|Praise the Lord for His wonderful works to
men! Father we are so grateful to have this venue to serve and honor you. Thank you for
James and suebq and all the monitors who work so hard to make this happen...
Father God we praise and exalt your name tonight. We bless and adore you. Jesus, we thank you so very much for your sacrificial love for us. Spirit thanks for being our teacher and guide.
satan we come against you in the blessed Name of Jesus. We bind you and rebuke you and cast you out of this room in Jesus Name! We declare null and void your plans to disrupt the service, before, during and after. We plead the blood of Jesus over this room, the participants, the machines, lines, cabling, etc! In Jesus Name!
Father open our hearts and minds to receive your Word. Teach us how to live pleasing to you . AMEN and AMEN
Last time we talked about Jesus cleansing the man with leprosy and healing the paralytic. Tonight we continue the study of Luke at 5:27 with the calling of Levi (Matthew).
Luke 5:27-28 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. "Follow me," Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
After Jesus had called the first disciples, cleansed the man with leprosy, and forgiven and healed a paralytic, Jesus went out of the house where the paralytic had been lowered from the roof. He "saw" a tax collector named Levi, or Matthew. Levi is Matthew's other name. Levi was one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Many believe Jesus changed his name to Matthew, which means, "gift of God". Jesus didn't see the tax collector as the ordinary person saw him - despised, feared and hated.
He saw the potential there to be not only a disciple, but also an apostle and a martyr. Aren't you glad that Jesus doesn't see us the way others do? Or the way we sometimes see ourselves? He loves us as we are, but SEES what we are to become in Him!
IRS agents are feared and hated today, but at least we have laws that limit the amount of taxes collected. In Roman times taxes were collected by private tax collectors that paid a fee for their right to assess these amounts. They made their profits by charging a higher toll than the law required. Publicans were minor officials who were hired by the tax collectors to do the actual work of collecting the taxes. They made THEIR wages by charging more than the tax collectors required. Roman law did not limit the amount they could OVERcharge; so most publicans overtaxed the people to a painful degree.
Levi, or Matthew, was a publican that collected tolls on the road between Damascus and Accho. This was the busiest road in Palestine, and must have netted him great wealth. His booth was located just outside the city of Capernaum, and he may have also collected taxes from the fisherman. Ordinarily a publican charged 5% tax on normal items and 12.5% on luxury items. So basically Levi was a tax collector with a tollbooth on the busiest road in the area. So he got them "coming and going" so to speak.
The Jews considered a tax collector's money to be "unclean" or "dirty money" we might say today, and would not receive change from him. Publicans were not allowed to testify in court and could not even tithe their money to the temple. A good Jew would not even associate with publicans in private life. So Levi (Matthew) was despised as a traitor to his own people because he earned his living by cheating God's people, and not only cheating, but cheating with the governments permission, like a thief.
Actually Sherry it was legal, but yes he repented and followed Jesus! Because of his profession, it is almost certain that Levi knew how to read and write, and we have a gospel that bears his name. Levi may have been the brother of the disciple James, because they are both called a "son of Alphaeus". At any rate, Levi was a very unlikely candidate for a disciple. We don't know why Jesus chose him or what Levi's thinking processes were at this time. Jesus came by his booth where he was collecting taxes and simply said, "Follow me" and Levi left his booth and business and did so.
Matthew must have been the richest of the disciples and there is a quiet heroism in his giving up his livelihood to follow Jesus. Simon and the others could go back to being fishermen quite easily if they had to, but when Levi abandoned his tax office, he must have known that he would never be hired back. His following of Jesus was a final and irreversible decision.
It would be like leaving a $100,000 "prop your feet on the desk and give orders job" today. You've got the future planned out, a nice bank account and you up and leave it all.
But was Levi sad or worried? Nope he gave a party!Luke 5:29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.
Levi must have been wealthier than most because he owned his own house. He gave a great party for Jesus, and invited his tax collector buddies to eat with them. Matthew wanted His Lord to be THEIR Lord as well. And when Levi began to follow Jesus, he didn't do it in secret.
They were having a swell time, BUT...Luke 5:30But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and `sinners'?"
Talk about your "party poopers"! "Wet blankets" and all that! LOL Well the Pharisees got wind of this party, and got all bent out of shape. They complained to Jesus' disciples about their Master eating with tax collectors and sinners. A "good" Jew wouldn't do such a thing! It's likely that these grumblers were outside the party, looking in, and Jesus disciples must have conveyed the message to Jesus. Is it ever OK to grumble?
James 5:9 Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
I Peter 4:9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
What is grumbling a sign of????
All good answers - basically a lack of faith in God and an unwillingness to obey Him fully and from the heart.
