The Old Testament or Jewish religion focuses on several holy days characterized by feasts. Preeminent among these is the Passover feast…marking their deliverance from slavery and captivity in Egypt. In Luke, the Lord Jesus (a real Jew) instructed His disciples to prepare for a final passover feast in an upper room in Jerusalem. Then at its conclusion, He announced the end of the passover and instituted the first Lord’s table feast.
And He instructed not just His disciples but all of us (His New Testament believers) to come together and enjoy this feast in remembrance of Him. What is the relationship between the Passover and the Lord’s table…the Lord’s supper? What did He mean when He said “For I tell you I shall by no means drink from now on of the product of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
We’ll touch this interesting and important connection on today’s broadcast.
Perhaps we’ve all heard of the city Jerico. Actually, it was a city of curse in the time of the Lord Jesus. One of its inhabitants was a man of curse. His name was Zacchaeus, a tax collector. Actually, the chief tax collector and in reality an extortioner who had gotten rich by taking advantage of the inhabitants of the area.
One day as Jesus was passing through, Zacchaeus climbed into a tree hoping to get a look at the Savior. And as He came to the place, Jesus looking up He said to him, Zacchaeus hurry and come down for today I must stay in your house. And he hurried and came down and received Him…rejoicing. It was a marvelous day as salvation came to the house of Zacchaeus.
But the pharisees, the religious ones who watched it…who knew Zacchaeus and his past…did not share in the rejoicing. We’ll discover more about this marvelous story of salvation in the gospel of Luke in chapter 19.
Human history has witnessed many great moral and ethical teachers…Plato, Socrates, Confucius…just to name a few. The Bible also contains wonderful teachings of morality and ethical behavior, but no one save the Lord Jesus Christ Himself ever claimed…as He did in John 6…that the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
We all need to ask ourselves this fundamental question: Is God’s word to us just a book of ethical and moral teachings, or is it a book that brings us to spirit and Life?
In Luke, the start of the ministry of the Man Savior was chapter 4 with Jubilee, and the Jubilee concept should govern the writing of all the following chapters. Now you come to chapter 9, 5,000 men with their wives…children, if they would be dismissed with hunger, there would be no more Jubilee. This one and than one would complain. “Nearly the whole day, I didn’t get any food.” Would this be Jubilee? This would be famine. The people would be full of hunger. But after the feeding there was real Jubilee.
The Lord sent the 12 to spread His ministry. What was His ministry? His ministry was the ministry of Jubilee. There would be no poor ones. All poor ones would be filled up. There would be no more captives. All captives would be released. And all would be brought back to the enjoyment of God. What is this?
This is Jubilee declared in chapter 4. Twelve (12) baskets of leftovers. This is Jubilee. In the kingdom of God could there be some kind of hunger? No! Jubilee. In the Jubilee there would be no hunger, but satisfaction. Everybody would be satisfied and there still would be some left over.
The disciples approach…in Luke chapter 9…was to ask the Lord to send the crowds away so that they could provide food for themselves. This approach really is in the principle of the law. The law places requirements on man. In order to fulfill the law, man has to do something out of himself to meet those requirements. There is no supply from God to meet the requirements of the law.
But the principle of Grace…which is the New Testament principle…is that God supplies man with everything that man needs to fulfill the requirements of God and also to satisfy man’s inner hunger. God doesn’t ask us to do something; He asks us to receive what He supplies.
So in this story here (Luke 9), the Lord asked the disciples to make the people recline in groups of 50, and then the Lord proceeded in a wonderful way…under Gods’ blessing…to feed this great crowd of people…to supply every one of them so that not one of them was hungry. Everyone was fully satisfied. And there was an overabundance of supply. This is the real Jubilee. When everyone has his hunger fully satisfied and still there is something left over. This is God’s New Testament Gospel. This is God’s New Testament economy.