Summary: A sermon highlighting some characteristics of Jesus’ ministry

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Luke 5:33-39

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pastor Brian Matherlee

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Here we have a parable placed in with several stories that describe the ministry of Jesus.

The stories are:

• Jesus touching and healing a leper. (5:12-14)

• A paralytic is lowered through a roof and Jesus forgives his sins and heals his body. (5:17-26)

• Jesus calls Levi (Matthew) to become His disciple and socializes with sinners and the down and out. (5:27-32)

• On the day of rest and worship, Jesus healed a man with a shriveled hand after the Pharisees became upset that the disciples picked some grain on the holy day. (Luke 6:1-11)

These stories draw a sharp contrast between an old way of trying to please God and the new way Jesus wanted us to follow.

1. Jesus emphasized love over law

a. Jesus knew that law was given to be a protection and a guide to us but not an end in and of itself. Therefore he “broke” the Pharisees interpretation of the law but fulfilled what God wanted.

i. By touching a leper

ii. By forgiving sins when the friends were simply concerned about the man’s body.

iii. By associating with the dogs of society.

iv. By “working” on the Sabbath.

v. We are not going to make it to heaven by striving to live up to a list of rules or do’s and don’ts. The only way we make it to heaven is by grace through faith.

b. You know, we can sometimes get caught in a false sense of security when we think holiness is about not doing something. Being holy as God is holy has to do with a pure heart.

2. Jesus emphasized action vs. avoidance

a. Again we see this pictured here in Luke 5 with lepers and sinners.

b. It is illustrated powerfully in the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the account of Jesus with the woman at the well. (Who are we avoiding?)

c. The Pharisees were good at avoiding. They excused themselves from so many things so they wouldn’t be “corrupted”.

d. The teaching of the Pharisees was killing the spirit of the people. Jesus was bringing life to the hopeless and the religious alike.

3. Jesus called out, the Pharisees caged up

a. While Jesus reached out to the spiritual need of people around him who were receptive (I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance) the Pharisees condemned the lost and tried to exclude them. Why couldn’t they reach out?

b. Let’s not be so quick to judge the Pharisees…we write a lot of people off too.

c. Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees with a woman who had been caught in adultery. His answer pointed out the farce…he who is without sin may cast the first stone…where are your accusers? Neither do I condemn you.

d. The sinless one does not condemn us. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

So we come back to the parable.

The focus of the new wineskins and the patched clothing is three-fold:

• Jesus is offering something new and radically different

• It doesn’t make sense to change only a portion of something.

o It’s like trying to quit a bad habit but spending all your time around others who indulge in it.

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