Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: The prophet Isaiah, when referring to the coming Messiah, likened him to a “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.” But this same Savior could also be described as a “man of controversy, acquainted with harassment.” Over the span of just a few hours, three religious groups confront Jesus: the Scribes, the Pharisees, and then the disciples of John. For a moment, the focus is on the folks with whom Jesus eats, and then the problem becomes how often he eats (and refrains from eating). But Jesus lets them know through three illustrations: Your passion is misguided.
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. What is the purpose of fasting? What role, if any, does it play in your life?
2. Jesus says that he (the “bridegroom”) will be taken away. Is it fair to say that Jesus is with us now (see Matthew 28:20)? How so?
3. Why does the presence of Jesus bring with it celebration and joy?
4. What is the debtor’s ethic? In what ways does the gospel confront and destroy this notion?
5. What do the “old wineskins” represent? What about the “new wineskins”?
6. As a point of broad application: Why must we always be ready to embrace new forms of disciple making without ever changing the old message?
1. Read Matthew 9:14-17
2. “The legalist takes ‘you may’ and turns it into ‘you must’ and that is absolutely fatal to a healthy Christian life.” – R.C. Sproul
3. 01. Gospel people always seem to annoy religious people because of the spiritual freedom they enjoy.
4. “If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily.” – C.S. Lewis
5. Read Matthew 9:15.
6. 02. True joy comes in being “with Jesus.”
7. “The simple prepositional phrase “to be with him” has atomic significance. Discipleship is a relationship before it is a task, a ‘who’ before a ‘what.’” James Edwards
8. Read Matthew 9:16-17.
9. “What Jesus was teaching could not be contained within the existing system. … To attempt to confine his followers within the limits of the old religion would invite disaster. What Jesus repudiated was not Scripture, but the current religious practices allegedly based on Scripture.” – Leon Morris
10. 03. Jesus plus anything ruins everything.
11. “The debtor’s ethic has a deadly appeal. … It says things like, ‘God has done so much for you; now what will you do for him? He gave you His life; now how much will you give to Him?’ The Christian life is pictured as an effort to pay back the debt we owe to God. The admission is made that we will never fully pay it off, but the debtor’s ethic demands that we work at it. Good deeds and religious acts are installment payments we make on the unending debt we owe to God.” – John Piper
12. “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” – Galatians 2:21
13. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1