Upset About Rest

 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?”    After looking around at them all, He said to him, “Stretch out your hand!” And he did so; and his hand was restored.    But they themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus. (Luke 6:6-11 NASB)

This account closely follows another which takes place in fields where Jesus’ disciples are picking, rubbing and eating heads of the grain as they go.  There Jesus says that the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.  It’s a cryptic statement in which Jesus asserts His deity, but does so within the context of the Sabbath.  But this account is very different.

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Who’s More Important?

And 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.” (Luke 5:31,32 NASB)

One of most difficult things for me is to go to the doctor.  I hate it.  Not because they make me uncomfortable, but because most of the time, in our discussion, there’s nothing really that can be done for my cold, flu or whatever, and we agree that I just need to tough out the cold, the flu, or whatever.  But what happens when something really is wrong?  Having that resistance to going to the doctor isn’t helpful, only I don’t know it at the time.

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Old and New, Good and Bad

“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.  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.  But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.  And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.'” (Luke 5:36-39 NASB)

Luke’s version of this parable is different than either Matthew or Mark. Those two match almost word-for-word. That Luke does not might mean he made an editorial choice to bring out a particular meaning. If that’s the case, then this meaning would be kind of important. The basic differences are 1) the reason for not using a new patch on old cloth is that they don’t match, and 2) the additional phrase of preference of old wine over new. Together these two differences may help us understand how Luke (and perhaps Paul) understood this parable.

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Growing Upward

“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.  The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?”  And 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. ” (Luke 5:29-32 NASB)

This is one of my favorite accounts of Jesus. I love the whole scene as Levi responds in joy over his new life, Jesus enters into that joy with him, the Pharisees are offended, and Jesus calls them on it. But as I read more closely, it now seems to me Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees is that they should have been doing this all along.  But I find plenty of growth areas for me as well.

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Calling The Traitors and Thieves!

 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. (Luke 5:27,28 NASB)

In my field of employment all my customers are tax and accounting professionals.  These people come from all walks of life, have different personalities (seriously, they do), and go through more moods than a teenager.  One thing we all agree on though, is that we dislike the IRS, agents, auditors, customer service, and website.  We hate all of it, lock, stock, and barrel.  It seems to be historically ingrained in people from every culture and time, we reserve our highest form of dislike for the revenue agent.  Except for Jesus.

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