when he had need and was hungry, he and those with him? 26how he went into the house of God, (at ‘Abiathar the chief priest?’) and the loaves of the presentation did eat, which it is not lawful to eat, except to the priests, and he gave also to those who were with him?’27And he said to them, ‘The sabbath for man was made, not man for the sabbath, 28so that the son of man is lord also of the sabbath.’
The sabbath is a sacred and Divine institution; a privilege and benefit, not a task and drudgery. God never designed it to be a burden to us, therefore we must not make it so to ourselves. The sabbath was instituted for the good of mankind, as living in society, having many wants and troubles, preparing for a state of happiness or misery. Man was not made for the sabbath, as if his keeping it could be of service to God, nor was he commanded to keep it outward observances to his real hurt. Every observance respecting it, is to be interpreted by the rule of mercy.
In this chapter, we have, Christ’s healing a man that was sick of a palsy. His calling of Matthew from the receipt of custom, and his eating, upon that occasion, with publicans and sinners, and justifying himself in so doing. His justifying his disciples in not fasting so much as those plucking the ears of corn on the sabbath day . All which passages we had before, Matt.9 and 12.
God Bless My Friend
Robert G O’Haver