OK, by now you must be getting the impression that the Pharisees are more than a little uptight and uncomfortable with the authority that Jesus is claiming. In our journey through Mark thus far, they’ve called Him a blasphemer, criticized the company He keeps and closely monitor His every move. In this week’s passage, we see them laying yet another charge, insinuating that He is a rule breaker. Well, a breaker of their rules anyway.
The scribes and the Pharisees were certainly fastidious about rule keeping. They created a twice a week fast on Mondays and Thursdays from sunrise to sunset. Just so you would know how good they were at keeping the fast, they wore disheveled clothing and either put ashes on their foreheads or applied white make-up to their faces to make themselves look weak and worn from fasting. Quite a contrast to Jesus’ prescription for fasting in Matthew 6:16-18.
When Jesus is questioned in verse 18, He takes the next four verses to respond. Does His response seem a little weird to you? What in the world is He saying and what is His point? Why should these well learned Jews, of all people, be able to figure out what He was saying to them?
How comfortable are you getting with Jesus’ claims of authority? Are you getting more or less comfortable each week?