The Newness of Christ (Luke 5:33-39)

The Newness of Christ (Luke 5:33-39)


Jim Johnston The most miserable Christians I’ve seen are those who live with a foot in both worlds.

The kind of person Jesus calls to repentance is one who acknowledges his sin. The righteous have no need of Christ. His opponents respond with another question.

In comparison with Matthew and Mark, there doesn’t seem to be a chronological connection between Levi’s feast and these questions. The connection is thematic.

Why are Jesus and his disciples frequently at odds with the religious leaders of the day?

Christ’s presence ushered in a new protocol filled with celebration and joy.

Read Luke 5:33-39

A Question About Fasting (33-35)

The disciples of John were also present (Matt & Mark). The Pharisees would’ve loved to bring division between them.

They’re asking, “Are the disciples of Jesus unconcerned with piety. They don’t fast and pray, but they’re always at parties.”

Jesus reveals his identity and questions his opponents. Obviously, their rejection of Jesus, means they must continue to mourn for the bridegroom.

In the future, Jesus will depart, then they will fast again.

Fasting only prescribed on Day of Atonement. But several individuals took voluntary oaths. Three types of fasting in the Old Testament (in addition to Day of Atonement):

  1. Crises – Judges, 2 Chron., Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.
  2. Confession – 1 Sam., Joel, and Jonah
  3. Mourning – 1 Sam., 2 Sam., 1 Chron.

The Pharisees, with disfigured faces, emphasized this last purpose in their practice of fasting 2x/wk.

Rabbinic tradition forbid fasting on the wedding day because it hindered joy.

OT: Bridegroom = God (Isa. 54:5-8; 62:4-5; Jer. 2:2; Ezek. 16; Hos. 2:18, 21).

NT: Bridegroom = Jesus (Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 19:7-10).

This paradigm shift ushered in a celebration, that is seriously hindered by corporate fasting.

1 Peter 1:8

Fasting isn’t always appropriate. It restricts receiving hospitality.

However, fasting is not optional. From the crucifixion until his return, Christ’s disciples will fast.

Jesus supports his theological answer with…

A Parable About Newness (36-39)

  1. Garments – Both garments would be ruined.
  2. New Wine – As new wine ferments it will burst the old wineskin.
  3. Old Wine – Probably referring to Jews who rejected Christ.

The connection to fasting is that the old way of doing things is being transformed.

Trying to combine legalistic tradition (old) with Christ’s Kingdom (new) wouldn’t work. The two systems are incompatible. This new stage in Redemptive History calls for new practices.

It’s hard to overcome the power of tradition. There are plenty of modern examples where secondary matters are elevated to primary importance. Our tendency to overemphasize the wrong things implies the frailty of our unity around the main thing.

This isn’t arguing that new is always good and relevant and that old is always bad and outdated.

The new here is Jesus Christ – who remains forever relevant, from his appearing 2000 years ago into eternity!

Christ’s presence has turned sorrow and mourning into celebration and joy.

Yet, there remains this Already/Not Yet component to our faith. We await the full consummation of God’s covenant promises. We can expect seasons of despair to interrupt our joy from time to time.

But the primary challenge is to disciples who remain gloomy because they don’t acknowledge Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises.

Those hedging their bets with a foot in both worlds…


  1. A Question About Fasting (33-35)
  2. A Parable About Newness (36-39)

Christ’s presence ushered in a new protocol filled with celebration and joy.

Ryle It will signify little at the last day what we thought about fasting, and eating, and drinking, and ceremonies. Did we repent, and bring forth fruits meet with repentance? Did we behold the Lamb of God by faith, and receive Him as our Savior? All, of every church, who are found right on these points, will be saved. All, of every church, who are found wrong on these points, will be lost forevermore.

Which one describes you?