Jul7TueJuly 7, 2020
Good morning Church,
Have you ever had someone breathing down your neck; watching your every move; telling you how to do things the "right way" and drilling you with questions about your choices? Imagine a group of religious leaders, with a set of rules for everything, judging your every move. That's what it was like for Jesus living His life in front of a mob of critics. He just wanted to heal people, set people free, and point them in the right direction. He wanted to deliver people from religious bondage, yet, it seems there was always someone to challenge His words and actions. These religious freaks continued to harass Jesus, to the point where anger rose up, and He let them have it (See Luke 11:37-54; Luke 19:45-48). We don't see Jesus get angry very often, but religious legalism seems to really aggravate Him. Actually, it should bother all of us! Legalism is basically, elevating law above grace, and demanding people obey a set of non-biblical rules. The Pharisees, scribes, and "lawyers" tried to impose and enforce a set of rules on people, according to their own understanding of God's word - like what you can and can't do on the Sabbath. Jesus was totally in agreement with the law of God, and commanded His disciples to obey all of it. What irked Him was re-interpreting the law, into a set of personal rules and moral legal code to impose on others. It was also a problem that would follow the disciples, even after Jesus was gone. The Apostle Paul was furious with the religious zealots who persecuted him and the disciples with rules and expectations. This is evident in the letter to the Galatians, who were falling victim to legalism. He writes, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." (Gal. 5:1) The new covenant in Christ is one of Spirit not of Law. Paul writes, " But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law" (Gal. 5:18) Holy Spirit will help you obey the law. You are not "under" the law, but rather, under control of Holy Spirit.
Coming back to Jesus, we see in this week's reading (Luke 5:33 - Luke 6:11) a teaching that will get the Pharisees off your back: God has done a new thing! There is new wine, that cannot be contained in an old wineskin. In other words, The outpouring of Holy Spirit (the new covenant/new wine) cannot be contained in an old set of rules and regulations -old wine skin (Gal. 5:18). You can't take a new piece and add it to the old, it will be ruined. See, you can't take the new God is offering and mix it with the old - they just don't mix! They are completely different! NEW WINE NEEDS A NEW WINESKIN! You can't add the new (patch) to the old (garment), it will be torn and useless. You have to make a clean break and start new. We have tried for hundreds of years to fit a new Gospel in an old style tradition - "sit down, stand up, kneel, pray, respond, sing, sit down" versus "the kingdom is here: go heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, declare the good news, etc.". There is always a tearing and bursting! We need to break free! Why would anyone want to hang on to the old in the first place. If you don't submit to Holy Spirit as Lord, you will become lord, and impose a set of rules on yourself, or you will allow others to make rules for you. I believe this is evident in Luke 6:1-11. Imagine telling the Lord of the Sabbath what He can and cannot do on the Sabbath! The same is true when we try to obey a set of religious rules, instead of obeying Holy Spirit on the inside of us. The NEW covenant is exactly that - Holy Spirit on the inside of us (Hebrews 8:8-10).
If you are stuck in the old, it's time to burst your wine skin, and let the new wine flow! If you've sowed a little bit of the new cloth on an old garment, throw it out and put on the brand new garment! Be Free - where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom! If you got someone harassing you with a set of non-biblical rules, watching your every move, it is time to tell that person (or demon) to "Get Off My Back!".
Live free, the way you were re-created to be.
Read Luke 5:33-6:11 - Parallel passages: (Mark 2:18-Mark 3:6) (Matthew 9:14-17; Matt 12:1-14)
Have a great week!