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5: The Old and the New (Mk 2:18-3:6)
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5: The Old and the New (Mk 2:18-3:6)

I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

The Pharisees had been judging Jesus in their minds (2:6-7) and questioning His disciples (2:16). They now openly accused Him of breaking God’s law. They did not accept the fact that Jesus came to reveal the true meaning of the law. Because both the Pharisees (religious leaders) and the Herodians (political leaders) felt that Jesus threatened their influence, they plotted to kill Him.

B.     Key Verse

            “No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment … And no one pours new wine into old wineskins” (2:21-22).

C.     Did You Know…?

1. Fasting (2:18): In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees fasted twice a week, on Monday and Thursday. They adopted a somber or downcast air by not washing and shaving, and sprinkling ashes on themselves to signify self-denial.9/175

2. Some of John’s disciples probably still had not heard of Jesus. In fact, many years later, the apostle Paul discovered some disciples in Ephesus who received only John’s baptism and had never heard of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-7)!

3. Based on their interpretation of the commandment of the Sabbath (cf. Ex 20:9-10; 31:15), the Pharisees specified 39 forbidden acts on the Sabbath. Among them was reaping, which they accused Jesus’ disciples of doing.9/637 By the same token, healing (a form of work) was also forbidden on the Sabbath.

4. Old garment (2:21): If a new garment patch sewn onto an old garment becomes wet, the new will shrink, pull away from the old, and make a large hole.3/114

5. Wineskins (2:22): In ancient times, goatskins were used to hold wine.7/1451Over time, the skin became hard and brittle. If new wine, still fermenting, were put into such an old skin, the buildup of fermenting gases would split the brittle container and ruin both the bottle and the wine. New wine was placed only in new wineskins still pliable and elastic enough to accommodate the pressure.9/227

6. Abiathar (2:26): David actually received the consecrated bread from Ahimelech, Abiathar’s father. It was customary to indicate a section of the Old Testament this way. Abiathar became high priest shortly after Ahimelech and was more prominent, thus justifying the use of his name here.3/114

7. Showbread/consecrated bread (2:26): Twelve loaves of unleavened bread were placed on the table in the holy place, one above the other, in two columns. They remained on the table for a week, then were removed and eaten by the priest in the sanctuary. It was sacrilegious for anyone not a priest to eat the showbread.8/421

8. Herodians (3:6): A minority Jewish political group that openly supported the reigning family of Herod and its pro-Roman sympathies.9/458

II.    Observations

A.     Outline













B.     Keywords/Phrases

III. General Analysis

1. When was the last time you learned something new in your spiritual knowledge? What did you learn?

2. List your routines in work, in school, and in church. Why do you keep your routines?

3. List the characters in this passage who asked questions. Why did each ask a question?

4. The Pharisees looked for every opportunity to accuse Jesus. Do you know people who find fault with your faith or with the church? How do you respond?

5. Read Isaiah 58. What are the teachings on fasting and observing the Sabbath?

IV.  Segment Analysis

A.     2:18-20

1. List the biblical reasons for fasting. (Look up “fast” and “fasting” in a Bible concordance.)

2. Whom does each of the following refer to?

2a. Bridegroom (Jn 3:28-30; Mt 25:10-11)

2b. Wedding guests (Mt 22:1-14; Jn 3:29)

3. How does the analogy of the bridegroom and the wedding guests answer the Pharisee’s accusations? (cf. Mt 6:16-18).

B.     2:21-22

4. What does each of the following represent?

4a. Unshrunk cloth (Mt 5:17)

4b. Old garment (Ps 102:25-27)

4c. Tear

4d. New wine (Eph 5:18; Song 1:2)

4e. Old wineskins

4f. New wineskins

5. How do the analogies of the cloth and the wineskin answer the Pharisee’s accusations? (cf. Mt 5:17-48; Rom 8:13-16; 1Cor 5:6; Eph 2:11-18; Heb 5:4-6).

6. Since the new is better than the old, why can’t we adapt biblical teachings to match current values?

C.     2:23-3:6

7a. Read 1Samuel 21:1-6. Why did David eat the consecrated bread?

7b. Which part of the law did David violate?

7c. What does the story of David eating the showbread have to do with what Jesus said in 2:27? (cf. Mt 12:1-8).

8. What did Jesus mean by the words in 2:28? How did He come to this conclusion (note the word “Therefore”)?

9. What are the implications/consequences of each possible answer to Jesus’ questions (3:4)? If you were one of the Pharisees, how would you have answered Jesus?

9a. “It is lawful to do good.”

9b. “It is not lawful to do good.”

9c. “It is lawful to do evil.”

9d. “It is not lawful to do evil.”

9e. “It is lawful to save a life.”

9f. “It is not lawful to save a life.”

9g. “It is lawful to kill.”

9h. “It is not lawful to kill.”

10. Why were the Pharisees silent?

11. Why did Jesus heal the man with a withered hand?

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