Jesus… the lover of our hearts… Jesus… Why does Jesus do the things He does? Dazzle stars. Infuse the rain. Swirl the clouds. Send the daylight and the nightlight to fall upon the earth. He walks upon the earth as both human and God. Allowed His divinity to be challenged, disrespected, terminated. So He could be raised, regenerated, elevated. Such are the ways of God.
His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. His methods are mysterious, supernatural, ethereal, and aligned with another frame of reference. Heaven.
When Heaven marks you, the earth does not claim you.
Heaven marks Jesus. Because Heaven is where He came from and where we are going with Him forever… Heaven is our home, eternally. But as He lived and breathed here on the earth, He did so from the perspective of Heaven touching every part of the earth with its beauty and way of life. What marks your way of life? Let Jesus mark you… and you will find He is more what You are looking for than you ever imagined. He is our real and living King.
The Marks of Jesus we will talk about in today’s study
Verse 16: Scandal
Verse 17: Intermingling
Verse 18: Differentiation
Verse 19: Bridegroom
Verse 20: Fasting
This week, we will dive into Mark 2:16-20 where Jesus is eating dinner at Levi’s house. Here we see a clash take place between Jesus and the religious Pharisees. Jesus handles the conflict with strength and authority, making it clear what Heaven’s paradigm is. Beckoning people to the Savior. The Pharisees not only have a problem with Jesus eating with certain kinds of people at this dinner, but they also have a problem with Him and His disciples not fasting. Jesus reiterates that He makes the rules. He is the Bridegroom. And all protocols must bow to Him. He is the Lord of all and He loves to give life, healing and love to His people. You will find Him in the unlikely places. The forbidden places. The holy places and the grungy places because that is the kind of God He is… He comes for us. He wants to be with us. Love marks His heart and pursuit marks His audacity. Let Him mark you with His spirit of love for people and love for who He made you to be.
Verse 16: The Mark of Scandal
“And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to His disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
A holy God. Entrenched in scandal. Intermingled with people, places, and scenes marked with sex, sin, and broken things.
Jesus wanted to be in these spaces.
Because this is where He was needed. Where He was wanted. Where He was loved. Where He was desired and powerful to show Himself as God in the lives of people He made in His image.
Jesus is a people lover.
Feasts of fruits and choice meats line the table of a banquet He made for you to share with Him and He wants you at His table. No matter where your table is at the moment. Jesus ate with the people that the Pharisees called “sinners.” Those who had problems, it seemed. But we find that the only ones who truly had problems unsolvable were the ones who said they had no problems. Every person has sinned and falls for the temptations of the world because we are human and human nature has a propensity. God created us like this… do you realize that? God created us with a bent for temptation. To deny this is to say God is a liar and to be unaware of the self. Jesus said He did not come for those kinds of people: the ones who said they have no problems. Because when you say you have no problems, you cannot get help for your actual problems since you are unwilling to expose them.
Jesus exposes sin in order to heal it! Not to condemn it.
“For God did not send His Son into the world in order to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:17
Jesus came into a world of scandal because He loves the world of scandal. He has the remedy: real love… right in front of you.
God has no intent to condemn you for your sin. He does not want to hold a grudge nor get back at you for what you did. He does not need to. He is too powerful for that. He is too smart for that. He is not looking at you with bewilderment nor is He disgusted at you over what you did. He knows exactly why and He knew you would. He created us this way. He made us to sin. So that through sin and good and evil, we might have the free will to choose Him and become eternal beings made in His likeness. Because of grace. That leads to change. That leads to understanding the essence of human depravity. Then we finally start to see clearly: we need a Savior. We are not our own saviors.
Condemning someone for sin is actually a sin on the condemner’s behalf.
God does not condemn you…
“Behold, the Lord God helps Me;
Who is he who condemns Me?
Behold, they will all wear out like a garment;
The moth will eat them.” Isaiah 50:9
This is quite graphic but it literally depicts the consequence of condemning a person made by God. It brings destruction back onto the one who condemned. This is a strong warning to stay away from this kind of rhetoric. Let love and kindness be your friend. Condemnation has no place in the heart of one who seeks Jesus and His love.
God’s heart seeks to love.
Love never seeks to condemn.
Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye?… First take out the log in your own eye and then you can see clearly to take out the speck in theirs.” Isaiah 6:41-42
Jesus reminds us that condemnation of another person is a product of spiritual blindness. When you condemn someone else you unveil your lack of sight. Condemnation is inaccurate and does not paint a clear picture of the other person at all. When we point out sins of another, we reveal that you do not believe in Jesus nor His grace nor His salvation nor His words of the imago dei over another person. Thus, condemnation is blasphemy and satanic at its core.
You are too beautiful, loved and amazing to listen to anything other than God’s true love over you.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1
God is the holiest being of all and still He does not condemn you for your sin.
God loves you and God is so empathetic to your life and what you go through. He understands it and He knows what He has put us through by going through a life of pain and brokenness. But He promises that there is good to experience both in this life and in the life to come. As we put our hope in this God, the God who is far greater than a temporal world, we find hope that outlasts everything and we can look forward to eternity with our compassionate, powerful, regal and loving King.
Jesus is a good King.
Jesus is a gracious King.
Jesus is an understanding King.
Jesus is a compassionate King.
Trust Him over every other.
Jesus is a people lover. A people healer. A people saver. I love how He loves. Let Him love you so deeply. Think about how He loves you. Be amazed by how He loves you.
Jesus’ love provokes a response. And there will always be two different responses. As we progress in this passage, we will see the responses from the Pharisees in contrast to everyone else as Jesus intermingles with the people.
Verse 17: The Mark of Intermingling
“And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Intermingle with Me, God says… every minute, every hour, every day I Am available to you. I want to coexist with you. I want you to coexist with Me. God loves to be with us. On Earth. In Heaven. In the flesh. By the Spirit.
“I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God.” Exodus 29:45
Jesus came to intermingle with you and I. He likes to intermingle with you. He likes to interact with you. He likes to know you. He likes to be with you. Because He designed us to be in relationship with Him forever.
We will spend eternity getting to know Jesus.
To know Jesus… I want to know Him… Every intriguing fact… Every idiosycracy… Every mystery… Every revelation…
I came to know you, My love… He says.
Jesus wants to know you. And He knows you from interacting with you in person. Spend time with Jesus.
Did you know Jesus wants to know you too?
“You have searched me, LORD, and You know me.” Psalm 139:1
I came to know you, My love… He says.
Jesus wants to know you. The beautiful you. The raw you. The messy you. The uncut you. The delicate you. The strong you. And He knows you from interacting with you in person. Spend time with Jesus.
He always wants to spend time with you…
No matter what others say.
The religious folks tried to undermine Jesus’ affection for his friends by saying, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Mark 2:16
Jesus won’t let anyone else’s opinion keep Him away from you. He loves you too much…
Verse 17 says, “And when Jesus heard it, He said to them…”
Jesus speaks up for you.
Jesus does not stay silent when others speak negatively of you.
Jesus silences the voice of the accuser. Jesus silences the voice of the condemner. Jesus silences the voice of the critic. Jesus silences the voice of the devil.
Jesus loves to be with you.
Jesus likes to intermingle with us. Because we need Him and He needs us to fulfill His mission.
Jesus is the “physician” symbolized in His metaphor in verse 17, and we are the ones who need His healing and love. So He must intermingle with us in order to impart this blessing.
God loves you from far away by His Holy Spirit and He came close by the human, flesh and blood person of Jesus Christ.
He wants to come close to you.
To love you up close.
To heal you up close.
To talk to you up close. And be with you heart to heart.
Jesus likes to spend time with His people.
You love to spend time with those you are intimately connected to. God desires the same connection. So He comes to us in the middle of our messes, because He wants to be a part of our lives no matter where we are.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
God’s love is yours forever. He takes care of us. The ones He made with a pulse and heartbeat beating with the marvel of life itself. No one is outside of His hands and His care. God created all people in His image. And all people have been influenced by the fall of man at the point where sin entered the world. Now we all know what good and evil is. We all have been exposed to it. We all sin. We all make mistakes. But God’s job is to call us close to Him. In relationship. An intimate relationship with the God of the universe.
This is God’s purpose for humankind: to have a relationship with Him and be with Him forever.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20
Thus, Jesus’ primary job is to go to His people. And every single one of us falls into the same category: sinners. This term is not a derogatory label. It is, rather, an inevitable fact that we live and breathe in a fallen world. Yet, because of God and His spirit of life, we get to experience beauty all around us too, and miracles arise from this reality. It empowers us to experience a real understanding of what Heaven is because we know what evil was.
