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Luke 5:27-6:19

Taught on | Topic: Disciples | Keywords: foolish things, followers, disciples, apostles, tax collector, eating, sinners, sickness, evangelism, fasting, Judaism, the law, the gospel, compassion, needs, Sabbath, healing, commandment, enablement, Word of God, Bible, religion

God uses a variety of people to build His kingdom; in fact, the men Jesus chose as His disciples might even go on a list of "Most Unlikely to Succeed." In this study, we see how Jesus' interactions with His disciples, the Pharisees, and the multitudes were infused with a deep compassion. We are also reminded that God chooses to use the foolish things of the world, and we can take comfort knowing that He sees us for who we will become.

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9/10/2014
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Luke 5:27-6:19
Luke 5:27-6:19
Skip Heitzig
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God uses a variety of people to build His kingdom; in fact, the men Jesus chose as His disciples might even go on a list of "Most Unlikely to Succeed." In this study, we see how Jesus' interactions with His disciples, the Pharisees, and the multitudes were infused with a deep compassion. We are also reminded that God chooses to use the foolish things of the world, and we can take comfort knowing that He sees us for who we will become.
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42 Luke - 2014

42 Luke - 2014

As a physician, Luke focused on the humanity of Jesus and presented Him as the Son of Man. In our study of this gospel, Pastor Skip Heitzig takes us through Luke's methodical account of Jesus' life, death,and resurrection so that we may "know the certainty of those things in which [we] were instructed" (Luke 1:4).

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Study Guide

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Luke 5

The First Disciples are Called—Read Luke 5:1-11

1. Jesus was becoming popular among the people because of His miraculous works (see Luke 4:37). As He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, the multitude pressed about Him. What was Jesus doing at the lake that caused the people to press about Him (see v. 1)?



2. As the multitude pressed about Jesus, it was difficult for the people to hear Him. How did Jesus remedy this situation (see vv. 2-3)?



3. Jesus taught the multitudes from Simon's boat. What do you think He taught about? (See Luke 4:43.)



4. When Jesus stopped speaking, what did He ask Simon to do (see v. 4)? What was Simon’s initial response? Why (see v. 5a)? What was Simon’s final response? Why (see v. 5b)?


5. Simon launched out into the deep at Jesus' request despite his own justification for not doing it. What was the result of Simon’s obedience to Jesus’ word (see vv. 6-7)?


6. How is what Simon did an example of how we are to respond to Jesus’ word? (See Proverb 3:5.)


7. Simon became aware that the result of his hearing and doing what Jesus said, despite his own objections, was an abundant, miraculous catch, and he was astonished and humbled himself. What did Simon do and say when he saw the filled boats nearly sinking (see v. 8)?


8. Simon wasn’t the only one astonished at this miraculous catch. Who else saw and experienced this miracle (see vv. 9-10)? (See also Matthew 4:18.)



9. What vision did Jesus proclaim for Simon’s life as he was humbly bowed at Jesus’ knees (see v. 10)?



10. How did Simon, James, and John respond to this miraculous catch of fish (see v. 11)?



11. When Jesus speaks to you through the Holy Spirit and His Word, how should you respond? Can you expect to receive an abundant blessing? (See Deuteronomy 28:1-2.) How should your response be like that of Simon, James, and John (see v. 11)?



A Leper is Cleansed—Read Luke 5:12-15


12. Types or models are often used in Scripture to illustrate points. In the Bible, leprosy represents sin: loathsome, spreading, and incurable, gradually rotting away the flesh, slowly deadening the nerve endings, and eventually leading to death (see Isaiah 1:5-6). How is this man’s leprosy described (see v. 12)?


13. What did the leper do when he saw Jesus (see v. 12)? (See also Matthew 8:2; 9:18; 15:25; John 9:38.)


14. The rabbis of Jesus' day firmly believed that leprosy was a direct judgment from God. In fact, the word leprosy means smitten. Lepers were excluded from the community and were required to cry, “Unclean! Unclean!” as others approached them (see Leviticus 13:45-46). Lepers defiled others who came near them and anything they touched. How did the leper address Jesus? What did he ask Him (see v. 12)?


15. What did Jesus do to the leper (see v. 13)? How is this significant?


16. What did Jesus say to the leper (see v. 13)?



17. What did Jesus do for the leper (see v. 13)?



18. What did Jesus charge the leper not to do (see v. 14)? Why (see v. 15)?


19. Jesus instructed the leper to go and show himself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded (see v. 14). What was that gift? (See Leviticus 14:3-20.)


20. It is likely that the priests had never seen anyone cleansed of leprosy. Why did Jesus instruct the cleansed leper to offer this gift (see v. 14)?


21. Although Jesus strictly charged the leper to say nothing to anyone, what did the leper do? (See Mark 1:45.) What was the result of the leper’s disobedience to Jesus’ instruction (see v. 15)?


A Paralytic is Healed—Read Luke 5:16-26

22. Because of the great multitudes continually pressing in upon Him, what did Jesus often do (see v. 16)? (See also Mark 1:35; Matthew 14:23.)


23. Jesus was in a house (probably Peter’s) (see Mark 1:29). The Jewish custom was to leave your doors unlocked and to be hospitable to uninvited and unexpected guests. Who was among the crowd that came to this house? Where had they come from (see v. 17)?


24. What was Jesus doing in that house (see v. 17)?


25. In addition to Jesus and the guests who crowded the house, what else was present (see v. 17)?


26. Four men brought a paralytic to Jesus (see Mark 2:3-4). What issues did they face? How did they overcome them in order to bring the paralytic to Jesus (see v. 19)?


27. Obviously Jesus saw the four men, the paralytic lying before Him, the hole in the roof, and the crowd, but what did Luke record Jesus saw (see v. 20)? Why is this important to the story? (See also Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24; James 2:26.)


28. The four men brought the paralytic to Jesus most likely for healing—not to hear Jesus teaching (see v. 17). What did Jesus initially do for the man (see v. 20)? Why is this important? (See also Matthew 5:29-30; 18:8-9; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.)


29. How did the scribes and Pharisees respond to what Jesus initially did for the paralytic (see v. 21)?


30. The scribes and Pharisees began to reason within themselves. Their belief that Jesus was blaspheming by saying the paralytic’s sins were forgiven was scripturally based. How were they correct in their reasoning (see Isaiah 43:25; Daniel 9:9; Psalm 32:5; 130:4)? What did they not understand that caused their reasoning to be incorrect?


31. One of Jesus’ divine powers was demonstrated in verse 22. What power is that? (See also Psalm 139:2; Matthew 12:25; Luke 6:8.)



32. Jesus knew what they were thinking (see Matthew 9:4). He perceived their thoughts in His spirit and asked them why they were reasoning that way (see v. 22). He then asked them a second question, which began, “Which is easier…” (see v. 23). What was the answer to this question?


33. Jesus' words in verse 24, “But that you may know,” indicated He wanted those who were reasoning in their hearts to know something with certainty. What did Jesus want His hearers to know? Jesus wants you to know this, too. How should this affect your life, especially if you have a paralyzing sin in your life?

34. When capitalized, the term “Son of Man” refers to God’s Messiah, destined to preside over the final judgment of mankind. Jesus often used this term regarding Himself. In Luke 5:24, He used it to demonstrate His power to forgive sins by healing the paralytic. What did Jesus say to the paralytic to demonstrate His authority to forgive sins (see v. 24)?


35. Jesus saw the faith of the men (see v. 20). Was it physically possible for the paralytic to obey what Jesus commanded him to do (see v. 24)?


36. Jesus commanded the paralytic to get up (a test of his faith), take his mat (to take hold of that which he was bound to), and go home (demand of obedience).What was the paralytic’s involvement in his healing (see v. 25)?