Philippians 2:14-15 Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
Do you want to be blameless and pure? Shine like stars in the universe? Hold out or live up to the Word of Life? Watch the attitude!!!
Right rabbit! The Pharisees had good motivation initially - they wanted to please God. But they weren't willing to give up their preconceived ideas of righteousness - and "got an attitude" when they were called up short for it.
Something else for all of us to think about - but don't answer here. How well do YOU take correction? When the Lord allows someone to bring up some shortcoming in your life, and we ALL have them, how do you react???
It ain't easy! I'll tell you. But if you will submit to God's will, He WILL bless you. Right Jolly, and it's something we all have to work on. The Pharisees failed miserably at attitude... So how did Jesus answer their grumbling and complaining?
Luke 5:31-32 Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Jesus got right to the heart of His ministry. He didn't come to heal the healthy - they don't need a doctor. He didn't come to save the righteous - they don't need a savior. He came to the sick and the sinner. And the only way to reach them is to associate with them. How about the church today? Seems like we, for the most part, "go out of our way" to avoid the very ones who need it the most. Are we just a "Bless ME Club", or are we here about our Master's business?
Now the Pharisees were SELF-righteous and didn't think they needed Jesus. A sinner has to admit he has a problem before it can be solved. Jesus here isn't saying that the Pharisees by contrast WERE righteous, just that they didn't recognize their need of salvation.
The publicans or tax collectors on the other hand were very aware of their status in the community. Their problem wasn't consciousness of sin, but the love of money that led them to a price-gouging profession that separated them from fellowship with the other Jews.
There are two extremes represented here: the SELF righteous, who don't think THEY need Jesus, and the sinner, who doesn't know that Jesus loves them and wants to save them. The Pharisees really didn't get what Jesus meant - they thought he was only referring to the Publicans.
So the Pharisees "switched the topic".Luke 5:33 They said to him, "John's disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking."
You have to almost admire the Pharisees for their persistence! Well, OK, they thought, the publicans WERE sinners, so maybe Jesus should be there. But then they basically accused Jesus' disciples of being gluttons and drunkards.
Now understand, they didn't like John the Baptist any more than they liked Jesus. Remember what John called the Pharisees? Along with all the others - a brood of vipers, or bunch of poisonous snakes. They were just trying to find someway to trip Jesus up. IF you're so righteous, they may have said, why don't your disciples often fast and pray like John the Baptist's do?
Now the Jews were only commanded to fast ONE day a year - the Day of Atonement - it was to be a day of sorrow and mourning for their sins. The Pharisees were in the habit of fasting TWO days per WEEK and were really proud of themselves. DUH - if you're proud of fasting then you've missed the whole point. We are not told how often or why John the Baptist's disciples fasted, but John's preaching was a message of repentance and sorrow for sins that prepared the heart for the joy of Jesus coming.
Luke 5:34-35 Jesus answered, "Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast."
They had to do some mental calisthenics to keep up with Jesus train of thought! Here he was referring to the wedding customs of that day. When a man and woman became engaged, it was as binding as marriage. After the engagement, the man went to his father's house to prepare a home for his bride. When the FATHER said it was ready and suitable, then the man went to get his bride.
His friends waited for him at the father's house, and when he and the bride arrived, they had a big party. It was considered rude not to participate in the festivities. Here Jesus is saying that his being here is like a wedding feast, and it's time to party with him. His disciples are rejoicing in the coming of the Messiah.
After he has been "taken from them" - then it will be time to fast for fasting is a sign of sorrow and mourning. This was a prediction of Jesus' death, but of course no one really understood what he was talking about until later.
Luke 5:36 He told them this parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.
Then Jesus used a parable, an illustration from daily life with spiritual applications. If an old garment tears, it is patched with material from another old garment. No one takes a new garment and tears a piece off to patch an old one. Not only will the patch not work, but also you've destroyed a new garment. The Pharisees must have been scratching their heads and pulling their beards over the meaning of this one!
In Mark 5:21 it is amplified a little:No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. Here we see that a new piece of material that hasn't been shrunken yet, will shrink after the old garment is washed and will make the tear worse.
The Pharisees were trying to take the new cloth of Christianity and patch the old cloth of Judaism with it. In other words, trying to fit the gospel, which was new, into the Law, which was old. How does this apply today?
Right Jolly! and the Holy Spirit is always leading us and driving us out of OUR comfort zone into the zone of God's will! Many come to Jesus with preconceived ideas as to who He is, what Christianity is, what godliness is, what doctrine is - and if they try to patch Jesus onto what their preconceived ideas are, there are likely to be a lot of rips and tears. It's hard for messianic Jews - Jews that have received Jesus as Messiah, to understand this even today.
Luke 5:37-38 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.
