4:2 This is how you are to deal with those who sin unintentionally by doing anything that violates one of the Lord's commands. Did you know you can sin and not know it? I heard a message to the contrary in college, and at that time I believed it. But since, I know that was hogwash. Even if you are aware of most the things you do "wrong," (sins of commission)you and I usually are clueless about all the things we should have done and didn't do (sins of omission). Also, sins like pride, hypocrisy, and lovelessness are extremely hard to identify in ourselves.
All this killing and sacrificing is pretty gory for sure. I'm not entirely sure we have the whole picture, but one thing I know is that God was trying to tell His people that sin has a very high price tag. Someone has to die because only blood is the payment for sins. Somehow, God made it that death of one atones for (makes amends for) in order to spare death of another.
2:16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, "Why does he eat with such scum?" Let me translate this into today's lingo: When the leaders down at the local church saw (your name) headed into to Joe's Biker Bar on a Saturday night with a Bible in hand and later heard that you were there to share Jesus with the rabble-rousers, they said, "Why does (your name) hang out with that bunch of losers? He/she is getting a bad name hanging out in a place like that, with those kinds of people."
2:17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor-sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners." We've talked about this verse in Matthew, but I can't emphasize enough, if we want Jesus to work in our lives and change us from the inside out, we have to come to Him in weakness, need, and humility. Goes against the grain of our independent, self-sufficient society for sure.
2:24 But the Pharisees said to Jesus, "Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?" We learned that Jesus did not come to do away with the Torah, but to fulfill it. Because of that, it would be inconsistent for Him to intentionally break it or dismiss it. Both the incident of His disciples harvesting grain to eat and His healing of the man's hand in the following verses (3:1-6) were reasons for the Pharisees to accuse Jesus of "breaking the Torah," but in a closer look we see differently. Here is some Messianic Jewish commentary (also below):
Based upon the fences in the Mishnah (this is the Oral Torah passed down by priests, religious leaders, and Pharisees), they were guilty of breaking four Pharisaic laws. When they took the grain from the stalk, they were guilty of reaping. When they worked the grain in their hands to separate the wheat from the chaff, they were guilty of threshing. When they blew in their hands to rid the wheat of the chaff, they were guilty of winnowing. When they put the grain in their mouths and swallowed it, they were guilty of storing. You could probably also add that when they chewed the grain, they were guilty of grinding. That is what they are being accused of by the Pharisees in this passage. In fact, according to Pharisaic law, you were not even to walk on the grass on the Sabbath, lest you inadvertently separate grain from the stalk and be guilty of reaping.
The Jewish oral tradition places great emphasis on the preservation of life. All commandments of the Bible must be suspended in order to save a human life. The preservation of life takes precedence over the Sabbath observance. David and his men were being pursued by Saul. They were so hungry, according to Jewish traditional interpretation, that their lives were at risk. All the commandments of the Bible must be suspended to save their lives. They were hungry and so they ate the Bread of the Presence from the house of God.
Moreover, Yeshua directly refers to the Oral Law concerning the priests and the requirements of the Sabbath. He notes that the priests perform their tasks in the Temple on the Sabbath, even though their activities constitute work and would be forbidden without a proper interpretation of the Torah. The priests perform their work in the Temple on the Sabbath because their sacred duties take precedence over the laws pertaining to the day of rest. Yeshua employs the Oral Law to address those who question the actions of His disciples. He possesses an intimate acquaintance with the Oral Torah and does not betray any interest in violating either the Written Torah or its traditional Jewish interpretation. The Oral Law gives the written letter of the Bible its true force.
Questions for reflection:
Do people (maybe even those at church) see who you hang out with and wonder why you associate with "such scum?" If this is the example Jesus set for us, to hang around (for ministry purposes, not to join in the company and behavior of sinners) people who obviously have a lot of baggage and sin, why aren't we doing it? Have we become exclusionary like the Pharisees?
Would you say your relationship with Jesus has been more characteristic of regular humble dependence upon His strength, or only asking for His help when you get in a bind? Want a great worship experience? Enjoy this song, Honestly, by Carl Cartee