37. A person can believe the Word of God and believe that Jesus is the Son of Man who is able to forgive their sins and heal their paralysis, but if they do not do what He says, how might their life be described? (See Matthew 7:21; Romans 2:13; James 1:22; 2:14; 2:26.)


38. What was the final response of the scribes, Pharisees, and multitudes crowding the house (see v. 26)?

Matthew is Called—Read Luke 5:27-28

39. Jesus called Matthew to follow Him. By what other name was Matthew called (see v. 27)? (See also Mark 2:14.)



40. What was Matthew’s response to Jesus’ call (see v. 28)?



41. How was Matthew’s response to Jesus’ call similar to the way Peter, James, and John responded (see v. 11)? (See also Matthew 4:18-22.)



42. Have you done what Matthew did? Have you risen, left all, and started following Jesus? What is the cost of being a disciple of Jesus (See Luke 14:27, 33.)



Jesus Eats with Sinners—Read Luke 5:29-32

43. After Levi’s (Matthew’s) decision to follow Jesus, it is likely that he invited his former associates over for a feast to make his career change known to them. How did Luke identify those with whom Jesus was dining at Levi’s house (see v. 29)? (See also Mark 2:15.)



44. Tax collectors collected the required taxes for the Roman government. They could keep any money they collected above and beyond the required tax. This practice led to corruption and a hatred of tax collectors, especially Jewish ones. When the scribes and Pharisees saw Jesus dining at Levi’s house, what was their response (see v. 30)?



45. Eating with a person equated to identifying with them (see 1 Corinthians 5:11). The Pharisees questioned Jesus' and His disciples’ motives in eating with these people. How did Jesus respond to the Pharisees (see vv. 31-32)?



46. Jesus’ response to the scribes and Pharisees implied that Matthew (Levi) and his friends were sick sinners and in need of a physician. What did the scribes and Pharisees fail to recognize about themselves?



Jesus Teaches About Fasting—Read Luke 5:33-35

47. John the Baptist’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, presumably while Jesus was feasting at Matthew’s house. Therefore, they questioned Jesus about why His disciples didn’t fast (see v. 33). Jesus responded by referring to His disciples as friends of the bridegroom (see v. 34). What did John say the friends of the bridegroom would do instead of fasting? (See John 3:29.)



48. The Old Testament prescribed fasting for all Jews only on the annual Day of Atonement as an act of repentance (see Leviticus 16:29), but the Pharisees promoted voluntary fasts on every Monday and Thursday as an act of piety (see Luke 18:12). Why did Jesus say His disciples could not fast as John’s disciples did (see v. 34)? (See also Mark 2:19.)



49. Although Jesus’ disciples could not fast while He was with them, when would they fast (see v. 35)?



50. Jesus referred to Himself as the bridegroom (see v. 34). His presence among the disciples constituted a situation as joyous as a wedding festival. Jesus said the days would come when the bridegroom would be taken away and His disciples would fast. How were they to fast? (See Matthew 6:16-18.)



Parable of the Cloth and Wineskins—Read Luke 5:36-39

51. When answering why His disciples did not fast, Jesus gave a parable in which He referred to old and new cloth and old and new wineskins. This symbolized the traditions of Judaism (old wineskins) and the kingdom He was bringing forth (new wineskins). What two things happened if a new piece of cloth was put on an old garment (see v. 36)?



52. What happened if new wine was poured into old wineskins (see v. 37? What happened if new wine was poured into new wineskins (see v. 38)?



53. What must the new wine be put into (v. 38)? What happened when this was done?



54. What do you think the wine Jesus referred to was a picture of? (See Ephesians 5:18; Acts 2:4, 13, 15; Joel 2:28-32.)



55. In stating that no one who had drunk old wine immediately desires new wine, Jesus was noting that His way and the way of the Pharisees were unmixable. The Pharisees would refuse to try the new way, for they assumed that their old way was better. Jesus’ teaching was considered by the Pharisees and religious leaders to be like new wine, and they wanted no part in it. What did Jesus say those who had drunk the old wine would say about the new wine (see v. 39)?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. God uses a variety of people to build His kingdom
    2. When we look at the Lord's chosen ones, they would probably be listed as "Most Unlikely to Succeed"
    3. The basis of God's choice is out of 1 Corinthians 1:26-27
      1. Abraham is called the Father of Faith, yet he had a lapse of faith at least two times
      2. God chose Moses, a man with a speech impediment, to be the vocal representative of Israel before Pharaoh
      3. People like this tend to realize their deficits and depend more on God's strength
      4. Gideon; Judges 6:11-12
    4. The Lord sees not who we are now but what we can become
  2. Luke 5:27-39
    1. Matthew was a tax collector, which meant he was hated
    2. Roman system of tax farming
      1. You could keep anything you collected beyond the hefty tax Rome required
      2. Tax collectors were considered the scum class
      3. Greek writer Lucian put them in the same class as adulterers
    3. Because Matthew was called Levi, we can infer he had a religious background
      1. Probably from the tribe of Levi
      2. Maybe he was slated to go into ministry, but he took a wrong turn
    4. Matthew means a gift
      1. Perhaps a name Jesus gave him
      2. Jesus liked to rename people
        1. James and John to Sons of Thunder
        2. Simon to Peter
    5. We don't know why the scribes and Pharisees were at Matthew's party
    6. To the Jews, the act of eating a meal connoted real intimacy; Revelation 3:20
    7. Why did Matthew throw the feast?
      1. For Jesus
      2. It seems Matthew wanted to show his faith and show off his Lord to his friends
      3. This is a good friend
    8. Compare Matthew's style of evangelism with the Pharisees'
      1. They didn't do it at all!
      2. Pointing the finger is not an effective method of evangelism
      3. What is attractive about that kind of lifestyle? Nothing
    9. Sinners and sick people have a lot in common
      1. Then there are some people who never like to admit they're sick
      2. The gospel is not for people who think they are good; the gospel is for people who know they are bad
      3. Matthew 5:3
    10. In the Jewish belief system, fasting was not required, except for one day
      1. "Afflicting one's soul"
      2. On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement
      3. More religious folks fasted twice a week: Monday and Thursday
        1. In Jerusalem, those were the busiest market days
        2. They'd stand on the street corners in order to be seen by people
      4. Three pillars of Judaism: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving
    11. Fasting is a good practice, but it has to be voluntary
      1. It reminds you that you can go without
      2. It gets you in touch with people who don't have very much in this world; Isaiah 58
    12. Verse 35 is a hint of the cross that was coming
    13. Analogy of a husband and wife during their wedding week; fasting is good, but feasting is good, too
    14. Jesus was making a reference to the very system He was confronting—the Judaic legal system as represented by the scribes and Pharisees
      1. Jesus did not come to patch up the old legal system of Judaism; God the Father wanted to do a new work, to pour the gospel, new wine, into something fresh
      2. For God to do a new work, He had to select a whole new system, vessel, to pour into—the church
      3. Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation
      4. John Wesley
    15. The Lord wants to expand you personally; are you done stretching?
    16. Sadly, some believers think we have to go back to the law of Judaism
      1. No, we don't; read the book of Galatians
      2. The law was a schoolmaster to point us to Christ
  3. Luke 6:1-19
    1. What were the Pharisees doing out in the cornfields?
    2. Deuteronomy 23:24-25; God's welfare system
    3. Why would the Pharisees say this was unlawful?
      1. Over time, tradition was added to the simple laws of Scripture
      2. In the Mishnah, there were thirty-nine different things you could not do on the Sabbath
        1. In the grain fields, you couldn't reap, thresh, winnow, or prepare a meal
        2. Technically, the disciples had broken all four of those laws
    4. 1 Samuel 21:1-6
      1. What David did was unlawful
      2. What Jesus did was not unlawful; He took them back to an incident that was really unlawful
    5. This passage shows that compassion is more important than ritual, that the heart of God to care for the needs of people is greater than picky rules and regulations
    6. Luke weaved together Sabbath violation stories
      1. Luke was observing as a Gentile
      2. Jesus' greatest enemies came from within Judaism, and they would be the ones to conspire against Him
    7. Verse 6: only Luke the doctor mentioned it was the man's right hand
    8. Some scholars believe the man with the withered hand was planted by the Pharisees
    9. The Jewish thought was if you had a disease, it was tied to some sin in your or your parents' lives
    10. Jesus commanded the man to do something he had been unable to do his whole life
      1. Rather than saying, "I can't," the man just did it
      2. With the commandment comes the enablement; God's commandments are His enablements
      3. Peter walking on water; Matthew 14:28-30
      4. There is power in the very Word of God itself
    11. Religious people can be the most narrow-minded and hardest to be around people in the universe
    12. The apostles are listed four times in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, and three things are always constant
      1. Peter is always mentioned first
      2. Judas is always mentioned last
      3. James is always before his brother John, because he was older
    13. Judas was from an intellectually-based, white-collar village in Judea called Kerioth; he was sophisticated
  4. Closing
    1. We should be encouraged looking at the list of who Jesus chose
    2. There are exceptions—but not many—to the rule that God has chosen the foolish things of this world
    3. If He could take these twelve (eleven) guys and change the world, what could He do with 1,100? 11,000?
    4. What will He want to do through your life this week?

