Adapted from a sermon on Mark 1:40-2:17
Jesus' teaching. Jesus' followers. Do you ever have trouble putting those two things together?
In a sense that's the problem the Christian faces as they seek to follow Him. And it's the problem the non-Christian has as they look on. How do Jesus' teaching and His followers go together??
Think about it. With Jesus we hear righteous teaching like the world has never heard. And yet, who flocks to Him? The scum, the low-lives, the outsiders, the sinners.
Jesus teaches the hardest line on good living ever imagined. He even says at one point "Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt 5:48). Jesus raises the spiritual temperature to nuclear - and who flocks to Him? Not the priests? Not the religious types. Not the goody goodies. Those guys, in their long flowing robes are standing on the edges of the crowd, arms folded, plotting to destroy Jesus (Mark 3:6).
The LORD Almighty walks around 1st century Palestine. The Son of the Living God is calling His people and who is His entourage? Unrighteous, disreputable outcasts. It's a tremendous shock but it's at the heart of what Jesus came to do.
As He says in Mark 2:17 "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Jesus is the abolition of religion. All human religion says "God calls the goodies not the baddies." Jesus says "I call the baddies not the goodies." Jesus is the abolition of religion.
The religious types stand on the fringes plotting to do away with Jesus. But Jesus is at the centre doing away with religion. These verses (Mark 1:40 right up until 3:6) are a fight to the death between Jesus and religion. Religion is working to kill Jesus but Jesus is working to kill religion.