Jesus gives another example. Grape juice was usually put into new goatskin bags to ferment. As the juice fermented, the bags would expand. However, if you put fresh grape juice into old, dry goatskin bags, then as it ferments the bags would burst. Jesus is saying that you can't pour the new wine of the Spirit into the old forms of the Law. It is something new that the old cannot contain.
One of the basic laws of biblical interpretation is that to understand a concept or doctrine, you must take into account ALL the passages that refer to it, not just the ones you're comfortable with or that fit your lifestyle! We must be very careful not to base our Christian life on a handful of favorite verses and ignore the rest. We must strive to understand them all - even the so-called "hard sayings".
Luke 5:39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, `The old is better.'"
But Jesus, knowing the heart of man, realized that the Pharisees were so fixated on the old forms, that they wouldn't even want to try the new. As someone who develops a love for aged wines will not be happy with grape juice. And how does this apply today?
Right! In the Church today, whether Protestant, catholic or orthodox, we have developed many traditions over the centuries that we have become used to and really like. When the Holy Spirit tries to do something new, there is a lot of resistance to change. Now I'm not talking about going against something in the Word of God. That doesn't change and we are always subject to the Scripture.
But new forms of worship, new ideas, overturning old concepts and traditions that have somehow attached themselves to the Gospel that weren't originally part of it - these are walls, strongholds and obstacles that the Holy Spirit is trying to move out of the way so that He can move in us and through us to a lost and dying world.
Luke 6:1 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels.
The disciples were NOT stealing. It was legal to take just enough out of a field for a meal when necessary, but you couldn't use a sickle to harvest it.Deuteronomy 23:25 If you enter your neighbor's grainfield, you may pick kernels with your hands, but you must not put a sickle to his standing grain. So this wasn't what the Pharisees got all bent out of shape about.
Luke 6:2 Some of the Pharisees asked, "Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?" Why did they consider what Jesus and his disciples were doing as unlawful then?
Because according to the PHARISEE'S definition, it was work and was forbidden on the Sabbath. According to their oral tradition in the Mishnah, harvesting (which is what they considered Jesus to be doing) was breaking the Sabbath law.
What is the Sabbath? The seventh day of the week - what we call Saturday. It was the only day of the week that was named - for example, Sunday is the "first" day of the week. God instituted the Sabbath at creation as a day of rest.
Exodus 34:21 "Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest."Now plowing and harvesting a whole crop is undeniably work. But picking and rubbing a few grains of wheat for a meal?
Luke 6:3 Jesus answered them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?"
But Jesus didn't argue with them about this. He simply referred to something David did. This of course is the beloved King David who killed Goliath and wrote most of the Psalms, a "man after God's own heart". So what did David do?
Luke 6:4 "He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions."
Let's look at this incident in the Old Testament:1 Samuel 21:1-6 David went to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech trembled when he met him, and asked, "Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?"
David answered Ahimelech the priest, "The king charged me with a certain matter and said to me, `No one is to know anything about your mission and your instructions.' As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find."
Actually David was running away from King Saul and probably came here to seek the Lord's guidance about what to do next. It's possible that David used this deception to try to clear Ahimelech from any guilt in helping out a fugitive.
But the priest answered David, "I don't have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here--provided the men have kept themselves from women."So the priest was willing to share the bread, provided that the men were "ceremonially clean", which David assured him they were.
David replied, "Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever [or from us in the past few days since] I set out. The men's things [bodies] are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!"
So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the LORD and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away.
Each Sabbath, 12 fresh loaves of bread were to be set on a table in the Holy Place. This was a symbol of the thank offering to the Lord, symbolizing His provision of daily bread. The old loaves were eaten by priests.
Leviticus 24:5-9 "Take fine flour and bake twelve loaves of bread, using two-tenths of an ephah for each loaf. Set them in two rows, six in each row, on the table of pure gold before the LORD. "Along each row put some pure incense as a memorial portion to represent the bread and to be an offering made to theLORD by fire. This bread is to be set out before the LORD regularly, Sabbath after Sabbath, on behalf of the Israelites, as a lasting covenant. It belongs to Aaron and his sons, who are to eat it in a holy place, because it is a most holy part of their regular share of the offerings made to the LORD by fire."
The Pharisees couldn't argue with Jesus' logic. If David had broken a law because his men on a holy mission were hungry, then that made a "precedent" for what Jesus and His disciples did. On both occasions godly men had done something forbidden. But since it is always "lawful" to do something good and to save life, even on the Sabbath, then both David and the disciples were still within the spirit of the law. This seems like an odd point to us, but this is how the Pharisee's logic worked, and how Jesus was able to "speak their lingo".
