Archive for February, 2009

Luke 7:18-35 Jesus and John the Baptist

February 28, 2009

Messengers from John the Baptist

18 The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, 19 calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20 And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” 21 In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers [1] are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

24 When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus [2] began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. 26 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is he of whom it is written,

“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.’

28 I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” 29 (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, [3] having been baptized with the baptism of John, 30 but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)

31 “To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,

“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

  • Jesus asks, “what did you go out to see? A reed swaying in the wind?”  This is thought to be a reference to King Herod Antipas.  Herod had just recently chosen a Galilean reed to be the symbol imprinted on one of the Jewish coins.  So the symbol of a reed would be recognized by all those who were listening to Jesus.  So what Jesus is asking is, “Did you come out to see a King?”
  • “Did you come to see someone dressed in satins and silks?”  No those are found in royal palaces.  Again, another reference to King Herod.
  • “Did you come to see a prophet?”  Yes, but not just any prophet.
  • Who does Jesus think he is?
  • John was puzzled.  Here he was in jail.  If Jesus was the true Messiah as he believed, why was he in jail.  Shouldn’t the Messiah bring justice and freedom for the prisoners.  Jesus wasn’t acting the way John had expected him too and so he begins to doubt who Jesus is.  Again, we see that people have their own expectations of how Jesus should act.
  • Jesus quotes from various passages of Isaiah showing who he is and how the Messiah should act.  He does not speak directly about who he is but through his actions he lets people draw their own conclusions.  He was fulfilling what was written.  Jesus’ kingdom was not going to rival Herod’s directly, but it was operating in a different mode to what people expected.  Jesus was a different sort of king.
  • And if Jesus is a different sort of king, John was a different sort of prophet.  Look up Malachi 3:1 (3:1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lordof hosts.).  This is who John was.  John was the messenger, preparing the way for God himself.  The least of those who belong to this new movement is greater than John, the greatest man who was ever born up to that time.  These were strong words for the people to hear.  
  • John was too solemn and Jesus was too happy.  People were complaining.  But wisdom will win out and when we reach understanding we will know that this is how it had to be.
  • Do I judge Jesus by my expectations?  Do I criticize other Christians for being too strict, too soft, or too intellectual?  Am I searching for wisdom?  Here is a quote from N. T. Wright, “Following the Messiah who is different to what we imagined is always demanding; but this is the only way to the Kingdom of God.” 
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Luke 7:11-17 Raising of the Widow’s Son

February 27, 2009

Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son

11 Soon afterward [1] he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus [2]gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17 And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

  • Where was the faith this time?  The centurion’s servant was healed because of the centurion’s faith.  But where is the faith in this story?
  • Jesus loves to see signs of faith but is not bound by it.  In this case he acts out of sheer compassion.
  • Imagine being there when this happened.  The death of a son.  What a tragedy.  And someone from your town, a widow who’s husband had passed not too long ago.  Your heart goes out to her as you join the funeral procession and mourn with her.  The body was prepared and wrapped in the burial clothes.   The procession was on its way to the burial site when all of a sudden a stranger comes and stops them.  He says something to the woman and reaches out and touches the bier.  What is he doing?  Doesn’t he know that he will now be unclean according to the Jewish law?  And then he tells the lad to get up, and he does.  
  • Imagine the shock you feel, the awe, the fear, the joy, the disbelief.  Could this possibly have happened?  Am I hallucinating? No, I’m not this is real.  The people were probably reminded of the Elisha and Elijah (1Kings 17 and 2Kings 4).  N. T. Wright says, ” ‘God has visited his people’, they say: not in the sense of paying them a social visit, but in the old biblical sense, where this phrase was used to refer to God ‘visiting’ Israel at the time of the Exodus and other great events.  It means, ‘God has come near to us , to save and rescue us’.  It means, ‘This is the time we’ve been waiting for.’ “
  • No matter what I go through, like this widow, I need Jesus to find me, stop me, and heal me.  I need his presence.  When Jesus is around, even a funeral procession, is turned into joy.
  • These two stories, the centurion and the widow’s son, show what happens when the sermons in chapter 6 are lived out.  God’s love and his generosity are being brought to his people.  These stories also prepare us for the central question, ‘ who does Jesus think he is?’

