Luke 5:33-39 - Don't Miss Him

Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:01
0 ratings
Today’s message focuses in on some further inquisitive questions from religious leaders and others into why Jesus did what He did on earth. We expect this out of the Pharisees and Scribes and religious elites. But what is unexpected is that the disciples of John join in on the questioning of Jesus.
We are going to see what happens when you miss Christ. He is right there in front of them but they are missing it. In an effort to continue in their legalism and religiosity, they refuse to fully grasp the greatness of Christ and the New Covenant that He brings.
Join me as we read today’s Scripture.
Read Full Scripture:
Luke 5:33–39 ESV
And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “Can you make 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.” He also told them a parable: “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 from 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 is good.’ ”
Today we will see three things that the disciples of John and others like them missed. We do not want to be blinded like they were. The first is…

I. You Don’t Want to Miss the Redeemer (33-35)

Luke 5:33 ESV
And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.”
In the context we are given, the ‘they’ are the Pharisees and Scribes here. Unmoved by Jesus’ kindness, mercy, grace, miracles, and healings - they get right back into asserting their legalism. And this time, instead of pitting themselves against Jesus - they go after Jesus’ relative (John) and his disciples and try to pit them against one another. And sadly, with their leader in prison, John’s disciples, as seen in Matthew 9:14, go along with this plan.
Matthew 9:14 ESV
Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
We expect this response from the Pharisees and Scribes. But for John’s disciples to do this as well? How are they missing the Christ! How are they missing the one of whom John shouted:
John 1:36 ESV
and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
If you recall from earlier in our study in Luke, John preached a fiery message of repentance. And many came and were baptized by him and went their way. He let them know that the Messiah was coming and the kingdom of God was at hand. But many of these disciples didn’t get it. We know they didn’t get it because of the book of Acts. Look at where some of these disciples where spiritually-speaking in Ephesus as Paul gets there in Acts 19.
Acts 19:1–5 ESV
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, do you see this? These disciples of John completely missed Jesus. They heard the Messiah was coming and they completely missed him. They completely missed the redeemer of all mankind.
Instead of looking for and looking to Jesus, they turned to religious activity. They started hanging out with the Pharisees and Scribes and religious leaders. They turned toward legalism and works-based religion in order to try to be holy enough for the kingdom of God.
And one of these religious works that they turned to was fasting. This was a hot button issue for the religious elites. Despite the entire Old Testament only commanding one fast which is found in Leviticus 16:29 which was on the Day of Atonement, the religious elites had decided that fasting should occur twice weekly on every Monday and Thursday (Luke 18:12). Yes, there were other various times of fasting that people performed throughout the Old Testament, but these were usually in times of desperation and mourning and were not regular and mandated Jewish fasts.
The fact that Jesus wasn’t following their man-made religious activities outraged them. Who did Jesus think He was not following their man-made doctrine?
Listen to Jesus’ response:
Luke 5:34–35 ESV
And Jesus said to them, “Can you make 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.”
Jesus lets those who hear know that He is the Messiah.
He refers to Himself as the bridegroom which has a strong teaching built within this metaphor.
God referred to Himself throughout the Old Testament as a bridegroom of Israel. The entire book of Hosea is an illustration of this as God compares Israel to an unfaithful wife. Jesus’s illustration here is deeper than meets the eye.
But in this metaphor, Jesus creates a paradox for His questioners as well as those following Him. He lets them know that this is no time to fast while He is on earth. This is a time for feasting. The Messiah has come to earth. The redeemer has arrived! You don’t fast at a wedding banquet! You feast!
Yet, in the same vein, this wedding (from an earthly perspective) is somewhat of a tragedy in the making. The bridegroom will be taken away. The bridegroom will be crucified.
You see, there was only one way for Christ to be the redeemer. He had to take our sins upon Him on the cross.
And Jesus says, after He is taken, then fasting can take place.
As we reflect on this first section here, I want us to focus in on John’s disciples especially. They had heard about the coming Messiah and the coming of the Kingdom of God and had responded with repentance. Yet they still missed Christ because they relied on their own works to make themselves righteous. True salvation includes both repentance and faith. They had the first without the second.
How sad is this friends? They had an opportunity to follow the Messiah right then and there and they missed it.
As I will mention time and time again today, don’t miss Christ. Don’t miss the Savior. Don’t miss the redeemer.
Next we see that…
Scripture References: Matthew 9:14, John 1:36, Acts 19:1-5, Leviticus 16:29, Luke 18:12, Hosea 1-14

