JESUS CALLS LEVI & CONFRONTS LEGALISM, PART 3: FROM THE FADING OLD TO THE FOREVER NEW (LUKE 5:33-39)
The old time religion of the Pharisees was good enough for them. Their ways and rituals were such a good way of life to them, that they were not ready to even consider a new way of life. In confronting them, Jesus sets up a convicting contrast between the old and the new. With vivid illustrations, Jesus leads us to the critical difference between hanging onto the old that satisfies for now and having the new that saves forever. We look at their encounter under two headings: fast or feast, and from the fading old to the forever new.
As we go through this passage, we need to be prepared for a fresh dose of humility. Jesus challenges our social and spiritual sensibilities and boundaries. He challenges how we see ourselves and others in light of His call of us all to Himself. We are going through this passage under three points: the questionable crowd of Levi, the judgmental criticism of the Pharisees and scribes, and the merciful call of Jesus. We will look at the details of the story and then at what we are to take away from the story.
In the next few messages, we will look at Jesus' calling of Levi and confrontation of legalism. As we begin, please think carefully and honestly about what right Jesus has to your life - to you. What demands does Jesus have the right to make of you? What right does Jesus have to interrupt and re-direct your life? The way Jesus called Levi and the way Levi responded have direct bearing on the way Jesus calls us and the way we respond. We look at this under two points: Jesus' authoritative call and Levi's immediate response.
Merriam Webster's Dictionary defines being helpless as "marked by an inability to act or react" - in other words, absolutely unable to act or react for one's own benefit. Jesus healing the helpless paralytic is one of His most famous miracles. The heartwarming story has familiar elements: skepticism, friendship, faith, forgiveness, supernatural power, joy, and awe of God. However, within all of those elements, there is a high point of the miracle, and Jesus stated clearly what it is. What He said has direct and powerful bearing on our salvation - on our relationship with God - on what Jesus can and does do for sinners like us, in making us right with God, in our helplessness to do it for ourselves.
Jesus ministered in His sincere love for God and people, from His Divine and human heart. In studying the humanity of Jesus, we are studying humanity as it should be. Luke brings this into sharp focus for us. As we follow Jesus through these verses, seeing how His heart was turned to even one of the most destitute, despised people, and turned to God above all, let's think carefully about how our hearts should be turned in following Him through God's will for us.
Jesus fished like no other. But Jesus' fishing was about a lot more than fish. Jesus wanted these men to catch a lot more than a lot of fish, as He was there to catch a lot more than a lot of fish. So, as we step through this story, we need to catch more than a story about a miraculous catch of a lot of fish. We need to let down our nets into the deep waters of the intersection of our common condition and Jesus' holiness and call.
We have more to learn about Jesus as we follow Him through the rest of this day, into the next, at Capernaum. We will go from looking at more on His power to how His power relates to His higher purpose. We will go from looking at His power over diseases and demons to His higher purpose of preaching God's dominion. As we go with Jesus through this, hold out to Him what you want Him to do in your life in His power, and think carefully about how that relates to what He wants to do in your life in His purpose.
JESUS SHOWS HIS AUTHORITY & POWER IN CAPERNAUM, PART 1: HIS AUTHORITY & POWER IN HIS WORD (LUKE 4:31-37)
We will see Jesus do some incredible things in Capernaum. As we begin our look at Jesus' time in Capernaum, we are going to look at Luke's emphasis on His authority and power in His Word, in direction and over demons. In this moment in the Capernaum synagogue, Jesus showed His authority and power to tell people and demons what to do. He left no doubt as to Who is really in charge.
How did Jesus' fellow Nazarenes respond to His assertion that He was the Anointed One among them? What we see is disturbing. It's ugly. It should turn our stomachs at seeing the depravity the human heart is capable of. Additionally, we should hear a warning from Jesus about coming to Him with any assumptions and sense of entitlement. But embedded in the warning is a word of joy.
What Jesus had to say to His fellow Nazarenes, they were not expecting. Joining them in their small synagogue, He made no small statement about Who He is and why He was sent into the world. As you listen, understand that Jesus is no less present with us now, than He was with them then. And understand that His message is no less meaningful for us now, than it was for them then.
Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”