Tag: sick need doctors

The old seems better!

Scripture reading for March 23rd: Luke 5:29-6:11

Jesus was eating at the house of Levi (Matthew) with a large group of tax collectors and people considered by the religious establishment to be ‘sinners’.  These Pharisees complained to Jesus’ disciples about their Master’s conduct.  Jesus heard them and answered, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous , but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31)  Jesus made it plain that He was eating at this banquet with a purpose in mind.  The Pharisees judged Him as doing something that would make Himself unclean.  They were always concerned with the externals and not with the true mission of God.

Jesus spoke a parable to help them understand and have a change of heart.  “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.  And no one pours new wine into old wine skins.  If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wine skins will be ruined.  No, new wine must be poured into new wine skins.  And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, “the old is better.” (Luke 5:36-39)

This parable speaks of the need to change our way of thinking.  When we use Old Testament laws to define righteousness, it will not work!  We cannot keep the law anyway.  The new way of faith and grace is like having a new wine skin.  The new wine of the Holy Spirit needs a new wine skin to allow it to bring necessary changes without damaging the vessel.  Trying to put the Holy Spirit into the old legalism of the law will cause the skins to burst and be ruined!

The most interesting statement is the last verse–those drinking the old wine will not like the new.  They will feel that the old is better.  Change is difficult for human beings.  We resist change and find it hard to adapt to new revelations.  Following the Holy Spirit takes faith and requires constant attention to His leading.  It is easier to put God in a box of rules.  Are you resisting change from the Holy Spirit today?  Pray for a flexible new wine skin!

Tags : , , , , ,

Does God love the IRS?

Scripture reading for January 10th: Matthew 9:1-17, Psalm 7:10-17, Proverbs 2:16-19

Have you ever been audited by the IRS?  Did your IRS agent invite you over to his or her house?    Jesus came by Matthew’s tax collection booth and called him to follow.  Matthew responded by leaving and following Him.   He invited Jesus to come over to his house and Jesus came and ate and laughed with Matthew’s “sinner” friends, causing quite a stir among the religious community!

“When the Pharisees saw this, they asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  On hearing this Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:11-13)   Jesus loved all men, but He could only bring health to those who realized that they were sick.  Those who could not admit that they needed a doctor would not find healing.  Likewise, those who could not confess sin would not find repentance.

This is the danger of religion.  Religion reduces our righteousness or spiritual health to some man-made rules that we try to keep.  We are told that if we just do this or confess to that, all will be well with our soul.  The Pharisees of Jesus’ day meticulously tried to keep God’s law and judged those who did not do all that they had commanded.  Their pride in their religious good works blinded them to their need to confess and repent from their own sins.  (1st John 1:9)

Our Father sent Jesus to walk and live among His people, demonstrating His love and desire that all would repent and be made righteous.  Our righteousness is a gift of God by grace through faith in Jesus, not the result of our keeping His laws or man’s religious rules.   (Ephesians 2:8-10)  Jesus loves all sinners, even tax collectors like Matthew!  Responding to Jesus by repentance and faith leads to following Jesus and eternal life!  Praise the Lord for His mercy!   Thank God Jesus loved sinners enough to call them to follow Him and them eat and laugh with them!   May we show Christ’s love to the  lost and hurting people we come in contact with each day!

Tags : , , , ,