Ideology and Its Dangers

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We will watch as ideology blinds the Pharisees to the truth and becomes the justification for plotting Jesus' death.



We are to be a people who seek the truth.
God has given us His Word.
Through it, He has given us evidence and thus reasons to find Him and His word credible and trustworthy.
We refine our worldview, that is our understanding of the world and our place in it, based upon the express teaching of His word.
Ideology, for ideology’s sake, is antithetical to the pursuit of truth.
All information must be subject to ideology instead of ideology subject to information.
Consequently, it blinds to truth when truth is obvious.
Ideology must be supported and truth forsaken.
We need to review the importance given to the Law and rabbinical interpretation in order to put ourselves into the proper mindset for understanding the event before us.
The opening of the chapter must be understood in light of two key events:
Jesus’ dinner conversations at the house of Levi.
Why does Jesus eat with sinners and tax collectors?
Why do Jesus’ disciples not practice fasting like the disciples of John.
Apparently, sometime after that meal, on the Sabbath day, Jesus’ disciples made a path through a grainfield and plucked ears of grain as they did so.

The Place of the Event

Mark, by the word “again” signals these events take place in Capernaum.
Mark placed Jesus in Capernaum in Mk. 2:1, and he has not removed him from that town.
There are vastly different estimates for the population size of the city (always a scholarly exercise fraught with danger for the Roman world).
The estimates range from 12k-15k to as few as 600-1500 people.
In 1866, Charles Wilson proposed this was the synagogue referred to in Luke 7:5. And in 1894, the Franciscan Fathers acquired the site in order to preserve and protect it. They found 10,000 coins underneath the present floor and were thereby able to date the synagogue to the fourth or fifth century ad. Below the visible ruins of the synagogue that stands today, however, lays the foundation of an older structure—likely the ruins of the synagogue mentioned in Luke 7:4–5. Since the structure that currently stands above ground displays both Jewish and Roman symbols, it seems likely that some of the stones from the earlier synagogue were used in the building of the later one.
Winstead, M. B. (2016). Capernaum. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, L. Wentz, E. Ritzema, & W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Lexham Press.

The Catalysts for the Event

Mark first introduces the man with a “withered hand.”
We do not know precisely what ailed the man.
Without adding a subject, instead carrying it over the previous section, Mark lets us visualize the opposition to Jesus observing him.
They wanted to use a healing on the Sabbath Day as the excuse to pursue legal charges against Jesus.
As on the other occasions, Jesus challenges the Pharisees instead of being passive.
He called upon the individual to rise into the middle of the synagogue.
He questions the Pharisees with a series of questions about the Sabbath.
Is it lawful to good or to do evil?
Is it lawful to save a life or to kill?

The Depths of Blindness

They remained silent in response to Jesus’ questions.
Jesus gets angry with them and becomes grieved over the hardness of their hearts.
They were stubborn and closed minded.
Jesus had tried to press them previously on their merciless misinterpretation of the Sabbath day.
He had also taught them about himself.
He is God (he has the authority to forgive sins).
He is Lord of the Sabbath.
He is Messiah (the Son of Man).
Jesus’ grief seems to be frustration over their unwillingness to acknowledge the evil of their own view of the traditions.
Jesus had the man stretch out his hand, and it was restored.
The Pharisees joined with their enemies to destroy Jesus.
Do we seek truth? Do we recognize Jesus for who is?
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