Luke 7:1-10 The Healing of the Centurion’s Servant

February 25, 2009

Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant

7:1 After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant [1] who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion [2]heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

  • Most of us don’t live under very tight or clear authority structures, as they do in the military.
  • Because of this it is easy to think of God’s authority as loose or unclear.
  • However, God’s authority is absolute.  Like a commanding officer in the military.  This authority was at work through Jesus.  If we don’t acknowledge this authority we are lacking in faith.  The centurion understood this authority.
  • This story is not about the healing of the slave, although that is important.  It is about the centurion’s faith.  The centurion was a middle ranking officer stationed in Capernaum.  He had a commanding officer above him and a group of soldiers beneath him.  His duties , most likely, involved peace-keeping.
  • Often soldiers in his position would despise the local people but this man did not.  According to Luke, the centurion loved the people and helped them to build a synagogue.  Luke emphasizes his respect and humility because he had sent two messengers.
  • Jesus was astonished by the second message.  He was astonished!!!!  Normally people were astonished by Jesus not the other way around.  Why was Jesus astonished?  Because of the quality of this man’s faith.
  • The centurion had a simple faith that believed in the authority of Jesus over sickness and health.  Like an officer in the military, if Jesus says get well, then you get well.  If he says it, it gets done.  Its that simple.
  • Where did he get this faith?  Obviously he had heard of Jesus and probably had witnessed his ability to heal.  Because of that he understood that God must be at work in him.  The centurion got it.  He was a gentile, a Roman, but he got it.  He understood the heart of the Jewish faith.  That the one true God was sovereign, the Lord of heaven and earth.  And he was now at work in this world through this Jesus of Nazareth.
  • What is my faith like?  Do I believe like this centurion?  What are my prayers like?  Do I ask God for something half hearted without really believing I will receive what I asked for?  Is Jesus the Lord of this world or not?

Win a Calfskin Version of the ESV Study Bible!

February 24, 2009

Want to win?  I know I do.  To enter the contest click on the following link: ESV Study Bible Giveaway.

Cool stuff!!!

Communion Message: Luke 24:13-35 On the Road to Emmaus

February 24, 2009

This past Sunday, my wife and I had the privilege of sharing the communion message at our worship service.  Here is a transcript of my sharing:

Good morning.  Please turn in your bibles to Luke chapter 24.  My name is Rob and this is my wife Tiffany and we are pleased this morning to be able share this communion with you.  We will begin reading in verse 13. 

Read Luke 24:13-35 

OK here we have two disciples, perhaps a married couple, who are returning to their homes on the third day following the crucifixion.  As they are walking down the road they are talking to each other about what has happened.  And as they are talking, Jesus approaches them and asks them what they are talking about.  Not recognizing who Jesus was they tell him their story.  And what an emotional story they tell.  Jesus of Nazareth, the one they had put all their hope in.  The one they believed would redeem Israel from the Roman oppression had just been killed by the very ones he was supposed to deliver them from.  And now three days later some were claiming his body was gone.  Because of this, these two, were sad and discouraged.  Their hope was gone.  Things didn’t happen the way that they had expected them too. 

Jesus responds to their story by rebuking them and then he begins to study the scriptures with them, explaining to them what really had just happened and why.  I don’t know about you but I would pay a lot of money to have the notes from that bible study.  Can you imagine sitting in on a bible study that was led by Jesus.  That would be amazing.  But Jesus studies with them because they did not understand.  They had put their hope in their expectations and were now discouraged and blinded from Jesus.  

I am a lot like these two disciples.  I have my own expectations of how things should play out in my life.  And a lot of the time things don’t go the way I expect.  And when that happens, I can easily become discouraged.  We all go though suffering, whether it is our health, death of a loved one, people we love leaving God, people rejecting us, or what ever.  I have experienced all these things.  And what these things do is they cause me to walk around sad, to be negative, and to be self piteous.  And when that happens, my eyes fail to recognize Jesus in my life.  This is when I need to seriously study my bible.  I need Jesus to study with me so I pray earnestly for his presence so that he can teach me and help me to understand.  I need to feel my heart burn within me. 

