Keeping the Message Pure
Jesus and His disciples are having dinner at His latest apostolic convert’s house (that would be Matthew). At this point in Jesus’ ministry, the Pharisees are following Him around to try to catch Him doing something for which they can accuse Him of blasphemy. True to form, they got upset because Jesus’ disciples weren’t fasting. Jesus replies:
“Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” Lk. 5:34, 35. ESV
Jesus is saying that when He (the bridegroom) was with His disciples, it was time for rejoicing, not mourning. He is also alluding (unbeknownst to the Pharisees) that He is also aware of His impending death and resurrection.
In addition, Jesus is insinuating that He is the ultimate authority with regards to the correct interpretation of God’s word. Indeed, He then plies them with His first recorded parable to offer greater illumination:
“No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece of the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.
And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old one is good.’ “ Lk. 5:36 – 39. ESV
In the example of the garment, Jesus is describing a process well-known at that time, whereby his hearers understood that using a new piece of cloth to patch an old piece of clothing would tear away unless it was first ‘preshrunk’ with pressure + heat + moisture.
What Jesus was trying to get the Pharisees to understand was that their ways (often twisted) of Judaism could not contain the New Covenant message because His gospel was not a patch for the old system.
Similarly, the people in Jesus’ time also understood that new fermenting wine must be put into new wineskins that could hold the pressure caused by the ‘out-gassing’ in that process.
What He’s telling the Pharisees is that they can’t mix His message with their old one. Moreover, He finishes His parable by pointing out that they want to stubbornly cling to their old ways and are unwilling to listen to His gospel.
That is not to say that the Mosaic Law does not have its place, but that’s a long discussion for another time. It’s just that the Pharisees had corrupted it with their own traditions and man-made interpretations. God is very clear about keeping His message pure:
“You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Dt. 4:2 NKJV
Every word of God is pure…Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you… Pr. 30:5, 6. NKJV
So here we have God speaking through both Moses and King Solomon, commanding us to keep His word pure. Jesus Himself speaks of His reverence for the Law:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass away from the Law until all is accomplished.” Mt. 5:17, 18. ESV
Jesus came to bring the Law into its final evolution.
At the end of the Bible, we have the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ – a sweeping landscape that encompasses the advent of the first and second coming of Christ and the victory of the gospel over evil. At that book’s end, we find a similar admonishment against distorting the gospel message as God speaks through the apostle John:
If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Rv. 22:18, 19. NKJV
It doesn’t get any clearer than that. If we’re speaking of things spiritual, we must speak what God speaks and nothing else. After all, Jesus Himself is the Living Word of God; and what does He say?
My teaching is not My own, but His Who sent Me. If any man desires to do His will (God’s pleasure), he will know (have the needed illumination to recognize, and can tell for himself), whether the teaching is from God, or whether I am speaking from Myself and of My own accord and on My own authority. Jn. 7:16, 17. AMP
Jesus speaks for His Father; and as we seek Them out, They will illuminate our spirit to know that.
We have been entrusted with God’s salvation message and commanded to spread it to everyone we can. (Lk. 24:44 – 48.)
Those that ‘do their own thing’ instead will pay a heavy price:
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth… 1 Tim. 6:3 – 5. ESV
We definitely do not want to listen to them nor be counted among them.
We are privileged with a Holy Spirit-empowered job to do. Let’s keep that message pure, which we can do when we keep our Jesus contact…
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded of you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Mt. 28:19, 20. NKJV
Goodnight and God bless.