Summary: 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 ca
Introduction: 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 do not act right? E.g. People who do not 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 do not act right?
The Pharisees were struggling with this same question. If you have your bibles there, I want you to open them up to read what the Pharisees have to say about Jesus’ activities.
Text: Luke 5:27-39
I. In verse 33, the Pharisees question Jesus.
A. "The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers, the disciples of the Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink."
B. Fasting is the practice of abstaining from food or other physical nourishment.
1. 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.
2. However, in Bible times, it was practiced not to force the hand of God, but to open oneself to God’s work in that person.
3. People fasted to express grief over sin, a catastrophe, or a death of a person.
4. People fasted to show they were sorry for their sins and seeking God’s mercy.
5. People also fasted as a means of growing closer to God.
6. Fasting was a God ordained practice.
C. In Leviticus 23:27 we read that the people were to fast on the Day of Atonement.
1. 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.
2. It was right that they fast to express regret, sorrow for their sins, and seek God’s mercy.
3. However, 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.
D. There was once a guy who had just got married and as all husbands do, he was watching his wife preparing a pot roast and drooling in anticipation.
1. As he watched, she cut off one end of what looked like a perfectly good roast and threw it away.
2. Asked, “What did you do that for?” The answer - "Because that’s that way it is always done – ask my mother if you don’t believe!"
3. The poor guy was confused.
4. He rang his mother-in-law and asked why we cut the end of the roast off.
5. She said, "Because that’s what my mother always did!"
6. He then rang his wives grandmother, now old and feeble, and asked her about this strange family practice.
7. The old woman laughed.
8. She said she “I always had to cut off the end because I didn’t have a pot large enough to fit the whole roast!”
E. Often, there is a perfectly good reason for a practice when it is instituted, but after a time, the meaning gets lost.
F. At some point in time, some very sincere and devoted Jews wanted to show their love to God and so they decided to fast regularly.
1. They thought that continuous fasting might be a bit unhealthy after a while, so they chose the 2nd and the 5th day of the week to fast.
2. Why these days?
3. Well Moses went up to Mt Sinai to meet with God on the 2nd and he returned on the 5th.
4. So every 2nd and 5th day of the week, they fasted and I am sure that they benefited as they spent time with God and dealt with their sin.
5. However, over time, the ritual, which was meaningful to those who started it, became a meaningless tradition carried out by the Pharisees.
6. They wanted to show they were religious and devoted Jews, more than they wanted to be devoted.
7. Instead of being an opportunity to grow closer to God, the weekly fasts became a show to other people that they were “devout” and “religious.”
8. Over time, people got to thinking – what is the use of fasting if no one knows we are doing it.
9. No value at all is there.