13 Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them.
This is what Jesus is in the business of doing, teaching all who will follow.
14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.
Here we have another instance of immediate obedience. Tax collectors in that day were Jewish men who were working for the Roman government. At this point in Israel’s history they were under the rule and tyranny of the Roman empire. Those Jewish men who went to work for those reigning over them were not popular among their fellow Jews. The only people they could really associate with fellow tax collectors. To make it worse the Roman government would tell them how much they needed to collect, but whatever they collected over that was for their pockets. This is someone pretty ostracized by their fellow people, and yet that is exactly who Jesus saw and wanted. Maybe you feel that way, rejected and unwanted. Know that Jesus sees you and He wants you!
15 Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him.
Levi gets all his buddies together and has a feast at his house and invites Jesus in. Jesus and his disciples ate together with the “sinners” is that true of our character as well? Do we associate with the people our society has deemed “sinners”, or do we ostracize them right along with society? We should have the mind of Christ and be inviting the sick in. If you cannot immediately say yes I associate with those society has deemed as sinners ask God to show you ways in which you personally can start doing this in your life.
16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”
The Pharisees are the religious leaders of the day. They knew what the scriptures taught in word, but where far from it in action. I know that there is a pharisees that wants to rise up in me from time to time and I have to keep a check on it. We do not want to have hard hearts like they did. We want to be like Jesus.
17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
This is the reason Jesus came, to preach the gospel and call the sinners to repentance and into right relationship with Him. The truth of the matter is we are all sinners, even those pharisees who did not see it. They were prideful to start and I am sure there were many other things going on as well. We only need to have committed one sin to be a sinner and we have all done that. We are all sick and in need of a physician, but only some of us will own up to that. If we think we are righteous in our own eyes then we miss the Savior because we will not even be looking for Him.
18 The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.
Fasting is a good an appropriate thing for us as believers to do. We fast in a way of denying self and seeking Christ. Christ was right there with His disciples daily, they had complete access to Him. The example Jesus used was that of a wedding. The pharisees and religious leaders of the day would fast twice a week every week, unless there was a wedding. The way they do weddings is very different then our american culture. For them it was a week long celebration. The religious leaders declared that during the wedding feast it was appropriate to choose joy. Therefore if any law got in the way of that, ie fasting, you did not have to participate in whatever it was and could enjoy yourself. What Jesus is actually saying here is that He is the bridegroom and it would not be right for them to fast and miss the celebration. He also stated clearly that there would be coming a time when He was no longer physically with them and it would then be appropriate for them to fast. Is fasting part of your normal spiritual walk? It does not need to be a complete fast from everything. It does not need to be on a scheduled day of the week every week. But do you deny your flesh things it craves? See or flesh and our spirits are at war with one another. We are so acostume to feeding or flesh, most of us do it at least 3 times a day. But we are not good, nor as faithful in feeding our spirits. We often feed them once a day, if that. In fasting we make the conscience decision to deny our flesh something that it is wanting and instead we feed our spirits with prayer or bible study. This could be denying yourself your favorite food, denying yourself sweets, only eating dinner that day, only drinking water, or a complete denial of all for a day. This could be a one day thing or a few day deal. Bring it to God and see what He would have you to do for a fast. Girls it could be to fast makeup for a season. It could be nearly anything that allows us to deny our flesh in some way and instead focus on things of the spirit.
21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”
This may seem a little out of place here but let’s take a look at it and see if we are missing something looking at it jus surface level. What Jesus is saying here is that the new things cannot go into an old form, they must be put into a new form. When new wine is put into the wineskins it expands. If you put new wine into an already expanding wineskin the skin would burst since it would have no stretch left in it. Jesus said this right after being called out about not fasting. What Jesus is essentially saying is that He did not come to patch up an fix the old system and He did not come to simply pour something new into an old system. He came to make things new. Old rugged forms of religion would not be able to contain the working of the Holy Spirit. With that in mind let me ask you this, are you religious or a follower of Jesus? Religious systems with a this is how we have always done it mentality will always miss the workings of the Holy Spirit. I Know that I do not ever want to miss what the Spirit is doing in my life.
23 Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 But He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him: 26 how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?”
What the pharisees claim they have broken is not actually a law of sabbath, but mans list of adds to the law. Christ has never broken any law would, not encourage His disciples to do so, and would not come up with a clever way to hide it. Jesus does often break man’s traditions though.
27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
The sabbath was created back in Genesis, back at creation week. The Lord created everything in 6 days and rested on day 7. This is what the sabbath was intended to be, a time of rest. The pharisees added all these extra stipulations to what could and could not be done and really put a burden on the people. The Sabbath was not for us to have a bunch of extra rules we must follow but was created for us to enjoy rest.
1 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.
The pharisees apparently do not have anything better to do than to wait and try to catch someone in a trap, and they have their eyes fixed on Jesus. Do not be like that, especially if you are in a place of leadership in some way. That leadership would simply be being a parent, or it could be any number of things. Do not going looking for bad behavior, bad behavior will show up all on its own. When it does correct it. Other then that enjoy your time and lead well, lead by example.
3 And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.”
I cannot imagine being this man. To have a withered hand would be particularly hard back then. This man either did not work, or would have struggled immensely trying to complete a task. I am sure he got looks everywhere he went. Coming front and center was likely the last thing this guy wanted. Maybe he had already heard of Jesus, maybe he was just a man of obedience. Whatever his reasoning he came forward.
4 Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent.
Jesus gets right to the heart of the issue right away, should you do evil or good on the sabbath. Again the pharisees had all these extra rules concerning everything. They had determined you could save a life on the sabbath, but you were not allowed to do anything beyond that because you were stepping into the realm of healing then and healing was simply not allowed on the sabbath. Jesus is making the point that there is never a wrong day to do the right thing. James brings home this point. “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17
5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
What made the Lord Jesus angry was their hard hearts. They could not see the truth because they did not want to see. They were blinded and decided that they liked the blinders rather than seeing clearly. Jesus laid out sound reasoning, this was the perfect opportunity for them to repent of their wicked ways, but they did not repent. This is what hurts the Lord, hardened and unrepentant hearts. We see that after the miracle they are not repentant, but now have murderous intentions. He turns to the man and tells him to stretch out his hand, his withered hand. This is a task that would have actually been impossible for the man to do. He could raise his arm, but to stretch the hand at all would have been impossible. Nevertheless he obeyed. Do you feel that way sometimes? Does it ever seem that what the Lord is asking you to do is impossible. I encourage you to step out in obedience and try. You do your part and allow the Lord to fill in what you could not have done yourself. It was in the obedience, in the stretching out of this man’s hand that his healing came. Whatever it is the Lord is asking you to do, no matter how impossible it may seem to you, be obedient. Obedience is the one thing that the Lord is truly looking for. Do your part and allow God to do His. I promise He does not disappoint.