Luke 6 records Jesus’ most famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount. But leading up to it, Dr. Luke does something really cool. He records Jesus’ words about Himself, that He is like new wine going into old wineskins which cannot contain Him. Then He talks about the Sabbath. Then He names His 12 disciples. Then He comes to the Sermon on the Mount.
So follow this with me – Jesus is bringing a new element to an old thing. The wineskins of the day, or the religious system of the people, could not contain Him. So He was redefining what spirituality meant. He is the new wine, so He redefines a staple element of the day – the Sabbath. Then He names 12 new followers, corresponding to the old 12 tribes of Israel. Then following that train of though, the Sermon on the Mount is the “new law.”
Funny thing about the new law, though – it’s alot more general than the old law. When you read through Leviticus, you find very specific prohibitions about everything from urine to mildew to blood to pigeons. But in the Sermon on the Mount, you find much more general statements:
“Have a pure heart.”
“Love your neighbors and your enemies.”
Those are pretty general principles. And I don’t know about you, but I think I prefer the old way. With the old way, I can make a list, check it twice, and know if I’ve been naughty or nice. But with the new way? Well there’s alot of grey area in there. Why is that?
Maybe part of the reason is that under the new law, we are forced into doing something that isn’t necessary if you’re living by a list. We are pressed into relationship. Under the new law, there’s really no way to live rightly without being in conversation with God. Or to say it in bible-eeze, to keep in step with the Spirit.
Is it possible that God intentionally left some – definitely not all, but some – areas of life as grey in order that we have no choice but to culture our intimacy with Him? Sounds like something He might do. Sometimes He’s sneaky like that…