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Mark 105 - Looking for Trouble


The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.)


Mark 7:1-4[1]


Some people come looking for a fight. Some people seem to be wired to always, always, always be looking for trouble.


You know what I mean. They come “loaded for bear” in their expectations, and words. They come with a “chip on their shoulder” in their attitude, thinking that everyone and everything must be their way. The world must turn for them.


And here we have religious leaders that are only interested in their own power structure. They’d come to the point of controlling the life of everyone in Israel and they weren’t going to let anyone, or anything, interfere with that power or control.


They’d come from their safe place to see Jesus. And instead of coming to him in humility or equality, looking to learn, they surround Jesus. They weren’t in a courtroom, but it certainly was a trial atmosphere. They were trying to intimidate Jesus, looking for a weakness that they could exploit.


And in their searching, they saw something that they could sink their teeth into. Something that they could poke at Jesus, demonstrating to everyone that he wasn’t worth their time.


It wasn’t even something Jesus said or did. It was how his disciples were acting, or rather, not acting. They weren’t following the sacred “traditions” from the spiritual leaders.


Traditions are those stories and teachings that are passed down from one generation to another. It’s like the song, Tradition from the musical Fiddler on the Roof[2]. The key line from the song says it all.


Because of our traditions, everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do.


The leaders used traditions to control the people. The actions resulting from the traditions themselves were not given by God. They didn’t show who God was, how he loves us, and how he wants nothing but the best for us. No, these human traditions were to exert control over people. It was also a power game where leaders had a weapon to put people down underneath them.


Who is trying to make you feel guilty? Looking to make you feel ashamed, weak, undeserving? And what are they saying that you should be doing? Or not doing? Are they looking to raise you up? Encourage you in your walk with God? In your life? Or is their aim to bring you down, putting you below their superiority?


These leaders were more than willing to make life more difficult, more expensive, more complex for people. But they were not the least bit interested in trying to help these same people.


They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.


Matthew 23:4 NLT


But Jesus is an altogether different kind of God and person. When it comes to burdens, what does he say?


Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


Matthew 11:28-30


Jesus give rest. He gives rest from the burdens we put on ourselves, and the burdens others try and put on us. The old hymn puts it so well.


Beneath the cross of Jesus, I fain would take my stand,

the shadow of a mighty Rock, within a weary land;

a home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,

from the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.


How’s your life feeling today? Like you’re wandering in a wilderness? Like you’re under tremendous pressure, heat, and a heavy burden?


Jesus truly is the only one, the only solution where God takes our burdens on himself. All others try and put more on you and me. In Jesus, God completely understands our plight, problems, pain. He alone can take it all. But we have to offer it to him, give it to him.


Isn’t it about time for us to drop our heavy burdens?

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Bible references are from the New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. [2] https://youtu.be/gRdfX7ut8gw

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