One of the greatest questions that you can ask about a passage of the Bible is: what does this passage say about God? The Bible is a book inspired by God, revolves around God, and is used by God to reveal Himself to people. Sometimes answering this question is difficult though; it takes effort to see what a passage in Esther (the book we covered in Jumpstart before this one) says about God when it doesn’t explicitly say the name “God” at any point. The book of Mark does not have that problem! The entire book revolves around the life and ministry of Jesus, and we can easily see what God is trying to say about Himself.
Here are four things that this passage says about God:
1. God honors faith.
Our passage begins with an account of Jesus doing ministry in his hometown. He was teaching when a group of friends brought their ailing comrade to Jesus, who they believed could heal him. Jesus, seeing their faith, says in verse 5, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” This is one of the first times that Jesus declares himself to be God. We see in Isaiah 43:25 that God is the one who has power to forgive sins:
“I, I am he
who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
and I will not remember your sins.”
God is the one who forgives sins, and since Jesus is God, He has the authority to do so! The only way to receive forgiveness is through faith. God honors our faith by granting salvation.
2. God accepts those humbled by their sin.
The next account we see is Jesus dining with tax collectors and “sinners”. The scribes of the Pharisees are present, and question why he is eating with them. His response shows us that God saves those who realize they need saving! (17) I don’t know about you, but I’ve never voluntarily made a trip to the doctor unless I needed it. It is only people who are realistic with their sin that go to Jesus, and Jesus honors the heart of those who do.
3. God keeps his promises.
In verses 18-22, the Pharisees were asking why Jesus and his disciples were not keeping their rules for fasting. The whole tone of the passage seems to convey the arrival of the fulfillment of what the Old Covenant looked forward to: the Messiah coming to save people from their sin. God kept his promises by sending Jesus to save.
4. Jesus gives us ultimate Sabbath rest.
In verses 27 & 28 Jesus says, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” Similar to the previous section, Jesus is communicating that He is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant by showing that truly keeping the Sabbath was not to be limited to taking X amount of steps in a day, but in resting in Christ.
I don’t know about you but when I read this passage, it seems that my greatest response is simple: reliance. Faith is relying and trusting on God; I must rely on the righteousness of Christ instead of my own because of my sin; the promises of God are truly the only promises that we can rely on for our hope; true peace only comes with reliance on the Prince of Peace.
What did God teach you about Himself? Share in the comments!
By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate