Life-Study of Markby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The Gospel of Mark is not a book of doctrine. As a biography, this Gospel was written according to the facts of history. The record of this Gospel, therefore, is according to historical sequence.
We have seen that the five incidents recorded in 2:1—3:6 form a group. These five incidents are the forgiving of the sins of the sick (2:1-12), feasting with sinners (2:13-17), causing His followers to be merry without fasting (2:18-22), caring for His followers’ hunger rather than for religion’s regulation (2:23-28), and caring for the relief of the suffering one rather than for the ritual of religion (3:1-6). Each of these incidents can be summarized by a particular word. The word to summarize the first incident is forgiveness. In 2:1-12 we have a case of the forgiveness of sins by the Son of Man, who was the forgiving God incarnated in the form of a Slave. In 2:5 the Lord Jesus said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven!” When the scribes heard this they reasoned in their hearts, “He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins except one—God?” (v. 7). Eventually, the Lord said, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins—He says to the paralytic, To you I say, Rise, pick up your bed and go to your house” (vv. 10-11). The Son of Man, even though He was in the form of a Slave, had the authority to forgive sins. Here we have a strong indication that the forgiving God was present in the form of this Man, a man who was a Slave. Therefore, the first incident in this series of five incidents concerns forgiveness.
The word to describe the second incident is enjoyment. In this incident, recorded in 2:13-17, the Slave-Savior as a Physician was feasting with sinners. Therefore, here we have the enjoyment of feasting with the Savior. Those who feasted with Him enjoyed the goodness of the Slave-Savior, who is the embodiment of God. Therefore, what they actually experienced was the enjoyment of God Himself. For this reason, the word “enjoyment” is a summary of this incident.
We may use a very simple word to describe the third incident—joy. Therefore, in the first three incidents we have forgiveness, enjoyment, and joy.
According to 2:18-22, certain basic factors must exist in order for us to be joyful. Without these factors, we cannot have joy. The first basic factor is the Bridegroom: “Jesus said to them, Can the sons of the bridechamber fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast” (v. 19). A bridegroom is the most pleasant person. Hence, in chapter two of Mark the basic factor of our joy is the Savior as the Bridegroom.
Two other factors of joy are the new cloth (v. 21) and the new wine (v. 22). The new cloth is for making a garment to cover us and beautify us. Unshrunk cloth is cloth that has not yet been treated or worked upon. This new cloth is for making a new garment. This new garment, which is actually Christ Himself, covers us and beautifies us. The new wine satisfies us and makes us joyful. Outwardly, we have the new cloth; inwardly, we have the new wine. Furthermore, we are with the Bridegroom. Now we have these basic factors for us to be joyful.
No philosopher could utter a word like what is spoken by the Lord Jesus in 2:18-22. In His wisdom the Lord uses ordinary things like cloth and wine to illustrate wonderful points. The Lord speaks of a bridegroom, new cloth, and new wine to show us how we may be joyful. We can be joyful because we are with the Bridegroom, because we have a new covering to beautify us, and because we have new wine to fill us, satisfy us, and cause us to be beside ourselves with joy. Therefore, in the third incident we have joy.
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