Mar. 23, 2017

Redeemer - Bridegroom - Sabbath

Luke 5:29-6:11 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them. 30 The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

33 And they said to Him, “The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers, the disciples of the Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink.” 34 And Jesus said to them, “You cannot make the attendants of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? 35 But the days will come; and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.” 36 And He was also telling them a parable: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’”

6 Now it happened that He was passing through some grainfields on a Sabbath; and His disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating the grain. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why do you do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” And Jesus answering them said, “Have you not even 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 consecrated bread which is not lawful for any to eat except the priests alone, and gave it to his companions?” And He was saying to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him. But He knew what they were thinking, and He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And he got up and came forward. And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?” 10 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 themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.


In today’s text we see three of the many things that Jesus is to man. First and foremost to everyone He is Savior and Redeemer. When asked why Jesus associated and ate with tax collectors and sinners He said:    “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.”    Jesus, the master physician, knowing that many who were in need of redemption would not come to the church, made house calls. Jesus met them where and as they were. But it was not that He preferred the lifestyle of sinners over the lifestyle of the righteous. Jesus didn’t associate with tax collectors and sinners to participate in, or condone their lives of sin. He didn’t associate with them so that He could vicariously live a life of sin through them. Jesus came, He associated with them to call them to repentance from their lives of sin. Scripture testifies that many sinners became His disciples. The account in today’s text is preceded by this account:  After that He went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me.” And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him.     Many others including Zacchaeus, Mary Magdalene and the Samaritan woman at the well had their lives changed through an encounter with Christ the redeemer and His call to repentance.

Next we see Jesus refer to Himself as the bridegroom. Both individually as believers and collectively as the church, we are the bride of Christ. Having been called to repentance, redeemed from sin through the cross of Christ, we are to prepare ourselves for Him. Through the cross we are saved and redeemed. Our sins are forgiven. We are called though not to remain as we were. We are called to live a life of sanctification. Jesus says: "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24) That is not a call to die as He did on the cross. It is a call to live as He calls us to.  In Ephesians 5:25-27 this comparison of believers to a bride is illustrated saying:  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.     We, as believers are called not to remain as we were, but rather to be sanctified, to be cleansed, to be washed by the word, allowing it to change the way we think and act. We are to deny ourselves, the lust of the flesh, from which Jesus has redeemed us and called us. We are to become the glory of God, without spot or wrinkle, holy and righteous in and through Christ, that we might become one with Him.

Finally in today’s text Jesus says:  “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”   The laws and regulations of the Sabbath were to insure that the Israelites would take one day a week away from their labor to focus on and rest in God. For us, Jesus is really more than Lord of the Sabbath. He is our Lord and He Himself is our Sabbath rest. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says:   “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”    In John 14:27, He says:  “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”      The peace of Christ, His Sabbath rest for us is not a peace and rest as the world knows it. It is not a rest of slumber or relaxation, though we do need those. It is not a peace that comes through prioritizing, pampering and taking care of self. The rest we have in Christ is a rest that comes when we are yoked, joined to Him. He Himself is our Sabbath. When we daily choose to walk with Him; to work with Him, we find rest even as we work. We find peace, even in the midst of the turmoil and chaos of the world. The psalmist knew well and understood the peace and rest of the Lord. He says:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.   Amen.   Thank You Jesus, my Redeemer, my Sabbath and the one for whom I am being prepared.   Amen.