Summary: Looking at how Jesus dealt with traditions
Loving the Old Ways, Missing the New – Luke 5:33-39
Gladstone Baptist Church – 26/9/04
Last week I spoke about the fact that Jesus loves unlovely people. I don’t mean people who are physically ugly, but people who the rest of society considers as unlovely or different or inferior. These are the people which Jesus welcomed to himself. Do you remember what 3 things Christ modelled to us through his acceptance of Levi the tax collector.
1. We needed to Notice the unlovely and see that they had needs that only Jesus could meet.
2. We needed to befriend the unlovely and intentionally do so
3. We needed to accept the unlovely as they are before they change
Jesus came to seek those that were lost. Those who were sinners in need of forgiveness. He said “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick . I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance” Jesus wanted to show that God cared for them and that He was going to die for them too – so why wouldn’t he notice them, befriend them and accept them.
What about people who don’t act right? E.g. People who don’t Fast.
Okay, you say, I can accept the fact that Jesus wants us to reach out to people who are different to us, who we might snub our nose at or who we think are different. But how about people who refuse to do what is “right”? What if they don’t ACT RIGHT
The Pharisees were struggling with this same question. If you’ve got your bibles there I want you to open them up to read what the Pharisees have to say about Jesus’ activities. Read Luke 5:27-39
27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. 29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
33 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.” 34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”
36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’”
In vs 33, the Pharisees question Jesus. “John’s disciples often fast and pray and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”
Fasting is the practice of abstaining from food or other physical nourishment. Today, it is typically used as a political tool to force the hand of a government or authority – like the hunger fasts of refugees or prisoners. But in bible times, it was practiced not to force the hand of God, but to open oneself to God’s work in that person. People fasted to express grief over sin or a catastrophe or a death of a person. People fasted to show they were sorry for their sins and seeking God’s mercy. People also fasted as a means of growing closer to God.
Fasting was a God ordained practice. Back in Lev 23:27 or Num 29:7 we read that the people were to fast on the Day of Atonement. This was the day where the people were to come before God and seek his forgiveness for their sins as a nation and as individuals. It was right that they fast to express regret and sorrow for their sins and seek God’s mercy.
But in the time of Jesus, the annual day of fasting instituted by God had been turned into a twice weekly ritual that had all but lost its meaning.