Summary: Today's Christian rarely enjoys the Christianity envisioned by Jesus because it has been hampered by religion, which destroys the freedom available to us in Christ.
Every time some tragedy happens, people get very religious. The problem with getting religious is it does not last very long. Once the crisis has calmed down and things get back to normal, religion seems to go out the window.
The reason this happens so often is that religion is never the answer it is only a substitute. Much like a baby who cannot go to sleep without his pacifier.
Whoever invented the pacifier was an absolute genius. Where would some families be without that pacifier? When a child is two years old, the pacifier helps calm him down. If that same person is still using the pacifier when 16, something is wrong. Pacifiers were never designed to permanently solve any problem.
Such is the case with religion. In fact, religion creates more problems than it solves.
As we look at these parables in the gospel of Luke, we begin to understand Christianity from Jesus’ perspective.
I do not want to settle for anything less than Jesus’ best. If Christ is in the center of my life, everything else will fall into place. Now, the trick is to make sure Christ is in the center of your life.
What is a parable?
A parable contains a truth concealed that only the Holy Spirit can reveal. The key to every parable is the illumination of the Holy Spirit in a receptive heart.
As these parables unfold to us, we will understand them in proportion to our commitment to the Holy Spirit in our life. To try to unfold these parables by reason and human intellect is to miss the richness of what these parables are all about.
So today, we come to the first parable in the gospel of Luke. It is the parable of the new cloth and the new wine. With this, we began unfolding Christianity as Jesus envisions it.
Today’s Christian rarely enjoys the Christianity envisioned by Jesus because it has been hampered by religion, which destroys the freedom available to us in Christ.
Notice the question in verse 33.
“The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so did the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.”
This may look like a simple question on the surface but it is the beginning of the clash between religion and true Christianity.
The focus of Jesus’ answer is on Himself. (Verse 34)
At the core of Christianity is a revelation of Jesus Christ. When we get off this, we drift into heresy. Heresy is selecting which truth to follow and ignoring the rest.
At the core of religion is a restoration of human dignity, but at what price? On the surface, it sounds okay. The question posed to Jesus is simply, why are your disciples not doing what our disciples are doing? In other words, they are not in line with us.
Jesus is trying to set forth the idea that Christianity sets us free from bondage to external things.
This was prophesied in the Old Testament.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant and with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they break, although I was an husband unto them saith the Lord: with this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:31-32).
This is confirmed in the New Testament.
“For as much as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart” (II Corinthians 3:3).
The essence of this parable is Jesus showing the difference between religion, represented by the Pharisees and even the disciples of John the Baptist, and the Christianity He is birthing through his life, death, burial and resurrection.
The Christianity espoused by Jesus is one of freedom. He has set us free. Many misunderstand this.
We are not free to do as we please; we are free to please Him. As it stands, all of humanity is shrouded in depravity, which hinders humanity from being what God created it to be. God created humanity to worship Him.
St. Augustine, “Thou, O God, hast created us for Thyself and we are restless until we rest fully in Thee.”
The world is trying to satiate this restlessness through entertainment, music, arts, and sports. And the beat goes on…