After healing the man with leprosy and the paralytic, Jesus saw a tax collector by the name of Levi (later called Matthew) sitting at his tax booth and Jesus ask him to follow. Levi got up, followed, and then gave a great banquet for Jesus at his house. A large crowd of tax collectors and others came over to eat with them.
Reading Luke 5:27 through 6:1-11, there are three complaints which the Pharisees lodge against Jesus. One is about eating with tax collectors and sinners. Another is about not fasting and the third is about healing or working on the Sabbath.
Jesus then uses parables to teach. The first explains the negative effects of mixing the new with the old. Jesus says it doesn’t work when trying to patch an old garment with a new piece of cloth. In the second parable, Jesus explains that putting new wine in old wine skins does not work (Luke 5:37-39).
The point of these parables is that many think it is best to simply patch up their past because some of the things they did were okay rather than making their way of life completely new. Trusting in the new way of life with Christ should result in completely new attitudes with more humility and gratitude. The Pharisees were criticizing because they thought they were better than Jesus and the people that followed Him.
The Pharisees also objected to Jesus and His doctrine of the Sabbath. Jesus goes to the Word to show them how David who was permitted by the priests to eat the consecrated bread when David and his companions were fleeing from Saul and were hungry. Jesus was explaining to them that God is more concerned about meeting our needs than about sticking to religious rules.
We have to use common sense and know what the priorities should be. God wants what is best for us and sometimes circumstances come up that are more important than religious rules. Jesus demonstrated to the Pharisees that healing the man with the shriveled hand on the Sabbath did not break the law of God. Doing good deeds to help God’s people on the Sabbath is more important than sticking to some religious rule that destroys life.
Sunday is a day of rest and a day of worshiping the Lord. If situations come up and choices have to be made, Jesus is telling us that the choice is made based on if the activity blesses people. It is best to do God’s work rather than live according to a set of burdensome rules that do not bless others.
This day with You Lord, we pray that our growing faith will continue to give us confidence in knowing what decisions to make. Your people are most important. We know our faith can never be taken away or depleted. We are thankful that the gospel message has a beautiful and refreshing simplicity about it that sets us free and never lets us down. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.