It’s no coincidence that their eyes were opened as Jesus was breaking bread.  This act of breaking bread would soon become the central symbolic action of Jesus’ people.  And to this day, each week we are invited to know Jesus in the breaking of the bread.  And when their eyes were opened, what they saw was the resurrected Jesus.  They saw their hope restored.  The light bulb clicked inside of their heads and all that Jesus taught them suddenly made sense.  They finally understood.  They were like, “Oh yeah, that’s why I was feeling that burning in my heart.  It wasn’t indigestion after all.”  And once they understood they immediately got up and went back to Jerusalem to share their good news.  This morning we will break bread together.  What will your eyes see?  Will they see Jesus, the risen Lord, the King of Kings, the author and perfecter of your faith?  Or will they only see your problems, your sufferings, yourself?  At this time Tiffany is going to share.

 Tiffany Shares.

This morning as you take communion open your eyes.  Jesus is there.  Your hope is there.  Let your hearts burn within you.  Let us pray.  

Luke 6:39-49 Judging Others and True Obedience

February 23, 2009

39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

A Tree and Its Fruit

43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Build Your House on the Rock

46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. [1] 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

  • Here are four of Jesus’ word-sketches.
  • They are meant to be funny while still being deadly serious.
  • Each is a warning about rival teachings, rival visions of the Kingdom.
  • #1 – The blind leading the blind.  Beware of other teachings that will only lead you into a ditch.  If you study with say the Pharisees, at the end of the day all you will be is just another Pharisee.  Is that what you want?
  • #2 – The speck and the plank.  This is meant to sound ridiculous, kind of like a verbal cartoon.  However, it is a warning against a certain type of teaching.  A teaching that has so many rules and regulations, trying to fine tune obedience to the Law, while missing the point of the Law entirely.  This is what the Pharisees were like.  How can someone teach or lead another if their own vision is obscured.  It is easy to focus on the small little details and miss the big picture.  Christianity today can be a lot like this as well.  Too many churches nit picking over the small details while missing the entire point of the Gospel entirely.  Am I like this?  Am I critical of others?  Do I focus on the outward small details and not on the heart matters?
  • #3 – The trees and fruit.  We are meant to be truly human beings.  A quote from N.T. Wright, “Moral reformation which leaves the heart untouched is about as useful as tying bunches of grapes on to a briar bush.”  Jesus is calling people to a new life and that requires a change of heart.  Again, am I focusing on my heart or just on outward behavior?  What kind of fruit am I producing?
  • #4 – The wise man building a house.  This is a stern warning.  If you listen to true wisdom an ignore it, you are building without a foundation.  The floods will come and what you built will be destroyed.  Consider Herod’s rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.  Such a magnificent building but by AD 70 it was torn to the ground.  Am I ignoring the commands of Jesus?  Am I building a strong foundation?
  • Am I looking for the specks in other people’s eyes and ignoring the the plank in my own?  Am I trying to change and be Godly without changing my heart?  Am I building without a foundation?  There is only one way, Jesus’ way.  People will look for alternative ways but those will only lead to ruin.

Luke 6:27-38 Loving Your Enemies

February 19, 2009

Love Your Enemies

27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic [1] either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Judging Others

37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

  • The Kingdom of God is all about a “glorious, uproarious, absurd generosity.”
  • Jesus’ instructions are all about new life.  Wright describes it like flowers growing through concrete.
  • Are these instructions possible to keep?  Yes and No
  • Jesus is not providing a rule book of dos and don’ts, but is demonstrating an attitude of the heart.
  • Jesus is calling us to be like this because God the Father is like this!!  God is generous, loving, merciful, selfless, etc, etc.
  • Only when we understand who God is and what he really is like can we begin to live like Jesus instructs us to in this passage.
  • Is this the God that I believe in?
  • Imagine a society that lived by these simple rules.  There would be no violence, no crime, no hate, no divisions.  People would take care of one another.
  • Jesus was a living example of this passage.  Throughout his life all the way to the cross and beyond, he loved all and gave all.  He was generous beyond limits.  How generous am I?  How loving am I?  
  • A quote from N.T Wright, “There are two particularly astonishing things about these instructions.  First, their simplicity: they are obvious, clear, direct, and memorable.  Second, their scarcity.  How many people do you know who really live like this?  How many communities do you know where these guidelines are rules of life?  What’s gone wrong?  Has God changed?  Or have we forgotten who He really is?

Luke 6:12-26 The Beatitudes

February 17, 2009

The Twelve Apostles

12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Jesus Ministers to a Great Multitude

17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.