II. You Don’t Want to Miss the Revealing (36-38)

Luke 5:36 ESV
He also told them a parable: “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 from the new will not match the old.
After calling Himself the bridegroom, Christ begins revealing the New Covenant through parables.
This is the first time in the Gospel of Luke that we are introduced to one of Jesus’ parables - Greek being parabolē (para-bo-lay). This Greek word is used 17 times in the Gospel of Luke alone (45 times in the Gospels combined) and will become more commonly used as we move forward.
The new garment speaks of the New Covenant which is the redemption that Jesus Christ provides for sinners by grace through faith and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). And this teaching is in stark contrast to a works-based righteousness.
This new covenant, as we will see in a moment, makes the Old Covenant obsolete - see Hebrews 8:13
Hebrews 8:13 ESV
In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
There is no salvation provided by the Old Covenant now. Jesus is the only way as we see in John 14:6. This is because everything in the Old Covenant looked forward to the New Covenant! See Hebrews 10:4
Hebrews 10:4 ESV
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
All of these Old Covenant sacrifices pointed to the true sacrificial Lamb - namely Jesus Christ - whose blood would cover the sins of the saints past and future.
Before digging into Christ’s illustrations regarding this teaching, one clarification must be made that has been falsely assumed by the church because of an unclear teaching on this subject. The old garment is not the entire Old Testament. This Scripture has been wrongly taught by many in the past. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, Christ did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). We discussed that Christ completed, once for all, the need for the ceremonial Law by His sacrificial death on the cross but that the moral Law of God continues onward even today. The moral law of God is still in effect today (Romans 7:12). Sin is still sin.
But the glorious blessing that we have is that Christ has also accomplished that moral law on our behalf because we are unable to be morally perfect! And now this new teaching is that we can be saved by grace through faith and not by works because Christ accomplished salvation for us. Praise be to God for this amazing teaching and knowledge!
The old garment mentioned here and the old wineskins that we will see in a moment, are metaphors for the works-based, self-righteous, Pharisaic Judiasm taught by the religious elites of the day.
Jesus wanted them to know that there was no room for trying to put these two teachings together. In fact, his analogies given claim that these two teachings and understandings were and are completely incompatible.
Jesus illustrates this incompatibility for us in the Scripture given to us today. You don’t tear a piece from a new garment to put it on an old one. Luke gives us part of this parable and lets us know that there will be a matching problem. Matthew gives us a little more detail on what will ultimately happen in this scenario:
Matthew 9:16 ESV
No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made.
Both the new garment and the old garment are ruined in this parable. You can’t mix the two. In the illustration, when you wash the patched garment, the new patch will tear the garment and leave a worse hole than what you began with. In the same way, trying to put works-based righteousness and salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ ruins the whole person.
Let’s see his next illustration:
Luke 5:37–38 ESV
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.
When wine ferments it releases carbon dioxide as a gas and expands the container. First century Jews used animal skins that they would put the juice in and allow it ferment. As it fermented, the wineskin would expand which would stretch the skin to its maximum length.
If one were to try to reuse the old wineskin with new wine, the wineskin would eventually burst because it could not stretch any further without tearing and bursting.
As we can see in both analogies, it is impossible to mix worked-based legalism and salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus knew that many would try to syncretize the two. This means trying to reconcile and merge the two into one new religion. And He was right as always. As we will address more fully in our next point, Paul spends much of the book of Galatians railing at the fact that the church in Galatia continues to go back to works-based righteousness and righteousness from the Law instead of salvation by faith alone.
If we are honest with ourselves, we all can tend to lean that way. We can sometimes measure our righteousness by what we don’t do even more than what we do. This temptation to exalt ourselves in areas where we are strong and negate areas where we are weak leads us to puff ourselves up some as we look around at others who may not have arrived at where we are.
These thoughts are anti-Gospel and must be repented of. We must see ourselves as beggars in need of a Savior.
However, it is not just conservative Christians that struggle with this. Even in theologically liberal churches, legalism is common. Their legalism is found in their acceptance of other people’s sin. They see non-judgement as a badge of holiness. They see acceptance of sin as marker for righteousness. They see love as negating the need for truth.
I love the late John Stott’s quote regarding love and truth:
"Our love grows soft if it is not strengthened by truth, and our truth grows hard if it is not softened by love." John Stott
We must have both. Love and truth. Jesus was the ultimate example of both while on earth. And He commands us to follow Him in this.
We have seen that we don’t want to miss the redeemer in our first point. And now we have seen that we don’t want to miss the revealing - Christ revealing the New Covenant which provides salvation for all who would trust in Him.
And finally,
Scripture References: Ephesians 2:8-9, Hebrews 8:13, John 14:6, Hebrews 10:4, Matthew 5:17, Romans 7:12, Matthew 9:16

