Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20090121.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Luke: Jesus, The Son Of Man For All Mankind
Part XVI: Christ's Identity As The World's Savior Seen In His Liberty From Local Legalism
Lesson: Jesus is the WORLD'S Savior as seen in His universal view of righteousness that contrasted with the LOCAL, LIMITING Jewish view: (a) though He generally did not fellowship with apostates like other Jews, Jesus would minister to them if they were open to His Word. (b) Christ did not often fast like pious Jews to show the blessings of His kingdom; yet, He did not force pious Jews set in their ways of fasting often to cease this lest doing so harm their consciences, 1 Cor. 10:27-29; Acts 15:19-21!
- If Jesus is God's Savior of the world, not only of the Hebrew people, we should expect His view of sin and righteousness to be much broader than what the local Hebrew culture in Israel of His day would allow.
- To this end, Luke reported how Christ revealed His universal sense of righteousness and sin (as follows):
- Christ's Identity As The World's Savior Seen In His Liberty From Local Legalism, Luke 5:27-39.
- Jesus violated the devout Hebrew practice of not eating with godless publicans and sinners when these spiritually destitute people were seeking the spiritual fulfillment He had to offer, Luke 5:27-32:
- The Lord's call of Levi, a publican at the "receipt of custom" (KJV) was met by Levi's immediate, complete departure from his occupation as a tax collector to follow Jesus Christ, Luke 5:27-28 NIV.
- Levi then held a great feast in his home, inviting a large group of former publican colleagues and other sinners to dine with Jesus in an effort to have them discipled by Christ, Luke 5:29.
- Now, this meeting between Jesus and these sinful folk was a violation of conservative Jewish practice:
- The "publicans" (KJV) were tax collectors that fellow Jews viewed to be traitors since they took their money and gave it to Gentiles so they did not have to work, and for their use of Roman power to charge more than what was owed for selfish gain, Luke 3:12-13; Bib. Know. Com., N. T., p. 217.
- Accordingly, these "publicans" were "alienated" from "the religious community" of that day, Ibid.
- When Jesus and His disciples then attended Levi's feast, and eating with such tax collectors indicated fellowship with them (Ibid., p. 218; 1 Cor. 5:11), the Jews complained about it to His disciples, 5:30.
- Christ replied that such sinners needed His help, so if they were open to His Word, He would eat with them to disciple them, Luke 5:31-32. [Jesus did not promote fellowship with apostates (cf. 2 John 9-11), but outreach to those in darkness who were open to God's light!]
- Jesus countered the local Hebrew practice of even devout Jews on fasting, for He came to offer the kingdom, but He did so respecting the human limitations of devout Jews to abandon their many fasts:
- A second question issued by Israel's religious leaders asked why the disciples of John the Baptizer and the Pharisees would often fast, but Jesus' disciples would not, Luke 5:33.
- To appreciate the force of this question, we view the Jewish cultural background involved (as follows):
- Under the Law, Scripture required the Jews to fast only on the Day of Atonement, but they eventually added two more fasts for the day before Purim (recalling Esther's deliverance) and for the ninth of Ab (recalling the fall of Jerusalem), Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978 ed., ftn. to Mtt. 9:14).
- However, in addition to these three public fasts, the Pharisees fasted twice a week in a show of piety, and John the Baptizer fasted more than the public three fasts per year out of true piety, Ibid.
- Thus, Jesus explained that His Kingdom of blessing did not fit the practice of many fastings over the lack of blessing, so His disciples were free of such numerous extra-biblical fasts, Luke 5:33-34.
- Nevertheless, when He, Israel's "Bridegroom" as the Messiah, would be forcibly taken from His disciples in death, Jesus predicted that they would fast out of grief over their loss, Luke 5:35.
- However, regarding the godly John's fasts, Jesus used 3 illustrations (a new patch on an old garment; new wine in old wineskins; not giving new wine to those with the old) to show that He recognized the inability of pious Jews under the Law to adapt to His liberated practice of not fasting, Lk. 5:33, 36-39.
Application: May we believe in Christ as the WORLD'S Savior, and follow His example in living in His righteousness that equally reflects God's LOVE as well as His PURITY!