Jesus went back again to the shore of Lake Galilee. A crowd came to him, and he started teaching them. 14 As he walked along, he saw a tax collector, Levi son of Alphaeus, sitting in his office. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Levi got up and followed him.
15 Later on Jesus was having a meal in Levi’s house. A large number of tax collectors and other outcasts was following Jesus, and many of them joined him and his disciples at the table. 16 Some teachers of the Law, who were Pharisees, saw that Jesus was eating with these outcasts and tax collectors, so they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such people?”
17 Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.”
18 On one occasion the followers of John the Baptist and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came to Jesus and asked him, “Why is it that the disciples of John the Baptist and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but yours do not?”
19 Jesus answered, “Do you expect the guests at a wedding party to go without food? Of course not! As long as the bridegroom is with them, they will not do that. 20 But the day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
21 “No one uses a piece of new cloth to patch up an old coat, because the new patch will shrink and tear off some of the old cloth, making an even bigger hole. 22 Nor does anyone pour new wine into used wineskins, because the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins will be ruined. Instead, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.” – Mark 2:13-22
We’re on vacation now. Everything is different and new. Our schedule has changed. Our routine is upended. Our normal is anything but. Our digs are really nice, but really unfamiliar. And let’s not talk about the internet connection: nothing like at home.
But tonight we had a real live board game. And this morning we were at the pool for a few hours. Grandkids played. We read. No emails answered…well maybe just a few. And this afternoon I indulged my latest guilty pleasure: I binged on the National Geographic program Wicked Tuna. Vacation time is a whole new and different way of life.
But it’s only temporary. Monday will find me back in my groove. Not sure about our workout tomorrow. But come Monday, Lord willing, we’ll be back at it for sure. All that remains is for us to complete our walking challenge – which I totally flaked out on today. We’re on vacation after all.
Jesus was not on vacation when he came to earth and called his disciples to follow him. He was not on vacation when he healed and taught and cast out demons. But he did bring a new way of life into view. A totally new way of life. A wineskin-bursting change of pace, priorities, and pursuits. His ways are unlike any before or since. His call is unlike any others.
So he calls for new wineskins for this new wine way of life. It won’t work to treat our Sunday morning foray into religion as a vacation from the world. He doesn’t want us simply to put a patch of religion on our daily pursuits. He doesn’t want to be a slice of the pie of life. He is the source of all of life. He will change us from the inside out.
I’m not sure what that means for you, but I know it means that for us, Jesus is still center of life for us. We continue to pray. We read Scripture. We praise God for his good gifts. We look for opportunities to seek his reign and rule.
Yesterday at the pool I saw a man reading a book, The Truth About [something I couldn’t see]. I asked him, “You book: The Truth about what?” He said, “It’s the truth about us. It’s about self-righteousness. And we’re all self-righteous.” Indeed. Then we agreed that it’s true, and that we need a righteousness that is outside of ourselves. Jesus is that righteousness. And when he moves in, self-righteousness must go. That’s the old wine. And the new wine of his grace is the best there is.