I was reading a passage in Luke chapter 5. Verses 36-39 interested me. What did Christ mean when he told the Pharisees ‘no man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles;, and be spilled and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles, and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.’
My heart was thrilled when I read commentaries and my understanding increased. The new garment and new wine Jesus spoke of was of Himself and of the Gospel he brought. Jesus came to fulfill the prophesies of the Old Testament – to bring about a reconciliation of all men to God. This new doctrine doesn’t add to the old – Mosaic Laws – it replaces them. The law functioned to show the need for the new and how it was practically impossible to be completely and right before God without some sort of sacrifice. Jesus became our sacrifice thus doing away with the need to follow the law. He brought us freedom and reconciliation.
But there’s more! Let’s go back a few more verses to Luke 5:27 and then onward. Jesus called ‘Levi’ or Matthew. He was a tax collector – he and his profession was despised. He brought Matthew in with his other disciples and began to fellowship together by eating and drinking together.
This shows the wonder of Christ’s Grace.
(Taken from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary-bold)
- 5:27-39 It was a wonder of Christ’s grace, that he would call a publican to be his disciple and follower. Before, only those who had been given the birth-right to be a Priest performed the duties and shared the ‘word of God’ through the Mosaic Law and the Prophets. Now, Jesus gave charge to His Gospel to those whom others would on the surface despise, but who later saw the amazing grace and love of Christ demonstrated through those he chose.
- It was a wonder of his grace, that the call was made so effectual. God, through Jesus Christ, now calls us ALL to himself – as demonstrated by those Jesus called to be His disciples.
- It was a wonder of his grace, that he came to call sinners to repentance, and to assure them of pardon. Not only are we all now called to accept Jesus’ gospel to become God’s children, but we are also assured that there is security in this calling – no one can pluck us out of God’s hands – not even ourselves.
- It was a wonder of his grace, that he so patiently bore the contradiction of sinners against himself and his disciples. Jesus demonstrated patience to all, even to the Pharisees. They didn’t understand, their hearts were so fixed on the ‘old’ that then could not grasp the significance of the ‘new’. That happens to so many today. Those who have been taught old ways, old traditions have a hard time letting them go.
- It was a wonder of his grace, that he fixed the services of his disciples according to their strength and standing. This I loved. The disciples didn’t change to conform to a type to be in service for Jesus – they remained themselves. God created us all how He wants us to be and uses us all just as we are to make a difference for Him. We don’t have to be like any one else -we just have to be ourselves.
- The Lord trains up his people gradually for the trials allotted them; we should copy his example in dealing with the weak in faith, or the tempted believer. We will all go through our own ‘training process’. Some will experience more trials than others. These trials and testings are teaching tools. Don’t resist. Trust God and learn from them. Don’t think because you’re going through something difficult that God doesn’t love you or you are some how singled out. This is part of your training, part of your refining. God’s love is complete and immeasurable. He knows and sees the end product – the beauty that’s within you. We all are continually growing and continually being conformed to that beautiful image of Christ. Through our stories we can be empathetic to others going through trials. You can help others realize there’s always hope, always joy and peace – even through and after our trials.
Isn’t the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ something wonderful to behold!