Statement: Even though Jesus is the spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Son of The Most High, He was hated by the religious leaders of Judaism. WHY? Events like the one recorded in today’s Scripture reading give us a peek into the why.
MAIN POINT: Biblical Christianity, (i.e. The Gospel,) stands alone, intentionally separate from all “religions,” making utterly incompatible with every other religion.
I believe the confrontation took place at or near Levi’s home as a natural response to what Jesus and His disciples were doing as guests of Levi. They were eating and drinking.
Context: Judaism had become a religion of strict adherence to rules and regulations, many of which were NOT the rules of God, but of man. Fasting was one such rule.
There is only ONE FAST required by God. It was in conjunction with Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement. Many other fasts were called for, but they were NOT REQUIREMENTS of God’s Law.
However, the expectation to fast, with ritualized prayers, at specified times, had become all but Law for those desiring acceptance from the religious elite.
These humanly prescribed fasts occurred every Monday and Thursday. The text does not say it and I cannot prove it, but I lean toward the idea that this celebration at Levi’s house must have occurred on a Monday or Thursday. It would explain the question being asked.
Why are you and your disciples not complying
with the expected norm?
TRUTH POINT #1: There is great difference between Law and Tradition, a point pharisaic people usually fail to grasp.
Jesus responds to His inquisitors by comparing the situation to that of The Celebration At A Wedding Feast. Weddings were weeklong affairs of dancing, food, drink, joy, laughter, and all-around good will among the participants. To fast at a wedding would be totally inappropriate.
So Jesus asks: “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The idea of The Messiah as a Bridegroom was not known in the Old Testament, although His people as a Bride was. In the New Testament it became a standard way of communicating The Messiah’s relationship with His people.
In effect, Jesus is saying; I am the Bridegroom and My friends rejoice with Me because…
· Good News is being proclaimed to the poor in spirit
· The brokenhearted are being healed
· Captives of spiritual oppression are being delivered
· Blind are regaining sight
· The Downtrodden are being set free
· This is the acceptable year of The Lord!
Jesus is beginning to make it clear that what He is bringing to the people, is not the same as what Judaism, in its broken, worn-out state, was bringing.
From this point Jesus drives home the reality that not only is His Gospel different than the works-based religion of Judaism, the two are not even compatible.
Teaching in parables was one of the signs, foretold in the Old Testament, that would identify The Messiah.
(Psalm 78:2 – Matt 13:34-45)
(Isaiah 6:9-10 – Matthew 13:13-15)
TRUTH POINT #3: Cutting a patch from a new garment renders it worthless and reveals the shabby condition of the old without fixing the problem.
The Answer: Replacement.
You retire the old and employ the new.
TRUTH POINT #4: New Wine in Old Wine Skins is a disaster waiting to happen. New Wine will require give and take, Old Wine Skins will be ridged and unyielding. The pressure will cause the skins to break and you will lose the New Wine and The Old Skins.
The Answer: Replacement.
You lay aside the Old Skin and utilize a New Skin for the New Wine.
Question: Is Jesus really concerned with garments and wine skins?
Not At All! His concern is with the compatibility of The Gospel; which is about what God does on our behalf, with any form of Works Religion; which is about what man can do to prove himself to God.
Only Biblical Christianity, which is founded, shaped and empowered by The Gospel of Jesus Christ is based on GRACE obtained through FAITH.
TRUTH POINT #5: Biblical Christianity is totally incompatible with other religious systems. If it is to be embraced it must fully replace all others, it can never be blended with them.
Therein is the rub between Jesus and the leaders of Judaism. They were beginning to understand that Jesus had no intention of joining in with them. Jesus’ message was one of TOTAL and COMPLETE REPLACEMENT. The Old System was bankrupt, it no longer had a place in God’s redemptive plan.
Good News is found only in Him. He is the ONLY WAY to right standing with God. Acts 4:12; John 14:6
Jesus summarizes with this statement: …no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, the old is better.
Jesus is NOT saying The Old is better, only that people say it’s better and they say that because they don’t want to CHANGE!
In so many ways, we people are like those Old Wineskins.
TRUTH POINT #6: Even Old Wineskins can become supple, yielding and flexible when submitted to the transformation power of Christ. He takes:
· …sinners and makes them saints.
· …non-believers and makes them believers.
· …stiff necked, rebellious souls and makes them moldable in His hand.
The Mission Church is committed to serving God by making disciples in the Des Moines area.
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