Today's Gospel: Luke 5:33-39
The gospel reading from Luke today is the exact same story from Matthew that I recently wrote about! Rather than say, “See July 5,” I’m going to focus differently. I’m going to focus on the concept of joy!
The Pharisees had a list of guidelines for all good Jews, and fasting was one of them. If someone didn’t fast, they were not considered to be holy. Holiness was equated with following all the difficult rules and guidelines of Jewish society, without God’s intentions behind them. The Pharisees would whiten their faces when they fasted because it was generally accepted that holiness meant looking and feeling miserable. Holiness=misery. There was no joy in the old laws.
Jesus’ ministry was joyful! Instead of strings of rules to follow, He kept things simple. Love God. Love your neighbor. He was fun to be around. He hung out with sinners. His disciples took joy being in His presence. Rather than fast, they celebrated and feasted! Jesus taught His followers that serving God didn’t have to make them miserable. He showed that His ministry could be joyful work!
Even His parables were humorous. Who would cut up a brand new piece of cloth to mend something old? That’s silly.
Wine was a symbol of joy. The new wineskin is His new way of joyful ministry. Both of the parables, the cloth and the wineskins, would have made His followers laugh. He attended weddings where there was dancing and fun and happiness.
The time would come later for sorrow and mourning for Jesus and His disciples, but daily living with Christ and spreading His message to others was a joyful life. It should be joyful for us also.
Do I spread more joy to those around me, or more misery? Do I bring my coworkers down by my complaining? Do I spread cheer to my family, or do I make sure everyone around me is unhappy if I don’t feel well?
Lord God, help me to be a positive and joyful light to everyone whose life I touch. Bless me with grace and compassion to treat everyone kindly and spread the joy of Jesus Christ everywhere. In His name I pray. Amen.
Copyright 2014 Deborah Shelby
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