Jesus Confronts Religious Leaders

Jesus confronts errors and legalism with authority.

GOLDEN TEXT: Mark 2:28 The Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

Jesus was opposed by many of the religious leaders of the Jews. This brought him into frequent conflict with religious leaders, although his teaching, preaching, and conduct were never in violation of the law of Moses. However, in his teaching, preaching, and ministry, Jesus did violate the man-made rules and traditions of the religious leaders that made “the word of God none effect” (Mark 7:13). This angered Jesus’ religious opponents to the point that they became determined to kill him (John 11:47-53). This lesson brings into focus some of the conflicts Jesus had with the religious leaders who opposed him, and tells how he handled these conflicts.


A. Jesus’ Popularity

Mar 2:1  And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

Mar 2:2  And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

…….Jesus’ ministry even at the earliest state had drawn so much attention by the impact that was made.

Mar 2:3  And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

…….Palsy was a form of paralysis that causes weakness in parts of the body in such a way that it can be paralyzing. In this mans case it was too severe to walk, or he had just given up on ever being made whole.

Mar 2:4  And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

…….What an amazing event taken place here, that a friend in need was so cared about that his friends tore a hole in the roof to get him to Jesus! What would happen if we cared more about our loved one finding the Lord? We would see revival is what would happen!

B. Jesus Heals a Paralytic

Mar 2:5  When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

…….And Jesus’ reaction is the impact that having so much compassion for a loved one makes, because of the faith of the friends, Jesus provided the sick mans redemption! Now that’s some radical faith! Jesus addressed the issue of sin before He did of the physical need, which obviously tells us that our spiritual needs hold much greater weight than our physical needs. No matter what is going on in our physical life, we must be healed spiritually first! I also believe Jesus spoke salvation to the man at this particular time to prove to the naysayers that He was the only begotten Son of God. Let’s read on…

Mar 2:6  But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,

Mar 2:7  Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

…….Though the religious leaders in the crowd seen things that only a man sent by God could do, they doubted Him because of their pride of their personal traditions, and lack of belief of Jesus being the true son of God.

Mar 2:8  And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

…….This tells us here that nothing is hidden from the Lord. The Lord knows when we are reasoning out of curiosity or reasoning out of doubt. While both actions are normal in the presence of unfamiliarity, when the Spirit deals with us we must allow it to correct us. God will deal with all of our questions and wondering, but we can not allow doubt to take over and cause bitterness.

Mar 2:9  Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?

…….Jesus questions their doubting here. His question, if I’m doing wrong then tell me what is right. Typically, the doubters are at a loss of words.

Mar 2:10  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

Mar 2:11  I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

Mar 2:12  And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

…….What a great miracle it was for Jesus to heal, but the point today is to not follow the ones who are in it to doubt and cause others to doubt. One of the greatest enemies of the church are the ones sitting back who are determined to lead others into this false sense of spiritual discernment. This is never ok. Discernment is one of the greatest needs in the church, but doubt and negativity is not it’s leading tools. Just like the scribes in Jesus’ time, if their discernment was of God they would have known that Christ was who He said He was without Him ever saying it.


A. Questioned About Eating With Sinners

Mar 2:14  And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.

…….The man that Mark here calls Levi is actually the disciple that Mathew who wrote the first book of the New Testament. Jesus’ impact was so great that He even convinced the worst considered sinners (tax collectors) to follow Him.

Mar 2:15  And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.

…….Not only did He convince one, but the rest followed on to see what He was about.

Mar 2:16  And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?

Mar 2:17  When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

…….Jesus didn’t sit and eat with these sinners to indulge in their sins, but to bring the sinners to His level. While it is discouraged to partake with sinners in their ways of life, we must know this is not what Jesus was doing. When Jesus commenced in gatherings, the focus was always on Him.

I love the way the apostle Paul encourages our influence on sinners. 1 Corinthians 10:21  Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils…..But even this script is not telling us to all together shun sinners. Listen now to what He said in 1 Corinthians 9:19  For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

1Co 9:20  And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

1Co 9:21  To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

1Co 9:22  To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

1Co 9:23  And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

…….Just as Jesus handled the ones without, so should we. He was help to the hurting and correction to the believer. While the religious sect is scared of the filth of the sinners, the true righteous ones will desire for the sinners to come to Christ and will determine to be their influence.

B. Questioned About Fasting

Mar 2:18  And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?

…….Once again, the scribes and Pharisees attempted to discredit by using their personal traditions. There was only one fast for the Jews commanded by the law of Moses, and that was on the annual day of atonement (Leviticus 23:26-32). All other prescribed fasts were created by religious and civil leaders of the Jews.

Mar 2:19  And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.

Mar 2:20  But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.

Mar 2:21  No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.

Mar 2:22  And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.

…….Jesus responds here in parable form to explain to the scribes and Pharisees that it makes no since to try and patch old traditions with spiritual activity. The only way to become closer to God is to get rid of the Old and start all over. We can not apply our old religious habits to a new move of God. When the Lord is trying to take us to a new level, we have to strip away from anything that will attempt to tie us down and be willing to take every step He leads us into.


A. The Sabbath Was Made For Man

Mar 2:23  And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.

Mar 2:24  And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?

…….To understand the importance of this conversation between Christ and the naysayers is to understand their observation of the sabbath (or seventh) day. The Jews who observe the sabbath work tirelessly in preparation to make sure that absolutely nothing has to be done whatsoever on the seventh day. Jesus in a sense made it open and known that their ways of thinking on this issue was simply ridiculous.

Mar 2:25  And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?

Mar 2:26  How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?

Mar 2:27  And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

Mar 2:28  Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

…….While the sabbath day is an important day for all believers to rest and totally sell out to God, it is also important not to restrict ourselves from our necessities by working harder on other days to perform. You see, salvation is not a show of performance as was the life of the scribes and Pharisees. Salvation will cause us to observe, but our observances will not be the reason for our salvation. Many religious people have failed because others don’t observe religious traditions the way they tirelessly work to observe, and that in itself is the focus which causes the observer to miss the mark, because their focus transitions to others that don’t observe those religious traditions rather than that Spiritual inward work of Christ. May our focus always return and remain to what Christ needs to do in ourselves. That will always be of most importance.

B. Doing Good on the Sabbath

Mar 3:1  And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.

Mar 3:2  And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.

Mar 3:3  And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.

Mar 3:4  And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.

…….In the moment of giving help to those in need while having the means to help, it is evil to withhold the help regardless of what day it is. This was Jesus’ point. He had the means to help and heal but to stand back and do nothing would be more hurtful.

Mar 3:5  And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

…….Jesus was angered because at that very moment the religious crowd could have easily agreed that it was needful to help, but they stuck with their traditions proving that their hearts were hardened.

Mar 3:6  And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

…….This is absolute proof that pride has no place in salvation. The religious crowd would not change simply because they would not admit that they had gotten it wrong, even in the presence of Christ Himself. If the Lord deals with me at any stage of life to change, I must change! My prayer is that no matter how far I come and no matter where I go in salvation, please let me see your truth, the truth untainted by mans religion, but pure and Holy by your miraculous love!

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