Figures referenced: Lucian, Martin Luther, John Wesley

Cross references: Deuteronomy 23:24-25; Judges 6:11-12; 1 Samuel 21:1-6; Isaiah 58; Matthew 5:3; 14:28-30; Luke 5:27-6:19; 1 Corinthians 1:26-27; Revelation 3:20


Transcript

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Introduction: Welcome to Expound our verse by verse study of God's Word. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God by explaining the Word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.

Skip Heitzig: Luke, chapter 5. I'm always impressed with and amazed at the people that God chooses to do his bidding, to do his work. I love watching the people, the variety with which God builds his kingdom. Look around at this bunch, how different we are from one another. And, yet, with different backgrounds, different interests, different parts of the country, the Lord saved us and brings us together to do a common work. We are going to see, and begin with actually, the calling of Matthew the tax collector, followed by the calling of the other disciples to become apostles in what is ahead of us. But I open with those remarks, because I think specifically, not only of these disciples, but those disciples.

In my high school annual there was a section in the back of notable people: "Most Likely to Succeed," I was not in that group; "Most Spirited," I didn't make that page; "Most Athletic," I wasn't named there either. And there were several notable people in my class. I wasn't one of them. However, had there been a page that said "Most Unlikely to Succeed," well, then perhaps, maybe I would have been there. And it seems to me as though when we look at the Lord's chosen ones, they seem that they would be in that little slot "Most Unlikely to Succeed." It's as though God went out of his way to select the most unsavory, weirdest characters, especially together. A Zealot and a tax collector in the same group? They would draw blood. Fishermen, some competing groups of fishermen from the same district?

The basis of God's choice, I've told you this on many occasions, is out of First Corinthians, chapter 1. That is the basis of God's choice. Paul says, "You see your calling, brethren, how that not many mighty, not many noble, after the flesh are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise." Ah, now these chapters make sense when I realize that's the basis of God's choice: "the foolish things of this world to confound the wise." Then I say, well, Peter would be a good choice for that. And so would Simon the Zealot, and so would Thomas---and James and John, throw them in, surely unlikely to succeed, foolish things, weak things to confound those things that are mighty. Not just here but throughout Scripture, who was called the Father of faith? Abram, Abraham, "the father of those who believe."

And, yet, he had a lapse of faith. At least two times it is recorded that he got scared and dared not believe. And, yet, God gives him the title "father of faith." To whom or whom was it that God chose to be the vocal representative of the children of Israel before Pharaoh? Yeah, a man with a speech impediment. "Speak my words." "I c c c c can't." "Good enough for me. I've chosen the foolish things of this world, perfect." Because people like that tend to realize their deficits and tend to depend more, not on their strength, but on God's strength. That's the beautiful thing. Another one that comes to mind is a guy by the name of Gideon who was one of the judges of Israel. He was so scared of the Midianites, he wouldn't thresh wheat on the threshing floor which was on top of the hills where the winds would blow and separate the chaff from the wheat.

He was too scared that the enemy would see him, so he threshed his wheat down below in the valley where the winepress was. The problem with that is there's no wind where the winepress is, so you throw the stuff up in the air, and it just sort of falls back down. So you can see poor Gideon, foom, "Well, that didn't work," [blowing] hoping that he would create some kind of wind. It was---it was crazy. And to make it even funnier, the Angel of the Lord comes and sees Gideon too scared to thresh out in the open and calls him a "mighty man of valor." I don't know if that was a joke or he was seeing the potential in him. But that is like the Lord, is it not, to see not who we are now, but what we can become once he gets a hold of your life, and breathes into you, and inspires you, and uses you by his Spirit for his glory?

That's what he sees. Any great artist does that. A great artist doesn't see a block of wood or a block of stone, he sees the finished product, what that can become once his hands touch it. So I believe, like the one we're about to read, Matthew the tax collector named Levi, as we'll see in the text. He goes by Matthew in his book Matthew, but he is called by his birth name here "Levi" probably because he was from the tribe of Levi. And Jesus comes and calls him. Chapter 5, verse 27, "After these things"---you say, "What things?" Those are the things we read last week. "After these things he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And he said to him, 'Follow me.' And so he left all, rose up, and followed him. Then Levi gave him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them."

He was a tax collector, which meant he was hated. Do you like the IRS? You don't. I mean, those three initials don't ring---you don't hear them and go, "Ah, I have such fond thoughts when you say those three letters, IRS." You don't. You go, "Ooh, tax season. Oh my goodness." In those days it was much worse because they operated under the Roman system of tax farming. You could go to the Roman government, and you could apply to be the local tax collector. If you got it, you were able to extract the amount that Rome required, which was pretty hefty, a lot worse than we have it even today. But anything you got extra, however means you got that, you could keep and line your own pockets. So because of that, tax collectors were considered the scum class. Lucian, a Greek writer, put them in the same class as adulterers.

So that's Matthew. Matthew is a tax collector. But because he's called Levi, we can only infer that he had a religious background. I'm guessing from the tribe of Levi. So that maybe he was slated to go into the ministry as a Levite perhaps. But he took a wrong turn somewhere in the road. I don't know, maybe college, maybe high school, maybe later, maybe earlier? He just decided, "Forget the ministry; I want to make a lot of money. And the quickest way I know to do that is to sell out to the Roman government, and I can get my share." But one day Jesus came into his life and, no doubt, Matthew had already seen and heard of Jesus. Jesus was headquartered where he lived in Capernaum. And there on that road Via Maris, the Way of the Sea, that connects Egypt with Mesopotamia was the tax booth set up.

In fact, if you ever come with us to Israel, allow me to take you to Capernaum and show you a stone that was part of the tax collector's booth that was on the Via Maris, probably the very stones that Matthew was next to or behind, collecting taxes. But Jesus came by and he saw him, Levi, and he said, "Follow me." Now he's called Matthew, now get this, I believe it's a name Jesus gave to him. It means "a gift." Would any of the people of Capernaum call him "a gift," the IRS tax guy? Would they have just said, "Yeah, you're a gift to us." No, "You take gifts from us. You are not a gift to us. You're a thief. You're a scoundrel." But Jesus, like a good artist, saw the potential, what he was going to make him into. "I'm going to remake you and give you as a gift for my glory."

