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September 1, 2011 / Daniel

Jesus vs. the Pharisees in the Gospel of Mark

The one of the key themes in the gospel of Mark is the controversies between Jesus and the Pharisees.  Jesus will heal someone and the Pharisees will condemn his actions.  The disciples will do something and the Pharisees will accuse them of not observing their traditions.    These controversies will ultimately climax with the murder of Christ on the cross. Here is a chart of the controversies between Jesus and the Pharisees.

Jesus Pharisees Outcome
He claims to forgive sin, because he is the “Son of Man” (2:1-12) Jesus can’t forgive because he doesn’t have the authority. Jesus heals the man.
Jesus eats with sinners (2:13-17). Jesus shouldn’t eat with sinners. The kingdom is for sinners, not the self-righteous.
The disciples feast while Jesus is with them (2:18-22). The Pharisees fast. You can’t mix Jesus and his kingdom with Pharisees’ man-made traditions.
The disciples pluck a few heads of grain on the Sabbath (2:23-28). The Pharisees consider this action to be work. Jesus has authority over the Sabbath.  The Sabbath is for man.  Not man for the Sabbath.
Jesus heals a man with a bad hand on the Sabbath (3:1-6) The Pharisees consider this action to be work. The Sabbath is for doing good and saving life.
The disciples don’t wash their hands according to the traditions of elders (7:1-23). The Pharisees wash their hands according to the traditions of the elders. The Pharisees obey the traditions of men but ignore the commands of God.
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3 Comments

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  1. lambskinny / Sep 2 2011 9:45 am

    This is an ongoing controversy as today legalists continue to deny the full pardon we receive when we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. For them, there’s got to be a catch to the gift, something we MUST DO to earn or at least KEEP our salvation. As for me, I hold fast to the promise of the cross — that Jesus is powerful and overcomes evil — the evil in me and the evil in the world. Amen. God bless!

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