“New Wine, Old Wine” is the title of next Sunday’s sermon, and the sermon takes its text from Mark 2:18-22. The sermon will look at the role of tradition in our lives and how it may help or hinder the progress of the Gospel. How attached to your traditions are you?
Monday, February 12. Read Matthew 5:17-20. In this text, Jesus talks about his relationship to the Law of Moses. 1) What did he say he came to do? 2) How would you say Jesus regarded the Law, and what purpose did it serve? 3) How do you think Jesus’ view of law differed from the Pharisees? (See verse 20.)
Tuesday, February 13. Read Matthew 9:14-17. 1) What question did the disciples of John the Baptist ask Jesus? 2) What images did Jesus use to get them to think about this issue? 3) In what ways do “new patches” and “old wineskins” help you to understand Jesus’ answer?
Wednesday, February 14. Read Matthew 6:16-18. This text is part of Jesus’ sermon on the mount. 1) What did people tend to do when they fasted? 2) What did Jesus say about this practice and their “reward”? 3) Was Jesus condemning the practice of fasting or the manner of fasting?
Thursday, February 15. Read Matthew 23:1-4, 23-24. 1) What group of people was Jesus talking about in this Matthew 23? 2) In verses 1-4, what practices was he condemning them for? How do you think we are guilty of that today 3) What was he condemning in verses 23-24?
Friday, February 16. Read Acts 13:2-3. 1) What was happening in this text? 2) How did fasting fit into the context? 3) How was this fasting different in use that of, say, Matthew 6:16-18.
Saturday, February 17. Read Mark 2:18-22. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer of the Week:
Lord God, as vines drive their life from the trunk
So do we receive nurture from you.
You have created this world and made us
To depend on you for existence,
Free from the corruption of the world.
Therefore we call out to you:
May the fruit of our lives be sweet to you.
Grant us now the strength
To fast from worldly pleasures,
For You alone are good.
In Jesus’ name we pray this. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
This week’s hymn is just four verses, but it is keenly on target with the theme of vines, wine, and the results of one’s life.
Not by gain our life is measured,
But by what we’ve lost ‘tis scored;
’Tis not how much wine is drunken,
But how much has been outpoured.”
Devotional Article of the Week:
The person who loves golf, particularly The Masters Golf Championship, will recognize those words as the Jim Nantz’ description of the CBS coverage of the tournament. For several years, the ads begin running in late February leading up to the first week in April when the greatest golfers in the world assemble in Augusta, Georgia, to compete in the greatest golf tournament in the world. The Masters Championship is not only a tradition in itself, but the tournament is full of traditions.
The tournament traditions include the ceremonial legends of the game serving as honorary starters by teeing off early on the first day of the tournament. This year Arnold Palmer hit the first drive. Of course the green jacket is a tradition like no other. The fact that the tournament is often decided on the back nine on Sunday afternoon has become a tradition. Amen Corner is a tradition. The beauty of the azaleas and dogwoods is a tradition. Skipping the ball across the water on the 16th hole during practice rounds has become tradition that results in boos from the crowd if a golfer chooses not to participate. For many patrons, planting themselves by the 16th green or the 18th green is a tradition. Hearing Pat Summerall say, “CBS Sports proudly presents the Masters!” to introduce the broadcast is a tradition.
Traditions are important in most areas of our lives. Our schools use traditions to build school spirit. There are winning traditions and losing traditions with sports teams. Families have food traditions, vacation traditions, holiday traditions, wedding traditions, anniversary traditions, and birthday traditions. Churches have traditions. Even those who vow to be non-traditional develop their own set of traditions. As best we can, we try to preserve our traditions.
The Masters: a tradition like no other. You don’t mess with the traditions of the Masters. Those who run the tournament do all within their power to preserve the traditions of the Masters Tournament.
Some traditions are easily accepted as traditions and can be changed or rejected or ignored with no risk of penalty. Then, there are those traditions worth fighting to preserve. When it comes to your life, what is the tradition that is like no other?
Allow me to offer a suggestion based on what Jesus said:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.
When Jesus was asked what He considered as most important, this was His response (Matthew 22:34-40). These are often called “The Greatest Commands.”
To adopt something like this as our “tradition like no other” will revolutionize our lives. Most of the traditions we hold onto will determine some of our direction and many of our actions. But to adopt “The Greatest Commands” as our greatest tradition, will alter the course of our futures. Nothing will be the same. These commands change how we treat people. They change how we think. They change how we worship. They change how we live. Now that’s a tradition like no other.
Lord willing, I can look forward to the first weekend in April for years to come. I’ll look forward to watching the Masters and enjoy hearing Jim Nantz say, “The Masters, a tradition like no other.” Of greater importance, however, are the words of the Master that I hope to drive the course of my life, all the days of my life.
A life of love lived for the Master. Now that’s truly “a tradition like no other!”