Jesus says in verse 18, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus wants sinners, and this is not a statement of elimination whereby he excludes a group of people. This is a statement that clarifies the state of the human condition, no matter how good we are: there is no one righteous. Even the best of hearts are not righteous without the righteousness of Jesus. We need Him.
“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20
I dont need to be righteouness on my own… Because Jesus is my righteousness and my strength. So I can be open about my weakness and as I do so, God amplifies this with power that sets the heart free and helps you to connect with other people going through the same thing.
God won’t take away your weakness if it is pressing out healing oil. Embrace your weakness… let God hold you there.
“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
In pointing this out to the Pharisees, Jesus reminds them also that they are sinners in need of a Savior. But the Pharisees do not like this reminder. And it blocks their ability to be healed and loved by Jesus.
When we ignore our sin and say that we don’t need a Savior, we inhibit room to grow and we limit our vitality. Immortality comes from an eternal God alone. To connect with God means we need to talk about what we host inside of us.
Confessing our sins brings us into the light where can fellowship with God and with others, in forward momentum and maturity.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
Walking in the light means being transparent. With God and with people in your life. We need to intermingle with one another when it comes to openness and conversation. When we do this, verse 7 says, “the blood… cleanses us.” Literally, the blood is the cleansing mechanism, and it is only activated when we walk in the light and let our sin be shown and exposed in the light so it can be erased by the light.
God does not judge us for the sin we expose. He only wants to give us more and more love through His light.
The human heart is able to reflect the light of Jesus because He came to walk among us and make His light shine in our midst. Now we can walk in light just like He does because He showed us the way and gave us the way by shining it for us to absorb.
Jesus intermingles with us in our sin so that we can intermingle with His light.
Jesus intermingles with us in our passion because He wants to show us His passion.
Jesus intermingles with our light to amplifty its glow.
You shine for the Lord…
Soak up God’s light.
Verse 18: The Mark of Differentiation
“Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus is different than everyone else.
When you follow Jesus, it makes you different also.
Here in verse 18, we see Jesus’ disciples acting different from other disciples. John’s disciples are fasting from food as a religious tradition to connect with God, and the Pharisees wonder: why are Jesus’ disciples not doing the same? Jesus has a reason for everything He does and He instructs the disciples from the outpouring of His own wisdom. He does not need His disciples to fast in order to connect with God, because God is already with them. Jesus is God. We will hear this in verse 19.
The Greek word used to denote “fasting” in the text is nēsteuō. It literally means to go without food. Going without food for the purpose of fasting is not meant to be a dietary restriction or health rationale but, rather, a way to deny the senses in order to focus them on the spiritual realities of God. It’s a sacrificial action.
Yet here we see Jesus completely forgoing it. He does not need to fast. Does not demand his disciples to fast. If Jesus came to bring Heaven to earth, why does He not want His disciples to fast in order to connect more to God?
Jesus makes the rules because He is God.
This is the mark of differentiation. Being distinct in your actions and way of life from others. This does not mean that you follow a certain way. It means that you follow the way God Himself says and this is only a way He can speak. Not anyone else. His words are the way.
Following Jesus makes you different. Because you follow a different kind of King.
Jesus is different.
He leads differently.
He acts differently.
He speaks differently.
He interacts differently.
Why is The King of the universe so different?
Because He comes from another planet.
“For I have come down from Heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38
God sent His Son Jesus to save us and love us.
Jesus Christ’s home is in Heaven. In Heaven, the ways of living, breathing, and operating are different. When you walk into a new culture, you bring your own culture into the space. But Jesus created the world. It was not foreign to Him. He knew exactly what the earth held. He knew what it came from Heaven as the human expression of God and as He moves and breathes on the earth, He lives with this perspective in mind.
When you know where you came from, you it changes the way you see the world around you. You live from a place of confident identity and place of belonging.
The apostle Paul knew where he came from and it framed his entire worklife.. He says this to the Philippian church…
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20
You come from Heaven, so the things of earth are never as primary as Heaven’s realities.
Heaven is our reality. So Heaven lifts our heads above our circumstances to see Jesus, the one who loves us and promises us eternal life. One day we will be with Him forever close and intimate. Dwelling with Him in love forever.