Now this is a typical practice of Jesus to do. He liked to rename people. James and John the sons of Zebedee, he renamed them "Sons of Thunder." You know the story. He calls Simon, "Peter," renames him. He calls Levi, "Matthew," "a gift." He sees what he is going to make him into. He says, "Follow me." He does. Immediately he gets up, and he follows him. But notice this, and we just read it and didn't comment on it yet. Verse 29, "Levi gave him [gave Jesus] a great feast," a party. He threw a party in his own house. It must have been a large house. As a tax collector he made a lot of money. There seems to be a great gathering in this house, so he probably had an opulent lifestyle. "And there were a great number of tax collectors," he was a scoundrel who invited all of his scoundrel buddies, "and others who sat down with them.

"And their scribes and Pharisees complained against his disciples, saying, 'Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?' " Now, honestly, I don't quite understand why the scribes and the Pharisees are at the party. I'm guessing they're either at the party or outside watching this happen. But it just seems by the reading of it that they're at the party, and I don't know why they're there. If I were Matthew, I wouldn't have invited the religious dudes. Maybe he wanted to have a little fun. Maybe he wanted to mix it up a little bit, because he knew that they hated the tax collectors, so he thought, "Let's just have a real fun time tonight. I'm going to bring the Pharisees from the local area in with the tax collectors." Don't know, but the fireworks certainly happened.

Now, to the Jews the act of eating a meal connoted real intimacy. You know the Scripture in Revelation chapter 3 verse 20, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone will open the door, I will come in and sup with him," eat with him, have the most intimate kind of fellowship together. "Because we believe that if you eat some food, and I eat some food, and you digest the food and I digest the food, it's becoming a part of our body. We're actually becoming a part of one another." So to eat a meal together meant to share the deepest kind of an intimacy. "Why is your Master and are you disciples eating, sharing intimate contact and fellowship with the worst of the worst, with the scum of the earth, tax collectors, people that sold themselves out to the Roman government?" And so it says, true to form, they complained.

So why did Matthew throw the feast? Well, it says he threw it for Jesus, for him. It's sort of like a farewell deal, a farewell meal and dinner for the sake of evangelism. It seems to me that Matthew wants to show his faith and show off his Lord to his friends. He's leaving this lifestyle. He's leaving the area. He's going to be following Jesus wherever Jesus goes, even though headquartered at Capernaum, they're going on some adventures. So he throws this final meal to introduce his friends to Jesus. Again, this is a good friend. The Pharisees and the scribes, they wouldn't have done this. In fact, compare Matthew's style of evangelism, which was "invite people into my house, share my meals, share my life with me. Oh, and by the way, here is Jesus. Let me introduce him to you." That's his style of evangelism.

Compare that with the Pharisees method of evangelism. How did they do it? Not---they did not do it. They did not think that Gentiles, and especially tax collectors, even Jewish tax collectors who sold out to the Gentile world system should be in your home. So these religious folks, I guess you might say they did their evangelism by pointing the finger at the bad people. "Those are bad people. You shouldn't be with them." Can I just say, that's not a very effective method of evangelism: pointing the finger, getting angry, getting all uptight, and religious, and stiff. Besides being an absolute bore, nobody will want to hang out with you. No one will be attracted to anything you would have for them. I mean, why would anyone want to be a prune like that? What is attractive about that kind of lifestyle? Nothing.

It's not like you look at a Pharisee and go, "I want to be one. I really want to be narrow minded and bigoted just like that guy." Matthew, on the other hand, I like that. I love his bringing people in and around and having a feast and introducing Jesus. I think it's a beautiful method and beautiful style of evangelism. So, "Jesus answered"---he had some words to say with them, for them. "Jesus answered and said to them, 'Those who are well have no need of [a doctor] a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.' " It's an obvious point, is it not? People who are healthy, they don't go to a doctor. People who are sick, they go to a doctor. Sinners and sick people, they have a lot in common. They know they have a need.

And you get saved like sick people get better. You admit to a doctor that you have a disease and he prescribes something for you. As a sinner, you admit to Dr. Jesus the Great Physician that you are in need of forgiveness and salvation, and he will dispense it to you freely by faith in him. But then there are some people, and I bet you can think of one or two perhaps, they're the kind of that never like to admit they're sick. Right? They never---"How you doing?" "Fine." "Are you feeling"---"No, no, no, no." They never, even if they are, they never like to admit that there's something wrong with them. We have a name for these people. They're called "dead people" eventually. [laughter] And we have a name for people who never like to admit their need to God. We call them spiritually dead.

Paul said, "And you were dead in trespasses and sins." Before there was a regeneration that took place that came through an act of faith, a work of God in your heart, and your faith cooperating causing regeneration, you were spiritually dead to that. Those who are sick, they don't need a doctor, only those---or well, only those who are sick who admit that they have a need. "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." See, the gospel is not for people who think they are good; the gospel is for people who know they are bad. Ever meet someone who goes, "Oh, I don't know if I can come to church, I'm not really worthy." Well, that's perfect. You fit the bill. "Oh, no, no, no. I can't really come to God. I gotta clean up my act first." Oh, no, no, no. Come all messy.

You're the one that Jesus is looking for, the people who think they're good enough, they never admit they have a need, only those people who know they are bad enough. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of God." They admit they have a need. They mourn over that. There's an admission. "Then they said to him"---now that they have Jesus' attention, these religious folks, the elite, the Pharisees and the scribes. "They said to him, 'Why do the disciples of John,' " that is, John the Baptist, " 'fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees,' " our guys, our dudes, our sect, " 'but yours [party hardy]?' " That's a little loose translation here of "yours eat and drink?" In the Jewish belief system, fasting was not required except for once a year.

There was one mandatory day when fasting was required, and the Bible refers to the act of fasting as "afflicting one's soul." That was on the day of Yom Kippur, the High Holy Day of Atonement that was required. The traditional rendering of the text "afflict your souls" was to eat no food, to fast. However, some of the more religious folks believed that they should fast more often than once a year. In fact, they did it twice a week, on Mondays and on Thursdays, which are interesting days, because, in Jerusalem especially, those are the busiest market days in the city so there will be more people out and about. And so what some of these guys would do is paint themselves up to look pale and sickly. And they'd stand on the street corner, and there be kind of like in their supposed fast, praying with their hands out, and people would notice them.

They would do it to be seen by men. The three pillars of Judaism back then were prayer, fasting, and alms giving. But, again, fasting was not required but once a year. However, know this: fasting is a good practice. But it has to be voluntarily. It's not required. It's not like, "You know what? You aren't going to heaven and you can't be a part of this church unless you fast whenever." We never do that, because it's not required. And Jesus has a great answer. "Now's not the time for fasting," he's going to say, "now's the time for feasting." But the time for feasting will be over and there will come a time for fasting. Both are needed. "But I am the bridegroom," Jesus said, "and my bride are my people, and we're together, so we're going to have a little fun here. But the day will come when men ought to fast."

Now fasting is good for a number of reasons. One of the things I notice about our Western lifestyle is because we have such an abundance and we can---you know, our problem usually isn't food, our problem is too much food, to be quite honest. We figure out how we can lose weight, and when we see food, to say no to it or to say no to the right kinds of food. We have so many options, so what happens is our palate becomes a little dull. And it's interesting when you fast, and when you do fast, you see all the things you can live without, and you go, "Boy, you know, I've gone a couple days and I haven't keeled over. I'm not dead. I can do without a lot." It reminds you about that. It also gets you in touch with those people who don't have very much in this world.

It causes you to really feel for them and pray for them and get in touch with them. And that's what Isaiah, chapter 58, is all about. God says, "Let me tell you the fast that I get behind. Here's the fast that I see as a good thing; and that is, you afflict your souls that you might be conscious to help your brother who is in need and satisfy the hungry." But I was, I was brought to this awareness one time when before I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I lived in Southern California, and I was praying about coming here, I thought, "I shouldn't just pray about coming here, I should pray and fast." So I went out to the desert for a few days of prayer and fasting. And, listen, by like day three, I'm smelling food that isn't even there. I'm dreaming of food at night that isn't even around for miles. I was ready to eat.