Luke 6:5 Then Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." The Jews understood this statement to be a claim to divine authority. Only God who created and instituted the Sabbath could be Lord of it.
In Mark 2:27-28, Jesus expands on this thought:Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."
Mark records a prior sentence in which Jesus explains WHY that he is Lord of the Sabbath. God made the Sabbath AFTER He made man and FOR man's benefit. It was to be a day of rest and refreshing and communing with God. The Pharisees with all their rules and regulations had made MAN subject to the Sabbath - and put their rules above the needs of man.
Luke 6:6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled.
To further demonstrate his Lordship over the Sabbath, Jesus went into a synagogue and healed someone, which the Pharisees, in their twisted logic, determined to be "work", not acknowledge the miraculous event itself.
There is no person harder to "convert" than a "religious" person is! They already have all the answers, and don't bother trying to change their minds! Jesus will conform to their ideas and "laws", not the other way around!
And a new problem with "religious" people are the pagans and newagers. They are so sure THEY'RE right, they just laugh at us!
Luke 6:7 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on theSabbath.
Now the Pharisees were openly trying to discredit Jesus. They thought, "Aha! If we can catch him healing on the Sabbath, we've got him!" Notice the question was not "COULD he heal?" but "WOULD he heal"? What a twisted sort of faith that was!
Luke 6:8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Get up and stand in front of everyone." So he got up and stood there.
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and to avoid a confrontation, he could have waited until the first day of the week and healed this person, couldn't he? But He not only heals the man on the Sabbath, but also has him get up in front of everyone, where all could clearly see. The man was obedient - we don't know how much faith he had, or even if he knew what Jesus planned to do with him, but at least he had sense enough to obey.
And we don't always know what Jesus has planned for us, do we? But if we obey Him, we will receive from Him, and it is always good! Before Jesus does anything, he asks a question.
Luke 6:9 Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?"
Now Jewish TRADITION, not the Bible, stated that medical aid could be given on the Sabbath ONLY when the person's life was threatened, which obviously was not the case here. So technically what Jesus was about to do was not lawful as far as the Pharisees were concerned.
Jesus got "in their face" so to speak, and challenged the Pharisees. Is it against the law to do good and save life? Is it lawful to do evil and destroy life? There was no right answer for them! If they said, do good, then it would appear that they approved of Jesus healing, which they did not. But if they said, do evil, well then, they would be lawbreakers themselves. So they said nothing.
Luke 6:10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was completely restored.
Jesus looked around at them all, but no one spoke up either way. Then Jesus said to the man "Stretch out your hand". Well the hand was shriveled, and this was impossible! But as the man tried to obey, he found that the impossible had come to pass! He was able to stretch out his hand and was completely restored.
What kind of problem do you have today? Stretch it out to Jesus and let him restore you! Do you need healing? Do you need financial help? Give your problems to Jesus and trust him, not only to take care of you, but to make a fool of those scoffers who have been telling you that miracles are not for YOU, that you are unworthy and unimportant to Jesus. NOT.
Luke 6:11 But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.
After this awesome miracle of restoration, what did the Pharisees do? THEY GET MAD! LOL What a reaction! God's power was so obviously manifested in front of them, and they got mad and began to plot against Jesus! There have been some marvelous revivals in the past few years. And what have a lot of Christians done? Said, praise the Lord, this is what we've been praying for? Send it here too! ?
No, they've gotten mad and done everything they can to discredit the meetings, the ministers, and the participants. All because it didn't fit into their "theology". Now, we need to be careful about signs and wonders, because the Word says that the devil can deceive and counterfeit them. So we must always test things by the Word. But we don't test things by "it's never been done that way before". Or "that's not how our seminary teaches it should be done". Or "well, what do you expect from holy rollers anyway?"
Let's rejoice when God blesses our brothers and sisters in Christ! Let's lift up and encourage those who are trying to serve the Lord! We need each other! We need to fight the DEVIL, not other Christians. We don't want to be Pharisees - having a form of godliness but denying its power!
Right AQ, if the church would quit arguing and start loving we might just get about winning the lost as Jesus commanded!Praise the Lord! Thank you for your Word tonight Lord. Help us watch out for our ATTITUDES - Lord put a check on our mouths so that we will be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.
OlePappy - Father, thank You for the blessing of Your Holy Word. Lord watch over us this week in Jesus name. AMEN
God bless you all and may the Word seep deep into your soul and produce much fruit in Jesus Name! AMEN
Remember, whenever God
gives us a revelation, the devil tries to steal it from us. Guard your hearts and meditate
on what you've learned!
Unger, Merrill F. The New Unger's Bible Handbook. Revised by Gary N Larson. Moody Press, Chicago, 1966: 1984.
The Family Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed. by Pat Alexander. Chancelor Press, London, 1988.
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