Verse 19: The Mark of The Bridegroom
“And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.”
holy is the bridegroom
walking down the aisle
to whom he loves
because He loves
you are worthy
because He claims you
Jesus is the bridegroom. And His people are the bride, symbolically. Like a groom on His wedding day, He waits for His bride at the end of the aisle where He plans to make his vows to her forever. His eyes sparkle like champagne on fourth of July because He knows His love can finally be made known. For the one He chose.
This is God’s love for His people. We are the ones he longs to unify with. To be one with. To be in love with. To live with forever.
Jesus is the bridegroom who comes to unify you with Him in love.
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:2-4
You know the way to where He is… follow the path to Heaven… high up… above you… in the skies… in the Heavens.
“Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
The way to love is through Jesus.
He is our highest lover.
The ones who perfects love in our hearts and teaches us how to love.
Love beckons a perfect lover to complete the essence of love. The virtue of love. The heart of love. The soul of love. Who is the perfection of love? It’s Jesus… we only know love because He first loved us. And by Him, we absorb the deepest love from Heaven’s heartbeat.
He loves my heart. He loves my soul. He loves my mind in every aspect of its blooming existence. He loves you. Let Him love you…
and whisk us away
to be with You
Verse 20: The Mark of Fasting
“The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.”
When He’s gone I don’t want to eat anything. I can’t. His absence makes me lovesick. Heartsick. Butterflies for days and anxiousness for nights waiting for him to come back to me.
They took him away from me. The ones who condemned him for being King. Captured him for being King. Killed him for being King. But He is King. The only King. So He keeps reigning in my heart.
He is the bridegroom. The one promised and the one focused on me because His heart is in love with me like I am with Him. How can I begin to express the depths of my love for Him…
“As an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
so is my beloved among the young men.
With great delight I sat in his shadow,
and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his banner over me was love.”
Song of Solomon 2:3-4
Love is the sweetest taste of all.
Fast in order to taste love.
Fasting is meant to trigger your senses to taste the divine.
“We have known and have believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them.” 1 John 4:16
Woo my heart to your love like you did the first time you came to me. Woo my eyes to your eyes like you did the first time I saw yours in the light where it was just you and I. It’s only you and I now. My love for you won’t be shy now.
“By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8
The mark of the bridegroom is the mark of love on your heart and on your skin.
The bridegroom was made for His bride. To showcase God’s love. To highlight God’s perfect unity of oneness.
Oneness comes from intimate fellowship with the bridegroom. So when the bridegroom is gone, we must do something to spark that intimate connection again.
Jesus tells them what to do when the bridegroom is gone: “then they will fast in that day,” as verse 20 says.
Fasting is a mark of intentional connection with Jesus. It is a method by which we channel our entire being to the Lord with the heart desire to be with one with Him.
The mark of fasting is the mark of His love deep within in your weakness. Your weakness is a blessing because it tells your mind that you cannot make it without a higher power. You need God. You need Jesus. You need strength beyond you. Outside of you. Transcendent of you. And when we acknowledge that weakness to the Lord, He is so kind and gracious to convert that into power because His Holy Spirit will give us an epiphany that enables us to keep going and use that weakness to bring glory to God. Because we show others that healing and power can only come from God.
He touches you at the surface and deep within to brand you with His love. I want His love forever. Sing over me forever, Lord. Love me forever, Lord. Touch me forever, Lord. Be with me forever, Lord… You are my lover and I love you forever.
My Favorite Takeaway of The passage:
“And Jesus said to them…” Mark 2:19
Jesus has an answer. My heart finds rest knowing He has an answer. My questions find rest knowing He has an answer for the unknowns that arise. Jesus is not petrified by the mysteries I see. He knows exactly what they will bring and how to make a miracle in the beauty. Jesus is with us. His words are the truest words we will hear.
Jesus knows what to say. He always knows what to say. So I come to Him and ask Him what to say. To have His Holy Spirit speak through me. To ask Him love to move me with words that align with the truth of what I feel, what I know and what I need to talk about. We can talk about anything with Jesus. Because He always has answer.
You answer me
when I call
You answer me
when I tell
I love you
and I need you
You answer me
when I wonder
when I ask
do you love me
He says I love you
I’ve always loved you
I’ll always love you
He’s always loved me