The Beatitudes

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

Jesus Pronounces Woes

24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

  • Jesus spends the night in prayer prior to choosing the Twelve.  Serious decisions require serious prayer.
  • Jesus is putting together his team.  Twelve disciples, echoes the time when God called the twelve tribes of Israel, through whom He could fulfill his purposes for the world.
  • These twelve disciples would be the nucleus for what God was now going to do in the world.
  • Jesus gives them four promises and four warnings.  Similar to the lists of “blessings” and “curses” found in the book of Deuteronomy.  However, Jesus’ list is quite different.
  • Jesus was fulfilling his promises of bringing good new to all people.  Blessings to the poor, the hungry, the sad, the hated.  It was now time for God’s justice, for God’s kingdom to rule.
  • This, of course, upset quite a few people.  Especially those who who were being warned.  Those people liked things the way they were.  Jesus likened himself to the prophets of old and knew that people would respond to him the same way they did to the prophets.
  • A quote from N. T. Wright, “But as Christians we believe that what Jesus began with the call of the twelve and the sharp-edged teachings of blessings and curses remains in force today.  This is the shape of the Kingdom: the Kingdom which still turns the world upside down, or perhaps right way up, as much as it ever did.”

Luke 6:1-11 Teachings on the Sabbath

February 14, 2009

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

6:1 On a Sabbath, [1] while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

A Man with a Withered Hand

On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand,“Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

  • Who did Jesus think he was?  He wasn’t a priest, he wasn’t a pharisee.
  • Jesus compares his situation to that of David’s.  Didn’t David and his followers eat the “bread of the presence”?  Why was that OK?  Because David was the rightful King of Israel.  He had been anointed by Samuel; but Saul was still on the throne.
  • Similarly, Jesus was also the rightful King of Israel.  And he was waiting for time of his kingship to come.
  • Jesus was the coming king who had the right to suspend even the sacred sabbath law when necessary.
  • The importance of the sabbath to the Jews of Jesus’ day can not be overstated.  This was one of their chief badges of their identity, showing that they were God’s special people.
  • The story of the man with the withered hand drives home the point Jesus had just made.  What really matters is that we honor God with what we do.  Jesus doesn’t even touch the man.  Surely he did not break sabbath law.  However, he acted with the authority of one who was above the Law and this upset the scribes and the pharisees.
  • Jesus is shaping his followers.  He is preparing them for God’s new age.  They would no longer be bound by the sabbath law.  Th sabbath law was a part of the old age which was coming to an end.

Luke 5:27-39 Questions About Table-Company and Fasting

February 13, 2009

Jesus Calls Levi

27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.

29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

A Question About Fasting

33 And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” 34 And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” 36 He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’” [1]

  • Jesus is ushering in God’s new world and the old ways just don’t fit in.
  • Jesus calls Levi.  A tax collector.  It was not a good thing to be a tax collector in the first century, especially a Jewish tax collector.  Since they worked for either Herod or the Romans (Gentiles) they were looked upon as traitors to their Nation.  Because of this they were shunned by most people.  This is why when they throw a party, the only guests are other tax collectors.  They tended to befriend each other.
  • Jesus again, like with the leper, is willing to reach out to those who are marginalized and cast aside.
  • Jesus’ mission statement: “I haven’t come to call the righteous; I’m calling sinners to repentance.”
  • This is part of God’s new world, forgiveness is here.  And because of that there was cause to celebrate.
  • There was no need to fast and mourn.  The new age of forgiveness, healing, justice, and liberation was here.  This is why Jesus compares the current situation to a wedding feast.  It was a celebration of life.
  • On to the wine skins.  You can’t take just a portion of Jesus’ teaching and fit it into your own world view.  One must take Jesus’ teaching all or nothing.
  • By trying to fit Jesus’ teaching into anything else (the Judaism of the Pharisees) you would only cause an explosion.  One that was already happening at this time.
  • Unfortunately, those who are stuck in the old ways will not accept the new.  A quote from N. T., “The real challenge of this passage is to see where in the world – and, of course, in the church too – people are living today as though the old age was still the norm, as though the new life of the gospel had never burst upon us.  The task then is to live out the new life, which was at the heart of Jesus’ teaching and work.”
  • I am amazed by how Jesus, once again, is not afraid to break down the barriers of society to associate with people who were outcasts.  No good person would hang out with tax collectors, would they?  Jesus did.
  • I am amazed by Levi’s response to leave everything and follow Jesus.  And after he did, to go and throw a party inviting all his tax collector friends so that they too could know Jesus.  Awesome!!!