Gathering Dark Clouds (Mark 2:18-3:6)
There are three groups of people always with Jesus. His growing band of disciples, the astonished crowds and those who were increasingly opposed to Jesus.
As a Roman-occupied territory, Palestine was littered with many diverse groups of Jews working out a complex religious & political response to the circumstances they were under as subjects of Rome.
Jesus’ arrival on the scene in and around Galilee, and His words and actions both threatened & angered at least three of these groups in the Jewish religious & political landscape.
In Mark 2:1-3:6 those opposed to Jesus have four points of conflict that crescendo in Mark 3:6;
- Jesus forgives the paralysed man of his sins (blasphemy) (Mark 2:1-12)
- Jesus socialises with sinners (associating with the ‘wrong’ people) (Mark 2:13-17)
- Jesus breaks the mould regarding fasting (Jesus doesn’t follow the norms) (Mark 2:18-22)
- Jesus disregards existing ‘Sabbath’ regulations & re-interprets them as one with authority (Mark 2:23-28)
Jesus’ actions have so angered and threatened the various groups with their perspectives and agendas that by Mark 3:6 two of the Jewish groups who were not customarily aligned (Pharisees & Herodians) are so united by their opposition of Jesus that together they begin to plot how they will ‘destroy’ Jesus.
The dark threatening clouds of opposition are already gathering against Jesus right from the start of this account of His life and ministry. We’ve seen the Devil himself, Scribes, Pharisees & now the Herodians all against Jesus and angered by Him.
However, all of these enemies of Jesus will ultimately do what the Father had planned (Acts 4:28), because Jesus came to die as the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world (John 1:29) by allowing these groups of people to kill him in their place for their sin and yours and mine!
What an incredible Saviour we have in Jesus. How hard it must have been for Jesus to deal with the injustice of it all, the irony that sinful people were plotting his murder while thinking they were doing right.
As we keep reading this gospel of Mark, those plotting and planning are always there in the crowd. Jesus’ suffering didn’t start in the week leading up to the crucifixion, Jesus endured multiple years of this type of opposition and threat all for you and for me. Praise Him, worship Him!
May we never be surprised when following Jesus leads us into testing times. He faced much opposition, wasn’t always understood, had his motives questioned, was falsely accussed… Jesus promised that following Him would not be easy but full of trials (Mark 13:13).
So when next you feel like people are plotting against you, speaking your name behind your back, don’t be shocked, rather remember Jesus. He knows your angst and the pain of injustice. Thank Him that He understands and empathises with you, thank Him that He is always there for you and ask His Holy Spirit to make you more like Him. Amen