The Hebrews have got many things right. For instance, you may be surprised to know – I understand that the word for ‘teacher’ and ‘student’ is the same in their language! A teacher can never be called a teacher unless his/her student learns! Both the positions are privileged and a blessing to possess life-long! The greatest teacher, Master, a rabbi, is Jesus Christ! He selects his students but rejects no one and they normally are awed by the words he speaks, because no man has ever spoken or can speak the words he spoke and still speaks!
He taught in the Jewish synagogues (Luke 4:15) and he was glorified of all. He is a teacher of the truth, as John’s disciples, Nathanael, Nicodemus and Mary all acknowledged.
And he asked questions!
A good teacher asks questions. On numerous occasions, Jesus threw them as Matthew (19:4; 21:16; 22:31), Mark (2:25, 12:10; 12:26) and Luke (6:3; 10:26) all record. You may be curious to find out for yourself where else Jesus asked “Have you not/never read?’ repeatedly! This is a technique which he used to prod the true student to search the scriptures. Remember David in Psalm 119:162, Jesus himself in Matthew overcoming the Tempter and John in Rev 10:10. They paid attention to the Aleph and Tav of the Word.
But on the other side of the wall, or well, if you’d like, there are the people who continually ask questions – I will call them the ‘Why’ people! They insistently asked Jesus questions: why, why, why? Let us look at this group in their various dimensions and understand the wisdom and understanding of our Lord in his answers. They are all from the book of Mark, which is believed to be actually authored by Peter as dictated to Mark.
First…. Why he speaks like this?
Mark 2:7 pries open THE POWER BEHIND HIS SPEECH! Jesus’ words were powered to heal, to forgive sins and to transform. The lever is faith. I believe God is fascinated by faith. It is simply because it focuses on the unseen. Man cannot see God, unlike angels; yet he believes! And that is good in God’s eyes.
We start with faith (Rom. 3:26, 28, 30), we run with faith (Heb 12:1,2), we work with faith (I Thess. 1:3) and we fight with faith (I Tim. 6:12). You could consider supplementing your understanding of faith by reading John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.
Second…. Why he is with sinners?
Mark 2:16 gives a sneak peek into the minds of the scribes and Pharisees, as they asked this sideline question to his disciples (not him), and through this we learn of THE PURPOSE BEHIND HIS CALL! The lever used here is love!
Sinners tend to love pleasure and miss the big things! Isaac (my namesake! Gen 27:4) loved great food till his death; Solomon ticked off the pleasure-loving man as poor (Prov. 21:17); a man with two wives often has to doubly cross roads (Deut. 21:15) and men who loved the praise of men could not believe (John 12:43). On the other hand, love for the Lord enables his abode with the individual sinner-turned-saint (John 14:23) as he loved the sinner like no other (John 15:13)!
Faith mingled with love! Keep his commands! Lay one’s life down! A three-fold leap in the master’s teaching and our learning! Remember to read Matt. 9:12 and Luke 19:10!
Third…..Why your disciples don’t fast?
Mark 2:18 reveals THE PATTERN BEHIND HIS WORK! His way is intermeshed with works: faith with works! If you read the well-known passages in James 2:14-26, Matt. 7:20, Ephesians 2:10 and I John 2:3-6, you will understand with the light of the Holy Spirit, evidence of righteousness and concern for righteousness are hallmarks in his pattern-adhering disciple. John 13:14, 15 show the righteous works of the Lord which we must follow – the small (and big) acts of love, which dwarf physical fasts and outward penitence.
Fourth…..Why your disciples break the law?
Mark 2:24 senses the Pharisees asking this question and pointing to the wonders of THE PERMISSION BEHIND HIS GOAL! Ah, we see here the Lordship of the Lord of the Sabbath (v. 27, 28), His supremacy which breaks traditions and bondage! David esteemed him in Psalms 34:2, 35:10 and 37:4. Paul emphasized to the Philippians as he surely did to the other churches (3:1).
Many times, we put godliness before God and the gift before the Giver, like the Pharisees! This confusion takes us onto the path of deceit, which our heart is wont to do at the least beck. Let us strive to pair our faith with constant holding of Christ’s supremacy in our lives individually, in the family and in the church.
Finally……Why your disciples don’t keep traditions?
Mark 7:5 makes way for the next revelation: THE PURITY BEHIND HIS COMMAND! Tradition involves contamination, purity involves truth. Turn to John 4:24, the famous statement the Samaritan woman heard from the Rabbi. Worship in truth is the object of God’s search. And the Spirit leads us into the truth. Meditate on John 14: 17-26 – the revelation work which implores us to obey the teaching; John15: 26, 27 – the witnessing work which helps us to be faithful enough to bring life and John 16: 8 – 14 – the conviction work on sin, righteousness and judgment. Through this, we understand the threefold manifestation of the Spirit of Truth.
It is wonderful to hear the Master’s Voice! It is a still, small voice. Keep hearing. Keep obeying. Keep mounting.
Fight the good fight with all thy might,
Christ is thy strength, and Christ thy right;
Lay hold in life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.