This week we continue on our "new year" theme. New life not only requires death, resurrection and the realization that you have the freedom to live a new life. New life also requires new ways of doing things. If you want to have a new life this year, you need to have a new perspective, new behavior and embrace a new way of relating with God. The passage for today comes from Luke 5:33-39. This is in the beginning of Jesus' ministry. He has just called His first disciples, not from the religious elite, but a group of uneducated fisherman! Jesus continues to do surprising things like claiming the authority to forgives sins, healing and eating with tax collectors and sinners. The religious leaders are confused. Who is this man?
Jesus gives them three examples to illustrate that with the coming of the Messiah, there will be a new perspective, new behavior and a new way of relating with God.
1) a new perspective: In Luke 5:22 the Pharisees confront Jesus and they are critical of His behavior and His disciples' behavior. The Pharisees had a practice of fasting twice a week to show their piety. Fasting in general is a mourning tradition. But Jesus compares His coming to a wedding feast!
Jesus shows the Pharisees that with His coming there is a new perspective. It is not the time to fast, but to celebrate!
How do you view your Christian life? Is all about rules and do's and don'ts? Or is your faith a celebration of the grace and forgiveness in Christ?
2) a new way of behaving: In Luke 5:36 Jesus gives the example of old and new clothing. One does not ruin a new garment to patch an old one. You can't combine the two. Jesus Christ didn't come to fix us, He came to save us and give us a new life not a better one.
Colossians 3:5-13 probably says it best. We are to put to death and to take off the old self and put on the new self!
3) a new way of relating with God: In Luke 5:37, Jesus gives the example of wineskins and new wine. When wine is poured into a wineskin, the fermentation of the wine causes the skin to expand. Once it has been expanded, if you pour more new wine into it, it will burst.
Jesus' point is that the old covenant is like an old wineskin. The new covenant is like new wine. You can't combine the new covenant and the old covenant. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that the old has gone, the new has come.
The old covenant was the agreement that the people of Israel had with God that they would obey His commands in the Law. But as we know from biblical history, they were not able to be faithful to that covenant. So God in Jeremiah 31:31-34 foretold a new covenant would come. This new covenant would not be based on the human ability to obey God's law, but on believing in Jesus Christ's life, death and resurrection.
Will you embrace a new life this year? Can you embrace a new perspective on your faith, what behaviors will you change? Will you embrace the new covenant of grace and faith in Christ?