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The Teachings of Jesus - Call of Levi (Matthew)

Text: Luke 5:27-39

The Occasion

The call of Levi (Matthew)

The reception at Levi’s home

The criticism of the Pharisees

Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?

The disciples of John fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink. (why?)

The Parable

“No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’”

The Meaning - v. 36 - 39

Tearing up the new garment to patch up the old garment ruins both. (v. 36)

The Pharisees were critical concerning the conduct of Jesus and His followers.

Jesus recognized that trying to fit His new teachings into the established understanding of the spiritually mature Pharisees would be difficult.

Jesus chose the uneducated and untrained as His followers, for they were willing to listen and learn.

You do not put new wine into old wineskins because it will burst the skins and the wine will be lost as well. (v. 37)

It is difficult to teach someone who considers themselves already trained and established, and believes that they are already experienced and wise.

“New” teachings are often lost on “old” students.

Jesus is defending his choice of uneducated followers rather than choosing the Pharisees as His disciples.

New wine must be placed in new wineskins. (v. 38)

New wineskins are flexible, supple, and capable of stretching to accommodate the fermentation process of the wine.

The old wineskins may be more rigid, and less able to adjust and adapt to “the new wine of Jesus’ teachings.”

The older we get, the more we are interested in protecting and securing the forms and manners of our past. Innovations and advancements are more readily sought and adapted by those who are younger.

The Old Wine was good for a season. (v. 39)

The depth of flavor in old wine is usually preferred over the flavor of new wine, because the aging process refines the flavor.

The ‘old wine’ of the Old Covenant is NOT to be discarded.

There is a richness in the teaching of the Old Covenant that gives substance and depth to the New Covenant.

The teachings of Jesus would not make much sense

apart from the background of the Old testament?

What the parable does NOT mean

Too often this passage is used to say that the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ are incompatible, and we must choose one

or the other.

Too often the text is used to dismiss the ‘old ways’ in favor of ‘today’s favorite flavor.’

New is always better! …(NOT!) The “Real” Meaning

Jesus used this parable to explain why He chose the kind of disciples that He chose.

‘For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the

weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.’ (1 Corinthians 1:26-27)

His concepts were so revolutionary that He chose ‘unfilled containers’ to fill.

‘Even Jesus “emptied Himself” to be a vessel for the purposes of God.’ (Philippians 2:5-8)


Are we so full of ourselves that God has difficulty filling us with Himself? Would He consider choosing someone else to be a follower because He knows how stubborn

and unteachable we are?

Are you an empty vessel wanting to be filled?

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