III. You Don’t Want to Miss the Result (39)

Luke 5:39 ESV
And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’ ”
Jesus ends with new and different parable. Some mistakenly include this into the previous two. However, Jesus is making a completely different point here. He is talking about man’s innate desire to resist change - especially if that change requires one to give up something.
Certainly new is not always better.
In our world today, new ideas are not oftentimes the most holy and righteous! New laws in many states and in our federal government are oftentimes not better or more righteous - although we can celebrate a few that have passed.
But what Jesus is discussing here is most certainly better than the old! He is referring to the New Covenant coming through His blood.
To understand this struggle of man’s resistance of change, check out Galatians 5:1-3:
Galatians 5:1–3 ESV
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.
This church had heard the Gospel. Many people were saved. Yet, many others continued to want to follow in their work-based righteousness and not accept the free gift of salvation by grace and faith alone.
Listen to Paul rail against them even further in Galatians 3:1-3
Galatians 3:1–3 ESV
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
He has some harsh words for them. Do they think they can add to what Christ has done? Do they see Christ’s sacrifice as needing more added? How foolish they are to think such things Paul asserts.
Looking back at our Scripture, I must admit that many today still consider the old good and resist the new.
Luke 5:39 ESV
And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’ ”
Brothers and sisters. Each of us have grown up with a certain way things were done. We all have traditions in our families. And many of these traditions are subtly or even overtly religious in nature. We have a certain view of God because that is what our parents taught us. We have a certain view of the Bible because that is what we learned at home and at church. Some in our churches may even have other religious views and believe in a god much different that the God of the Bible and not even fully realize it!
What Jesus is saying here is that it is hard for people to accept new teachings when their old ones are so ingrained. Some people will resist new teachings entirely by avoiding them and refusing to discuss them. Others will give a head nod but let it go in one ear and out the other. Others may respond with harshness and animosity.
And because of these responses to the Gospel, many believers won’t share the truth of the Gospel with others. They don’t want to face persecution or backlash for saying something that might make others uncomfortable. The teaching that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and that all other religions on earth are wrong is very controversial today more than ever. In a world full of relative truth, an objective truth taught unapologetically often leads to persecution and hate.
But my friends, Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is the only way. He is the only truth. He is the only way to eternal life. He is the sinless Son of God who died on the cross for the sins of the world so that those who respond to the Gospel through faith, belief, and repentance can have eternal life.
And because this is the truth, we don’t want to make unsaved people feel comfortable with where they are. Because where they are is on a path doomed to destruction in a real place called Hell. Instead, we want them to completely be born again and changed by the Gospel.
We don’t want them to try to add in the teachings of Christianity with their current religion. We don’t want them to try to sprinkle in some Bible to go with their Quran, Book of Mormon, or even their post-modern ideas.
We want them to understand the result of Christ’s teaching here. The result is that if one resists the new covenant, namely salvation through Jesus Christ, they will not be saved. The result of not accepting this free gift is eternal destruction.
But the result of receiving the free gift of Jesus Christ through repentance and faith is eternal life! What better result is there in the world?
Scripture References: Galatians 5:1-3, Galatians 3:1-3
As we come to a close, I want us to consider two important questions.
Have I missed Christ?
Are there people in my life that have missed Christ?
First, be sure to reflect on your own life. Are you like John’s disciples and have missed Christ because you are too busy trying to be religious? Maybe you are like the Galatians and you are trying to earn your way to salvation even after hearing about the Messiah.
Make sure you haven’t missed Christ. Make sure that you have truly repented of your sins and that you realize that you are saved not by works but by the saving work of Jesus Christ.
And second, look at those around you. Your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers. Have they missed Christ? Have their driven by church after church and have either ignored the presence of the church or maybe even have been sinned against by someone at a church and missed Christ because they were so focused on a person. Be sure they don’t miss Christ because of nearsightedness. We in the church are a bunch of sinners. Stick around long enough and someone will sin against you! But we worship Jesus Christ and not human beings. And we need to point them to the Savior and not the sinner who has been saved. Because we are all works in progress! I pray we are quick to repent and make things right. I pray that we do show grace, mercy, and love to one another at CrossPointe. But may we always point ourselves and others toward Christ above all. May we never miss Christ. And may we always point others to Him so that they will hopefully not miss Him either.
Consider Israel missing Christ on Palm Sunday - during the Triumphal Entry. They welcomed Christ in the way they wanted Him to be and not in who He was. Don’t miss Christ this week.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more