And so I went to break my fast at this little Indian reservation close to where I was, the Morongo Indian Reservation. And I had---there's this little kiosk there called Hadley's. I don't know if you're ever familiar with the Palm Springs area. No, I wasn't in a hotel in Palm Springs, by the way, fasting. I was out in the desert. But I went to Hadley's and I had what's called a date shake. Oh my goodness. I've had them before, but on that particular occasion when I had that date shake, it's like my head exploded with flavor. It's like [making explosion sound] it never tasted as good as that day. "What's in this thing? This is a miracle drink." "No, it's just a date shake, dude. Have a good day. Don't know what you're on, but see ya." [laughter] But my palate, which had grown dull, was now very alive.

And had I had chile, I probably wouldn't have survived, just to have something mild like a date shake was enough. Anyway, fasting gets you in touch with some of those sensations. "He said to them," this, his answer, verse 34. "He said to them, 'Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.' " That is a hint of the cross that is coming. That is a hint of his suffering, his death, and his ascension into heaven when he would leave his chosen and not be with them any longer. That will be a time when there will be mourning and there will be fasting---joy, because of the resurrection, but mourning, because Jesus will ascend and be taken away from them.

The analogy that Christ uses here is that of a husband and wife at a wedding. Happiest week of a couple's life typically was their wedding week. That's when the community chipped in. That's when the best food was enjoyed. That's when they sat around with their friends and talked and partied it up for one solid week. It was a happiest week of a couple's life. And so he uses that analogy of: "We're together now. And fasting is good, but feasting is good too. And we're enjoying each other's fellowship and comradery and company. A day will come when they will fast." "And then he spoke a parable to them: 'No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old.' "

Now, some of you will not be able to relate to this. When I grew up, I don't know if they still sell these things, but they used to sell patches for pants that you would sew on or you would iron on. And my mom was not a fan of shopping for us; she was a fan of buying patches for us. [laughter] You know, "Why buy you a new pair of pants? There's a rip in it, I'll just put a patch on it." Now today the pants with the rips cost more. It's just gone crazy. It's like, "Two hundred bucks if you want a rip in it, dude." "Oh, okay." For some reason that should make sense, but it doesn't. So in those days when you had a rip, you patch it up. Well, if you have a piece of cloth that has never been washed and it's going to shrink and the pants that you wear are already---have been washed several times.

When you put that on, back in these days that we're reading about, when you wash it, if you wash it in hot water, that little patch is going to shrink and make the tear that it is sewn to much worse. Now, he has a point to make, and he'll make it with yet another analogy. " 'And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskin will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, both are preserved.' " They would store wine in actual hides, sometimes stomachs of animals. Now why is that important? Because wine ferments. It gives off gases causing the skins to stretch. Right? The fermentation process requires flexible wineskin, so it begins to stretch and swell up and get bigger.

Now, if you drink that wine and keep pouring in new wine, eventually the elasticity of that animal hide will reach its limit. It has a breaking point. It will crack, it will burst, and the new wine that you want to store will be spilled out. Jesus is making a reference to the very system he is confronting, or I should say is confronting him; and that is, the religious Judaistic system, the legal system, as represented by the scribes and the Pharisees. And what he is saying is this: "I, as the Messiah from the Father, did not come---though I have come not to break the law but to fulfill it. I have not come to patch up the old legal system of Judaism. It has become like a brittle, old, unelastic wineskin. God the Father wants to do a new work, to pour the gospel new wine into something fresh.

But this system, your system, is brittle and nonelastic. It can't take it. It can't handle it. It can't stretch any further." So for God to do a new work, he has to select a whole new system, vessel to pour it into, and that was the church. That was his elect that he would call around himself in the gospel message. The old wineskin, you can't patch that up. You can't reform it. I know that in history there was the Great Reformation, but essentially Martin Luther left the established church. He couldn't reform it from within; he had to leave it and let the wine be poured in a new vessel. The old can't contain it. There's been a split ever since. John Wesley tried to reform the church of England (he did not want to leave it) with his Methodist system. But eventually he was forced to leave it. They wouldn't tolerate it.

The wineskin was breaking. The cloth was causing a bigger tear, so he went outside to a group of people that were open and hungry and willing to bend and to flex and did his work through them. Now, think of your own life. The Lord wants to expand you personally. Are you done stretching? "I'll stretch up to this point, no more." Okay, don't be surprised if God bypasses you and finds those who are open. "Lord I'm willing. Send me. Stretch me. Use me. Do something fresh in and through my life." Now, sadly, I meet people who are doing exactly what Jesus was referring to primarily, not secondarily. They actually are trying to patch up the Jewish system. They've become believers, but then their friend invites them to a seder feast, and there's a star of David, and a shofar, and Jewish words being spoken.

And they get so enamored with Hebrew and Israel and they---as cool as that is, because been there, done that---they think it's important for all believers to go back to the Law, you have to keep the laws of Moses, you have a keep all the festivals of Israel. No, you don't. Read the book of Galatians and get a clue. You don't. The law was a schoolmaster to point us to Christ. He's not about patching up the old system; he's done with the old system. There's the new system where anyone, anywhere, with any background can call on the name of Jesus and he'll pour new life into that person. And get two or three of those gathered together, you got a church, [applause] you got a work of the Lord moving and spilling new wine through new people, new vessels.

As much as I appreciate the old covenant and I appreciate reading and understanding---as you know, we've done it, even the laws of the Old Testament---I don't live under them nor am I enamored and want to go back to a Judaistic kind of Christianity. Paul was never about that and Jesus certainly was not. He said, "You know what? Love you guys. See ya." "Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that he went through the grainfields. And his disciples plucked heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands. And some of the Pharisees said to them, 'Why are you doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?' " Now this is going to get old, perhaps, because you've heard me ask this question every time, no matter what gospel: What on earth were the Pharisees doing out in the cornfields?

You know, it's like, "Okay, I can understand that you guys were invited to that feast, but now it's like, it's just alone time. We're, like, walking from point A to point B, from one village to another village. We're out in the countryside. Nobody's here. We go through fields of grain, all of a sudden poop, Pharisees pop up. "Hi. It's us." "What, are you following us?" "Sort of." And they say, " 'Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?' " Were they doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath? Absolutely not. In Deuteronomy 23, I believe it's verse 25, it's the last verse in that chapter, we're told, they were told that when you go through a grainfield of standing grain, you were allowed to pick and eat anything you want. It's a good system. I like it. It's a good welfare system.

God's welfare system was: leave a little bit of the vintage and the grapes and a little bit of the grain in the fields, a little bit of the fruit on the trees. Don't harvest it all, leave some of it for the poor. If you're walking from point A to point B and you see your friend has a tree with fruit, eat some. That was perfectly---isn't that a great system? I had a friend in SoCal that had a lemon tree, and half of his tree branches were on my side, and California state law said I owned them if it's over the property lines. So, I had lemonade all the time and just thanked him, "Thanks for the lemons, appreciate it." You know, it's law, he knew it, so he's not going to cut the tree down so I couldn't get them. But so you were allowed to go through the grainfields and just---this is what you do: you pluck it with the hand, you'd rub it between your hands, you'd blow away the chaff, and you'd eat it.

And it gets kind of gummy inside. Hard at first, but eventually the saliva breaks down. It's a gummy, nutritious thing to do. The only thing you could not do was go into the grainfields with a sickle, a threshing, reaping instrument, and cut down the grain, because now it means you're after it for a commercial benefit, not for personal use. If you just go in there and eat it, no problem. That's just for personal satisfaction. If you do it with a sickle, it means you're harvesting for commercial use. Same with the vintage, the grapes. Go in there, have some grapes, but don't, like, bring a basket when you go into your neighbor's grapes and take it home for the next week or sell it. However, here is the problem, please listen carefully to this: Why would they say this is unlawful?

