This morning I read from Luke chapter 5. Jesus gets into Simon’s boat and teaches, then he tells Simon to let down his net. Simon respectfully says that they had fished all night and that there were no fish to be caught in that area, nevertheless he concedes to let the net down. The net is nearly torn bearing the load of so many fish, so that Simon must call for reinforcement to haul in the catch. What is Simon’s response to this event?
“Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
And does Jesus go away? No, Simon and three other fishermen leave everything and follow Jesus.
Later in the chapter Jesus heals a leprous man who asks Him, “Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean.”
A paralytic’s friends carry him into Jesus’ presence to be healed. Jesus responds to their faith by saying, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you,” and sends the paralytic home walking on his own two feet carrying his mat.
Jesus astonishes the crowds, they go away glorifying God.
Jesus calls a tax collector to follow Him and the man leaves everything to go with Jesus. Later Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees and their scribes.
Jesus speaks to them indirectly and with a parable. He compares Himself to a physician who has come to heal the sick – those who recognize their need of a doctor. He says that it is not possible to place new wine in old wineskins or they will burst; that the container for new wine must also be new in order to stretch with the fermenting wine. And then Jesus said something I have overlooked many times until this morning. He says, “And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’” (Luke 5:39)
Simon recognizes his sinfulness in the presence of Jesus the Lord. The Leper knows his need of a physician, and asks if Jesus is ‘willing’ to heal. The friends of the paralytic have confidence in the rumors regarding the ability of this ‘healer’ and go to great lengths for their friend. The tax collector understands, in some measure, the honor of being called to follow Jesus – he is considered the evil rich of his day. These all acknowledge their need for a healer, a forgiver of sins.
“But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.” (Luke 5:24)
But the Pharisees, they are different than the rest of the crowd following the Carpenter. They challenge His authority, His healing, His miracles. They are the old wineskins, satisfied with the old wine.
So, who am I? Am I a religious person who tries to do the right thing, but never really see my sin and my need for a healer who can also forgive? Do I obey hesitantly and doubt the power of my Lord? Can I open my eyes far enough to let in the light that reveals the sinful nature of my heart? That is the question I ask myself today. Am I satisfied with the status quo of my Christian life and say, ‘the old wine is good enough’ or do I see that each day there is a need to humble myself before Jesus and acknowledge my self-satisfaction and my empty good deeds that bear no reflection of His glory?
I desire to identify myself with Christ based on His merit and forget that all that I had to trade was a sick, evil, and proud heart. And yet He was willing. What was the response of those who were healed and forgiven? They renounced the control of their lives and followed Him glorifying God.
I must examine my life and recognize the areas that I have resisted relinquishing to Jesus. This is my prayer. That today, Jesus would tell me where to lower my net, and I would quickly respond in obedience and watch expectantly to see how He will fill those places in my life. His past dealings with me confirms His gracious and overwhelming generosity, yet something holds me back that I long to be rid of. That too will occupy my prayers.