A Sinner’s Party

A Sinner’s Party

We begin a new series this Sunday that will lead us through the Gospel of Mark. As part of this series, we will be led through the shortest – and earliest written – Gospel from beginning to end. Guided by Mark, we will focus on Jesus’ radical way of defying social norms and religious traditions. In doing so, Jesus teaches us a way of grace and love.

Jesus begins defying social and religious norms early in his ministry. Even in calling his disciples, Jesus calls those who are reviled by respectable religious leaders. In this example, Jesus teaches us to love beyond such cultural divisions.

Mark 2:13-17 (CEB)
13Jesus went out beside the lake again. The whole crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14As he continued along, he saw Levi, Alphaeus’ son, sitting at a kiosk for collecting taxes. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Levi got up and followed him.

15Jesus sat down to eat at Levi’s house. Many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples. Indeed, many of them had become his followers. 16When some of the legal experts from among the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, “Why is he eating with sinners and tax collectors?”

17When Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. I didn’t come to call righteous people, but sinners.”

Additional Readings
Each week, we will include additional readings to help us work through the entire Gospel of Mark.

  • MARK 1:1-15
  • MARK 1:16-28
  • MARK 1:29-45
  • MARK 2:1-17
  • MARK 2:18-28

Consider these questions:

  1. Who is it that Jesus is criticized for eating with? Why? Do you see examples of this in our world today?
  2. In what ways have you felt like the sinner or tax collector with whom Jesus is criticized for eating? In what ways have you felt Jesus’ presence even while being criticized or judged?


    David DeBus

    Dear Bob,

    Thank you so much for this series. And thank you for focusing on the Book of Mark. I assigned Mark to a doctoral psychology class in Psychology of Religion as the most essential of the four gospels. I find it short, sweet, unsentimental, telegraphic, and more trustworthy in some respects.

    For example, whereas in Matthew, the bread is “spiritual,” in Mark it is literal.

    Is it really true that the tax collectors and women driven to prostitution are more sinful or less healthy than the Pharisees and the ones who follow each mitzvah?

    Patricia Riddle

    This is so timely!! I realize there is to be a separation of church and state, but the current political atmosphere is so ugly, it’s hard to stay positive. I am sorry I will miss the series the first three Sundays of August and will appreciate reading them when I return. Patty

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