Because over time the simple laws of Scripture, tradition was added to them by groups like this. So by the New Testament times it had become unlawful. In the Mishnah there were 39 different tractates about things you could not do on the Sabbath. And the four main things that you couldn't do in the grainfields were: number one, reaping; number two, threshing; number three, winnowing, and number four, with all that, preparing a meal. Technically the disciples had broken all four of those laws: by plucking the grain, they were reaping; by rubbing it in between their hands to loosen the chaff, they were threshing; by blowing away the chaff away from the wheat, they were winnowing; and all together they were preparing a meal, because they did it in order that they might eat. That's how crazy it had gotten.

So they pop up: "How come your disciples are doing what's unlawful on the Sabbath?" Jesus' answer is interesting to me. "[He] said, 'Have you not even read this?' " Oh, I love this, Jesus face to face with a reverend, doctor, bishop, theological giant who deserves respect, and Jesus goes, "Do you not even read your own Bibles? You're Bible scholars, don't you even read it once in a while?" "You haven't even read this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were him: how he went into the house of God," he went into the tabernacle, you can't do that, "and took and ate the showbread, and also gave some to them with him, which is not lawful," it is against Mosaic law and regulation, "for any but the priests to eat?' And he said to them, 'The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.' "

Jesus takes them back to a text you know, First Samuel 21. David is on the run. He's fleeing from King Saul. He goes to Nob, N O B, on a hill. It was the first Nob Hill, seriously. [laughter] Nob Hill is where they went. And he went to Nob where the tabernacle was not far from Jerusalem to Nob Hill. And the priest serving at the time, the high priest, was Ahimelech. And Saul was chasing him and he's hungry and he goes, "We're hungry and we'd like to eat." And the priest said, "Well, have you followed a few regulations and stipulations?" He goes, "Yes, I have." So the priest gave him, gave to David the bread, the showbread. Remember the showbread, the twelve loaves of presence they are called that sat in the tabernacle representing the twelve tribes of Israel?

The priests once a week were the only ones who could eat that. They would replace the bread, take the other bread out, and the priests would chomp down on it, scarf it, eat it. David was not a priest. David goes into the house of God. David eats stuff that only the priests, according to the Mosaic law, could eat. It was unlawful. Now, what Jesus did was not unlawful. They said it was unlawful, so Jesus takes them back to an incident that was really unlawful and didn't seem to bother these religious bigwigs. Jesus goes, "Don't you remember that? Don't you read that? David did that. David, your hero, the first king of Israel---or the second king, the rightful king." " 'And is not lawful but only for the priests to eat?' And he said to them, 'The Son of Man is also the Lord of the Sabbath.' "

Why I love this passage is it shows the compassion of Christ. It shows that compassion is more important than ritual that the Spirit of God, heart of God to care for the needs of people is greater than the little, picky rules and regulations. Here's a case of human necessity. When I first read this passage as a young believer---I came to Christ when I was eighteen. I know that's---wow! A long time ago. When I read this passage, I stopped and I went, "Thank you, Lord." And that's because I had been bearing guilt. When I was a young boy in a Catholic school during Lent---some of you know what that means, right? You have that background. I was a Catholic boy. I was the altar boy during that season of Lent. Every day we would say Mass. Every day I was the altar boy.

A couple days I didn't bring my lunch with me, and I was so hungry I didn't know what to do. And I thought, "Well, if this is God's bread, you know, the hosts, [laughter] he wouldn't mind if I had a meal out of them." And I took handfuls of them and I ate them at lunchtime [laughter] and I felt so horrible. I know some of you are going to tell your friends. It's going to get back to the priests and the bishop and the pope, maybe, who knows? I don't know. [laughter] But I just felt like, "I've, like, desecrated God's house." And then I read this passage. Can you imagine how I would feel reading this? It's like, "Wow! it's in the Bible. David did it and Jesus said that was okay [laughter] because he was really hungry." So that's why I said, "Thank you, Lord." It just alleviated years of guilt I had carried around with me. "

Now it happened on another Sabbath"---do you see the string of stories Luke is weaving together? Sabbath stories, Sabbath violations. Now, this is important to Luke because he is observing it as an outsider. He's a Gentile; he's not Jewish. He's noticing that as a Gentile physician, a doctor, writing about these incidents how Jesus' greatest enemies came from within Judaism and they will be the ones that will conspire later on against him. "It happened on another Sabbath, also, that he entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered." This is interesting. This is in the other Gospels, with one exception, only Luke mentions it was his right hand. A doctor would be interested in that.

Whoever he interviewed about the story, Luke would have said, "Which hand was it?" "Oh, let me think . . . it was his right hand." "Okay, right hand," and he mentions that detail. Being a doctor, he would be interested. He's the only one that does. He noticed that his hand was withered. It was paralyzed. There was a paralysis for whatever reason. "So the scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely, whether he would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against him. But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the [paralyzed] withered hand, 'Arise and stand here.' And he arose and he stood." Some commentators, some scholars believe that he was a plant, that the Pharisees put him there. I don't know for sure if that is.

Some believe strongly that the Pharisees placed this man there knowing Jesus was compassionate and would heal him. And they were looking for something to accuse him. I wouldn't doubt that. They were dead right. He does have compassion. He sees this need. He is going to respond. But he had a withered hand, so he knew what they were thinking, and so he had him stand up there. Now maybe the man stood up thinking, "He's going to embarrass me. I do not want to stand up." You know, he's kind of---he's already---it's an embarrassing stigma to have a paralyzed hand, have a paralysis on one side. So to be stood up in a public meeting---how would you feel if right now I called on you and had you come up? Some of you, most of you wouldn't like that. Most people don't. They have a fear, a phobia of being in front of people.

So he stands him up, maybe thinking, "I'm going to get rebuked." Because the Jewish thought was if you have a disease, it's tied to some sin in you or your parents' life. "Here goes, I'm gonna get chewed out by Jesus." "Jesus said to them, 'I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?' And when he looked around at them all, he said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' And so he did, and his hand was restored as whole as the other." That surprised the man. Jesus asked him---no, told him, commanded him to do something he had been unable to do his whole life. He couldn't stretch forth his hand, he's paralyzed. What would it look like if I brought a paralyzed person up on this stage and I said, "Stand up and walk."

You'd say, "Man, you are---you've reached a new low of cruelty. That's so low, telling a guy who can't walk to walk, to tell a guy who can't stretch out his hand, 'Hey, stretch your hand out.' " And rather than saying, "I can't, Mr. Rabbi, I'm paralyzed. I can't do that. How cruel. It's impossible," have any excuse, he just did it. Because with the commandment comes the enablement. God's commandments are his enablements. If God says do something, you can never say, "I can't." He would never say, "Do it," unless he knew you could. "Peter, you want to walk on water? Do it." "Okay." He starts doing it till this thought comes, "I can't walk on water," foom! So whenever you read a command of Scripture, a promise in the Bible, know that there is power in the very Word of God itself.

It's not just paper and ink and chapters and verse covered in leather for you to peruse and mentally research, get all the facts and figures together, it's the powerful Word of God where you find the principle, the precept. Grab a hold of that. " 'Stretch out your hand.' And he did, and it was restored as whole as the other. But they were filled with rage." Now, really, really, really? A guy got healed: "I am so mad!" I would be so amazed. I would be like so, "Whoa! Did you see that?" When was the last time they saw that? When was the last time they were able to pray or say something and a guy was healed? Never er er. [laughter] They just saw a healing, and they're angry instead of joyful, instead of amazed, instead of awestruck? They're angry.

You know what I have noticed: religious people can be the most narrow minded and hardest to be around people in the universe. When we were in Tbilisi, Georgia, with Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Association doing a crusade, the greatest enemies we faced were the organized religion, Christian churches of the area picketing. There was a little---to get into this meeting place, there was a little walkway you had to go through. It was filled on either side with church representatives with the plaques that said "SHAME." It was called "the walk of shame." "Shame of you if you walk through this line and get into this stadium to hear the gospel. Shame on you. We'll kick you out of our church." Filled with rage, instead of joy that people are hearing about their Christ that they claim that they serve.

