Monday, January 23, 2012

He Taught Them

Mark 10:1-9 (ESV)
And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them.
[2] And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" [3] He answered them, "What did Moses command you?" [4] They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away." [5] And Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. [6] But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' [7] 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, [8] and they shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. [9] What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."

As was his custom, he taught them. I like how Mark emphasizes that It was the custom of Jesus to teach, it is as if this part took him over so much that he had nothing else to do but teach, he knew nothing else to do with a crowd. Well, I suppose he either taught or avoided crowds. What is interesting though is the form of teaching that is happening. It is rather informal. I suppose he must have had some short monologue type introduction to the topic of the day, but then it seems everything opens up for questions and answers. It seems this was the norm for teaching in the church. It is why Paul in 1 Cor. tells women to ask their husbands at home, the sermons were more or less open ended discourses, grounded in the death and resurrection of Christ. We know this was also the manner in which Rabbi’s taught in the synagogues.
Of course the people of the day were not much different than they are today. Divorce was big on their minds. I suppose marriage has never been easy. When the Pharisees are asking the questions though, they aren’t really asking for their own personal benefit, but to test the waters. They want to pigeonhole Jesus, and then judge his doctrine. I suppose this is a pretty common phenomena even today, and to some extent needs to be done. The people of the day, well they treated Rabbi’s like people treat Doctors today. Where as today they go from doctor to doctor to get the right one to write them the prescription they want, people then would go around and find the rabbi who would give them the answer they wanted to hear. Well in that regard, I guess that is how they still do it if you switch out rabbi with pastor. It’s a dangerous road. It is an attitude that doesn’t care about truth, but nonetheless seeks to be pacified by the law, a legal loophole. We are all lawyers at heart, just some are better than others at justifying their actions.
The problem is there are not loopholes in God’s law, and coincidentally Jesus comes off stricter than the most strict of Rabbi’s concerning this issue. This isn't what people expect of Jesus who cares for them so much. That is a tendency of man, to go lax on the law when it concerns a friend. We confuse that with mercy. Not Jesus. Jesus shows mercy, not by relaxing the law, but by forgiving the sin. Jesus won’t let a person find refuge in a legal loophole. The law will not give you rest. There is rest in him alone, who forgives sins. The only thing that can justify us before God, is the blood of Christ. That she burns coffee, got fat, and mean is just not going to justify you before God, even if in the eyes of men it makes perfect sense. We would do better to forgive than excuse. And as Christians we are called to forgive, even if we do find it hard to excuse.

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