Luke 5:33-39: The New Has Come

Read: Luke 5:33-39

Jesus was the king of parables, which he used very often to communicate truths about who he was, his mission, and things about God. Here in this text, Jesus tells a number of parables pertaining to himself. Jesus was reveling with his disciples and the Pharisees asked him why his disciples did not fast as John the Baptist’s disciples did. Jesus and the disciples were not breaking any part of the law. The fast of John his disciples was entire voluntary. The Pharisees though were not ones to be out done by another in terms of piety, and any one who they saw as less pious than themselves – especially one that was seen righteous such as Jesus or John. Jesus, howe, tells a parable about a wedding feast and a bridegroom, and saying that people don’t fast when they are at a wedding feast. Jesus describes himself as the bridegroom, saying that while he was with his disciples, they would feast and that a time for fasting was coming. This was partially prophetic, knowing that that one day Jesus would be taken away from them and during that time they would fast.

Jesus though does not leave it there. He adds another parable describing how old things and new things do not mix. An new patch cannot be sown on old clothes because the new patch will shrink making the tear worse. New wine cannot be put into old wineskin because wine causes wineskins to expand and stretch as it releases gas. New wine would cause old wineskin to burst. Lastly, no one drinks new wine when they desire old wine, because it is perceived to be better. What exactly Jesus is trying to say here is a bit of a mystery, but most commentators and scholars believe the Jesus is talking about his new ways versus the old ways of the Pharisees. When Jesus came on the scene though, he did not preach a message that compelled people to layer on more religion than they already had, rather he came preaching a message of repentance, wanting people to change their hearts.

Jesus will later speak to a “New Covenant” in Luke 22:20 when he is observing the first Lord’s Supper. He calls the wine the cup of the New Covenant. Hebrews 8 speak to the New Covenant which actually quotes from Jeremiah 31:31-34. Hebrews shows that everything according to the law was a “copy or shadow” of the things in heaven and that when Jesus came, these were superseded by something better – namely Jesus himself, who is the priest, king, sacrifice, and the object of worship all rolled into one. The need for more religion, priests, sacrifices, temples, and objects of worship were no longer necessary under the New Covenant.

For those that come to Jesus today, there is no need for more religion. What the New Testament calls “true religion” has nothing to do with rites and rituals, rather taking care of orphans and widows (James 1:27). Jesus would rather one shed religion and perform acts of love and charity to demonstrate one’s piety than build temples, perform sacrifices, and other such things.

Lord, The new has come! Help me live according to it!

Hebrews 10:11-25: Being Confident Together

Read: Hebrews 10:11-25

The author of Hebrews argued the supremacy of Christ in the opening chapters of the book and spends the middle of the book arguing for the sufficiency of Christ. In these eight verses, the author of Hebrews connects the two by quoting from Psalm 110 which he quoted from to show the supremacy of Christ (Hebrews 1:13) and from the verses he quoted from talking about the coming New Covenant from Jeremiah 31:33-34 (Hebrews 8:8-12). Jesus’ offering was himself and was once and for all. After having offered himself, he made provision for sin, so animal sacrifices are no longer necessary. Now, he is waiting for his second coming when his enemies will become a footstool and when the word of God is so prevalent, there will be no need to declare “know the Lord”.

In the interim between the sacrifice and return, the author of Hebrews talks about what Christians should do:

  • Verses 19-23: The author of Hebrews notes the confidence by which believers can draw near to God in confidence. This confidence is brought on the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ, and there is no second guessing. The certainty of the promise is insured by a God who cannot lie (Hebrews 6:9-16).
  • Verse 24: Believers should encourage one another onto to love and good works, rather than worrying rote religion. (Hebrews 10:1-10)
  • Verse 25: Believers should assemble together. This is almost a prerequisite to what was said in verse 24, and the author says to do it all the more as the final days approach. The book of Hebrews was probably written to a group of persecuted Jews (Hebrews 10:32-33), and some of them had deserted. In any case, the author realized that their confidence was greater as a group than the sum of their confidence as individuals, and they would need this confidence.

Jesus’ work is done. In the meantime, Christians are waiting for his return. All the while, they are drawing confidence from the surety of the promises of God through Jesus. The confidence can be solidified and encouraged by other believers too. For this reason every Christians should be a part of a local church so they can encourage and be encouraged by other Christians. It is evident this chapter that the recipients of the letter were doing good together as the first church in Acts 2:42-47 was doing.

Lord, I’m waiting for your return. In the meantime, help me and my church be confident and do good!

Hebrews 9:16-22: The Shedding of Blood

Read: Hebrews 9:16-22

Shedding blood seems like a grotesque and gruesome act. And rightfully so, as the use of blood was used to show the weightiness of whatever it was being applied to, and in this case it was the initiation of covenants. The author of Hebrews quotes from Exodus 24:9, reminding his readers to that the Law of Moses and the Old Covenant was inaugurated by blood. He then goes to argue that the New Covenant, which he spoke if in Hebrews 8 was inaugurated by blood also, namely the blood of Jesus himself.

During Jesus’ last meal with the disciples before he went to the cross, Jesus used common elements during his day – bread and wine – to symbolize his broken body and own blood that inaugurated the New Covenant (Matthew 26:26-28). The early Christians used these symbols and partook of them often to remind themselves of this fact. Paul explains that these elements were not to be taken lightly, because these elements represent the body and blood of Christ that was poured out for the forgiveness of sin (1 Corinthians 11:23-29). Every time Christians take communion, they should examine themselves and think about the price Jesus paid to inaugurate the New Covenant. Forgiveness of sin wasn’t cheap – it wasn’t cheap under the Old Covenant, nor is it cheap in the New Covenant. As Jesus stated and the author of Hebrews stated, his blood was for the forgiveness of sin which is not a light issue.

Lord, you made my forgiveness possible by shedding your blood!

Help me to not make light of it!