May 23, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Luke 5-6
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Context: Luke includes a miracle in the calling of Peter, James, and John. When Jesus heals the man with leprosy, He touches him. The man had not been touched since he got leprosy. He has been an outcast in society. Jesus shows compassion with His touch. Jesus also tells the man not to tell anyone what has happened to him, only to present himself to the priests and be declared clean. Jesus had enough people following Him, He did not want a mob scene. Jesus is constantly being tested by the Pharisees and other religious leaders who wish to undermine His power, as Jesus does not conform to the religious rituals. When Jesus calls the tax collector to be His disciple, He is going against societal expectations. Following Jesus means going outside of your comfort zone and reaching out to those society may have shunned. Jesus then ate with co-workers of Levi, further reaching out to them. Jesus was questioned about fasting. Fasting is a time of sorrow, a time of need, a time of mourning. Jesus was on earth, for what did they need to fast? There would be time for fasting when He was gone. As Jesus and His disciples are walking through a grain field on the Sabbath, they, out of habit, begin to pick some heads of grain. When questioned, Jesus replies that basic human need trumps ritual laws, using an example of King David. Before choosing His 12 apostles, Jesus spent time in prayer. Before any decision, Jesus prayed to His Father. Luke records a sermon similar to Matthew's Sermon on the Mount. Obviously, this is not the same sermon, as Luke notes Jesus is on a level place. It would be likely that Jesus preached the same sermon, or variants thereof, on more than one occasion. We are to follow divine examples, not human traditions. Note the "Golden Rule" in verse 31.
World History: Tax collectors were not liked by anyone. They were seen as traitors by the Israelites because they worked for Rome, and Romans did not like them because they were Jews.