“And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’
Now 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… 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, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.'” Mark 2:15-19,22-24,27
It can be frustrating to ask a question, and not get a clear answer, or be asked another question, or be redirected to a new angle of thinking. But Jesus would not entertain cursory pettiness, and would not dignify a picky inquiry by giving a straight answer. Every minute of His earthly ministry was strategic. This omniscient Savior knew what His onlookers really needed, and masterfully responded to their superficial questions with words that penetrated their superficial thinking and made them dig deeper. His word always does that. (2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12)
The pharisaical scribes and crowds were intrigued with Jesus, but did not know or understand Him. They concerned themselves with their ritualistic traditions and catching people in behavior that didn’t conform to their colloquial standards, so any aberration from their expectations brought desire for a pat explanation without heart inquiry. They focused on splinters and ignored planks, picked at gnats and were blind to camels. (Matthew 7:1-5; 23:23-24)
Where do we slip into the same surface treatment of Jesus’s work and teachings? Are we content with a ‘smooth follow’ and lip service, but fail to dig deep and get to know our Lord in profound ways that shake us from the inside out and upend our thinking? Are we satisfied with doing what appears correct to the masses, but unwilling to repent of long-held resentment, judgmental attitudes, internal hatred and rebellion, fear of true sacrifice? Do we even take the time to acknowledge we are sinners, in need of the Spirit’s new wine, subservient to another Master and Sovereign?
O Lord, open my eyes to broader vision, my heart to deeper desire, my mind to greater understanding of You and Your ways. Extract petty concerns and replace them with deep passion to be holy, and to exalt Your holy truth.