Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30)

Friday, May 29, 2020

2020.05.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 5:33–39

Questions from the Scripture text: About whose disciples do they ask (Luke 5:33)? What activities do they ask about? What are Jesus’s disciples doing instead? What does Jesus ask in Luke 5:34? What days does Jesus say are coming (Luke 5:35)? What does Jesus say no one does in Luke 5:36? What does He say that no one does in Luke 5:37? Where must new wine be put (Luke 5:38)? How does Jesus explain their dislike for the New Covenant discipleship of Him (Luke 5:39)? 
The scribes and Pharisees apparently did not even realize that Jesus was telling them that they were the unwell sinners who need healing and repentance, because they figured that they were doing pretty well “fasting often and making prayers” (Luke 5:33).

Because true interaction with the Lord involves particular actions, it is easy for people to focus upon the actions/habits/rituals of Christianity rather than how we are to interact with the Lord Himself in them. A similar thing happens in the next passage, when they think that they are keeping Sabbath properly, but they are missing the Lord Himself on His Sabbath, when He is standing right in front of them (Luke 6:1–5).

Luke (and Jesus) redirect our focus to Him Himself. The main issue is: are you relating correctly to the Bridegroom, and His current relative position to you?

We ought to be seeking after fellowship with Christ, grieving when He is distant, rejoicing when He makes Himself known to us and near to us in His ordinances, and always longing for His return and the full enjoying of all that He has earned.

Fasting and praying are not just mourning over our own condition (though we certainly ought to do so in our fasting and praying). They are also acts of worship and means of fellowship that our Lord has given us with Himself. We do them, not because they earn us anything, and not even only because they are right, but especially because they are one way in which the Lord Jesus gives us to draw near to Him and find that He draws near to us.

It really is an amazing thing to have direct interaction with Christ, and it is no wonder that Levi and his friends were rejoicing in their fellowship with the Redeemer. But people who are accustomed to their religion being all about the external forms and actions themselves may not respond well to this idea of direct interaction with the Lord Jesus.

Jesus is our Immanuel. In Him, God Himself has come near. We are now all as priests unto God. It’s a glorious change! But it’s not one that those who are accustomed to externalism and formalism are necessarily comfortable with. It stretches them too far (Luke 5:36-38), or just tastes too differently from what they’re used to (Luke 5:39). And they are suspicious of anyone whose practices are regulated by Christ rather than tradition (Luke 5:33).

But it is essential that we make this stretch, and it is essential that we come to love this taste. Biblical Christianity is full of habits and practices—Jesus said as much in Luke 5:35. But the point of Sabbath-keeping. Or fasting and praying. Or Bible reading. Or Scripture-regulated worship. Or family worship. Or any of the other habits and practices of biblical Christianity… is to have our life in belonging to Christ Himself and fellowshipping with Christ Himself directly in each of these habits and practices.

May the Lord grant unto us that we would find it most comfortable and enjoyable to have union and communion with Jesus at the heart of all of the religious practices that He has commanded!
What Christ-commanded religious practices do you do? How does your soul interact with Him in them?
Suggested songs: ARP63 “O God, You Are My God” or TPH425 “How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place”

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