And I find in sending missionaries out around the world, usually the greatest enemies are religious folks. Give me honest heathens any day, they're just a lot easier to work with. My wife didn't grow up in a church, she grew up an atheist, and I found her so refreshing, no baggage, none at all, just open. Once she got converted to Christ, "I'm all in," 100 percent, no playing games, no religious facsimiles, just the real stuff. They are angry, "filled with rage, and discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus." They should've fallen down and worship him and said, "You're God." "Now it came to pass in those days that he went out to the mountain to pray, and he continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples to himself; and from them he chose twelve whom he named apostles [or disciples]."

That means "learners," "followers." They're apostles, ones that he would send out. "Simon, whom he called Peter, Andrew his brother; James, John; Phillip, Bartholomew," also called Nathanael. He was the guy who said, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" "Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor." There are four lists in the New Testament that have these guys listed. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts have them. In all of those four lists, there are three things that are always constant: number one, Peter is always mentioned first; number two, Judas is always mentioned last; and number three, James is always before his brother John, because he was the older.

Here's the list of those that he chose. Any PR consultant would have said, "Bad choice to start a movement with. These guys, really? These guys together? You may want to think twice," except for one. There was probably---there would be one person on that list they would have thought, "Good choice, more sophisticated than the rest": Judas, because he's Judas Iscariot. He was from a village down south in Judea, a very intellectually based, population based, white collar, called Kerioth. And Kerioth is where the sophisticates were from down south. The rest of them were---they were Galileans. You know, they were like, you know, hayseed, straw in the mouth, pickup truck, shotgun in the back, you know, just kind of hicks, unsophisticates. Judas was sophisticated and they trusted him, that's why they made him the treasurer.

He watched the money. Of course, I'm---this is tongue in cheek. You know what happened him. He was a traitor. "And he came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, and came to hear him and he healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him, for power went out from him and he healed them all." And I'm looking at what I have left---impossible. [laughter] So we will have to get it next time we gather together. But I think, and I think I'm right when I think this, I think that we should all be encouraged looking at the list of these fellows that Jesus chose.

Because I look at the list and I can relate to Peter, I can relate to Thomas, I can relate to Nathanael. I can relate to so many of their activities, the tendencies, even in Judas. I'm encouraged that Jesus chose them. Because I look at his team and I go, "Okay, I think I can be on your team. If these guys could be on your team, I think I can be. If you're all about choosing 'the foolish things of this world,' I think I can do that." Don't you take encouragement from this? You might say, "No, no, no, no, no, I don't. I really would rather join a group that is erudite and brilliant and . . . ." Okay. There are exceptions to the rule: "God has chosen the foolish things." There's "not many mighty, not many noble who are called." He didn't say, "not any mighty, not any noble." There are notable figures throughout history.

Paul the apostle would be high on that list, an intellectual, very erudite. But for the most part, anyone who will say, "Take me, Lord. Send me," he'll say, "Okay, I'll do it." And I just think this: if he can take these twelve guys, really eleven, and change the world, what could he do with 1,100 or 11,000 changed and on fire? What will he want to do through your life this week? Don't know, but it's going to be fun to find out. Father, we just say to you, "Here I am. Send me. Here we are. Send us." We fit the bill. We fit the description. We are filled sometimes with doubts, we speak ahead of turn, we want to call fire down from heaven, we have all of these tendencies, even many times of the Pharisees and the scribes, but, oh, the patience you have with us.

And even those that have sorted backgrounds, you say, "Ah, but I can turn you into a 'gift,' and I can give you to a group, or to a person, or to a neighborhood, or to a nation, or to a city, and I can use you." So we, like the prophets, say, "Here we are, Lord. Send us. Here I am! Send me." Do your work, your will through us. And even as you called Matthew and said, "Matthew, tax collector, you, follow me." Maybe you're saying to some here, "Follow me. Make a commitment and trust in me. Don't have to go the way of religion, just have the way of relating to me, relationship with me. Follow me." And if Jesus is calling you to follow him tonight, I want to give you an opportunity to respond.

With our heads bowed and our eyes are closed in this room if you're here, and you don't personally walk with Jesus Christ, you're not a disciple of his, you don't follow him, you don't walk in obedience to him yet, you may be a religious person, you might have no faith at all, but if you are willing to give your life to Christ, have your sins forgiven, he'll give you eternal life, and he'll give you abundant life, a joy filled life. If you want that, you must receive that. It's a gift. And if you are willing to do that, I want you to raise your hand up right now as we close this service, so I can acknowledge your hand. Keep it up high just for a moment so I can see it. God bless you toward the back on my right; and on my right; and in the middle on my right side. Anyone else? Raise that hand up. Raise it up high.

You're saying yes to Jesus. You're saying, "I want to receive the gift of eternal life tonight. I want to be on your team, Lord Jesus." Anyone else? Toward the back. Father, thank you, strengthen them who are making this commitment. And if you raised your hand tonight, just right where you're at would you say: Lord Jesus, come into my life. I believe you died for me, and in shedding your blood you will grant me forgiveness. I believe you died, I believe you rose from the dead, and you purchased for me salvation. I turn from my sin. I turn to you as my Savior. I make you my Lord. I want to follow you every day, in Jesus' name, amen.

Closing: If you've missed any of our Expound studies, all of our services and resources are available at expoundabq.org.

