“The Trouble With Legalism”
In our text today, Jesus encounters a group that have not decided if He can be trusted.
Luke 5:27-39 Objections to disciples.
Legalism starts with an assumption of standards, the moral high ground if you will. And in our text today we see the Pharisee’s attempting to invoke their moral standards on the One who is the moral standard. So Levi, whom we know as the disciple Matthew, is treated just like the fishermen. Jesus sees him and calls out, “Follow Me.” ______________________________
Levi wasn’t pressed with any additional requirements. Verse 28 relates, “So he left all, rose up, and followed Him.” __________________________________________________________
Verse 29 exhibits gratitude and service, joined together. ____________________________ Herbert Lockyer comments that Matthews dinner party had 3 purposes:
A jubilee feast – Matthew was commemorating his entry into a new life.
A farewell dinner – showing his determination to follow his new found King.
It was an evangelistic outreach – to introduce his old community to his new Lord.
Verse 30 – “And their scribes and Pharisees complained against His disciples”. ________
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” The 1st category, tax collectors, displays the prejudice that is held by this group. Once a traitor always a traitor. Sounds like they don’t believe in redemption. This attitude still exists today in some. The second category, sinners, displays their elitist attitude. ‘I may be bad but I’m not that bad.’ I’m sure we are familiar with that justification.
Jesus answer in verse 21 reinforces that His ministry is targeting those who know they have need of God and He will use those who are less than perfect as His ministers. ___________ __________________________________________________________________________ Jeremiah 8:22 the prophet lamented, “Is there no balm in Gilead, Is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery for the health of the daughter of my people.” Jesus is making it clear and Matthew will record the words, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6
At this, the critics shift their focus to John’s disciples. ______________________________ The IVP commentary gives marvelous insight into this interaction: “Specifically, they ask him about fasting and prayer. The ancient practice of fasting had a rich heritage in Judaism. It was a highly regarded act of worship. The Day of Atonement was celebrated with a fast. A four-day fast commemorated the fall of Jerusalem. Fasts could be acts of penitence or could be associated with mourning. Pharisees fasted twice a week, on Monday and Thursday. Fasts are serious expressions of worship.”
Jesus answer makes so much sense – “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them?” _______________________________________________
He gives them a parable with two examples:
New cloth mending old cloth – it won’t work. It is a mismatch and the new cloth would eventually tear the old. ______________________________________________________
New wine in an old wineskin – It will waste the wine because the old wineskin can’t expand to take in the new life of the wine. ______________________________________________
Jesus Answer – verse 39 ___________________________________________________________
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