Additional Messages in this Series

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6/25/2014
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Luke 1:1-25
Luke 1:1-25
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Luke gave a methodical account of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection that painted just one perspective of the full portrait of Christ. In this study, we recount the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments and see how God closed the Old Testament with both a promise and a curse. In a natural segue, Luke picked up on that promise with the story of Zacharias and Elizabeth, and we see how God turned the curse into grace when Jesus entered the picture.
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7/9/2014
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Luke 1:26-80
Luke 1:26-80
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Two thousand years ago, an angel announced to the young virgin Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God. Her response of faith and song of praise demonstrated a deep love for the Lord. As we close out the first chapter of Luke, we are also introduced to the man who would announce Jesus the Messiah, and we are exhorted to reevaluate our own concept of greatness in light of God's view.
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7/16/2014
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Luke 2
Luke 2
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As we study the birth of Jesus in Luke 2, we learn about the events surrounding this special occasion, including the days leading up to Jesus' birth, Joseph and Mary's journey to Bethlehem, the angel's proclamation to the shepherds, and blessings from two people present at Jesus' dedication in the temple. Through these events recorded in Luke's gospel, we are reminded about God's sovereignty, Jesus' humility, and our salvation.
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7/30/2014
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Luke 3
Luke 3
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In Luke 3, we are introduced to John, the forerunner of Jesus. Although John seemed to be an unusual man and shocked many people by what he said and did, his dedication to follow the Lord is what made his life count. Jesus even said that there hasn't been anyone greater than John. As we get a glimpse into his life and character, we are directed to the message he wished to proclaim: Jesus Christ the Messiah.
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8/6/2014
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The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
Luke 3:23-38
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When studying the Scriptures, genealogies can often be overlooked, mistakenly seen as an unimportant list of names. But as we consider the genealogy of Christ found in Luke 3, we find that the lineage of Mary, Jesus' mother, shows us four important things about Christ and solves one of the biggest problems of the Old Testament.
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8/13/2014
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Luke 4:1-29
Luke 4:1-29
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After Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River and filled with the Holy Spirit, He was led into the wilderness, where He experienced a season of oppression and conflict. In this study, we see the tempting offers the Devil extended to Jesus and how Jesus handled them, and we learn how to overcome our own temptations.
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9/3/2014
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Luke 4:16-5:26
Luke 4:16-5:26
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As we wrap up Luke 4 and begin our study in Luke 5, we continue to explore the public ministry of Jesus, examining aspects of His character as the promised Messiah, our compassionate healer, our great teacher, and the Son of Man who forgives sins. In this passage of Scripture, we learn what it means to serve the Lord and follow Him with uncompromised obedience.
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9/17/2014
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Luke 6:17-7:23
Luke 6:17-7:23
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Jesus' public ministry of preaching to the multitudes and performing miracles went against the flow of the world—especially since He reached out to the downtrodden with love and grace. As we continue our study through Luke 6-7, we examine a different take on the Beatitudes, observe an extraordinary encounter with a Roman centurion that even left Jesus amazed, and learn what it means to live with Jesus as our Lord.
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9/24/2014
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Luke 7:19-8:3
Luke 7:19-8:3
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As we finish our study of Luke 7, John the Baptist comes back into the picture, this time imprisoned and doubting who Jesus is. But Jesus comforted John through the message He sent, and we consider why Jesus called this final Old Testament prophet great. Then, in a passage of Scripture found only in Luke's gospel, we observe the great mercy Jesus extended to the outcasts of society He often spent time with—in this case, women.
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10/1/2014
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Luke 8:1-39
Luke 8:1-39
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Jesus displayed a great measure of compassion throughout His ministry on earth, whether He was performing miraculous works or revealing deep spiritual truths. In this study of Luke 8, we consider Jesus' power to save and heal us, and we learn from His actions and parables about what it means to grow spiritually and place our faith in Him.
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10/8/2014
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Luke 8:40-9:17
Luke 8:40-9:17
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The miracles Jesus performed show that He is sovereign, compassionate, and powerful. Throughout His ministry on earth, a number of people approached Him by faith to ask for healing. As we study Luke 8-9, we see how Jesus met these people where they were and how He challenged His own disciples to trust in God's provision. We are reminded that God cares deeply for us and that He will use us in big ways if we offer Him what we have.
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10/29/2014
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Luke 9:18-62
Luke 9:18-62
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Over the centuries, countless groups and individuals have made claims about the person of Jesus Christ, but that's not enough to know who He really is. Luke presents an accurate picture as he records both Jesus' claims about Himself and what those nearest said about Him. As we continue our study in Luke 9, we consider two different ways to approach life, how to navigate mountaintop and valley experiences, and how worship and evangelism should naturally weave together in our lives.
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11/5/2014
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Luke 10
Luke 10
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The service we give to the Lord is important, but it's equally important to sit before Him in adoration. In Luke 10, we read that Jesus sent out a group of His followers to share His message of peace, told the parable of the good Samaritan, and encountered sisters Mary and Martha. As we study these stories, we are reminded to keep our focus on Christ.
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11/19/2014
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Luke 11:1-28
Luke 11:1-28
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As the disciples listened to Jesus' teachings and watched Him perform miraculous works, they also saw His dynamic prayer life with God the Father. In this study of Luke 11, we learn that praising and pouting are difficult to do at the same time, see Jesus' great power as he encountered an unclean spirit, and break down the prayer that He gave to the disciples.
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1/7/2015
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Luke 11:29-12:21
Luke 11:29-12:21
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As the antagonism toward Jesus began to grow, the focus of Luke's gospel transitions from the works of Jesus to the words of Jesus. In this study, we see that the Pharisees were unwilling to accept Jesus, focusing only on outward acts. We are cautioned to watch out for hypocrisy in our lives and focus on our relationship with God rather than material satisfaction.
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1/14/2015
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Luke 12:22-13:9
Luke 12:22-13:9
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As Jesus began His private ministry to His disciples, He explained what the attitude of His followers should be. In this study, we are reminded that we can rest in God's care because of our new relationship with Him, even when we're tempted to worry. We are also challenged to let our faith become action by living differently than the world and working to bring others into God's kingdom while we still can.
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1/28/2015
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Luke 13:10-14:24
Luke 13:10-14:24
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Jesus often searched out those who were overlooked by society. He wanted to heal them and love them so He could showcase His work in them to the world. Unfortunately, His acts of love weren't always accepted. In this study, we see the response of His religious adversaries who strictly adhered to the Law of the Old Testament. We also learn that tradition can cause us to miss the most important thing: a relationship with the Lord.
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2/4/2015
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Luke 14:15-15:32
Luke 14:15-15:32
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Jesus was a master storyteller, and He shared stories that shed light on some important truths. In this study, we examine five different parables of Jesus about things that had been lost. We learn what our highest priority should be, what it really means to be a disciple, and what the Lord is all about—rescuing those who were once lost and redeeming them for His glory.
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2/11/2015
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Luke 16:1-18
Luke 16:1-18
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After Jesus addressed several religious leaders in Luke 15, He turned His attention to the disciples to teach about stewardship. Jesus essentially asked them what they were investing their lives in—the temporal or the eternal? In this study, we learn that we must answer this same question and that our response will reveal who we truly serve.
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2/18/2015
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Luke 16:19-17:37
Luke 16:19-17:37
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As Jesus continued to talk to His disciples and the nearby Pharisees, He told them stories about the kingdom of heaven and warned those listening about their eternal fate. He also shared four basic things expected of those who follow Him. In this message, we're challenged to forgive freely, serve faithfully, live thankfully, and be prepared for Jesus' second coming.
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3/11/2015
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Luke 18
Luke 18
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In Luke 18, Jesus continued to share parables with those He encountered, explaining that humility and persistence in prayer are pleasing to the Lord. We also see Him tenderly bless children and call out a rich young ruler's obsession with wealth before we wrap up the chapter by looking at the faith of a blind man Jesus healed.
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3/25/2015
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Luke 19
Luke 19
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In Luke 19, Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem as the Messiah and the Passover Lamb, beginning the grand finale of His life: death on the cross. As we look at the story of Zacchaeus, we learn that all of us are short in stature, spiritually speaking. We're also challenged to faithfully serve the Lord, and we study one of the Bible's most intricate prophecies about the end times.
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4/1/2015
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Luke 20
Luke 20
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Luke 20 is all about confrontation: in the middle of the crowded temple court, Jesus addressed the Pharisees and Sadducees' pointed questions with sharp wisdom and divine discernment. Mere days before His crucifixion, we also see Jesus expose the sin of His chosen people and discuss the topics of baptism, taxes, and the resurrection of the dead.
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4/8/2015
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Luke 21
Luke 21
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As Jesus continued to teach in the temple just days before His death, He noted the generosity of a poor widow and then launched into the Olivet Discourse, in which He gave an overview of what the end times will look like. This chapter of Luke is extremely relevant for believers today as we watch and wait for Jesus to come back and establish His kingdom on earth.
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4/15/2015
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Luke 22:1-46
Luke 22:1-46
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In Luke 22, Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Passover, which was—and is—of monumental importance to the Jewish nation. As we get into the details of the Passover meal itself, we examine how Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross would soon transform the meal's meaning, and we are reminded of the coming kingdom and Jesus' love for all people.
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4/22/2015
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Luke 22:39-23:1
Luke 22:39-23:1
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Human life—including human failure—began in the garden of Eden, but new life began in the garden of Gethsemane. In the second half of Luke 22, we see how Jesus fought the battle for our eternal fate, and we learn about Judas' betrayal and Peter's denial, both of which demonstrate God's sovereignty and control.
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4/29/2015
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Luke 23
Luke 23
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Luke 23 details the sentencing, beating, crucifixion, and death of Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. In our study of this chapter, we explore the significance of where Jesus was crucified and ponder the great truth that the cross had to come before the empty tomb.
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5/6/2015
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Luke 24
Luke 24
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As we wrap up our study in the book of Luke, we zero in on the event that sets Christianity apart from every other religion: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this message, we dive into the details surrounding the resurrection, including the women's visit to the tomb, the disciples' conversation on the road to Emmaus, and Jesus' ascension.
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There are 28 additional messages in this series.