The following is an excerpt from the 2016 Berean Series book, “What Real Christianity Looks Like” written by the faculty and staff of HCU. The book is part of a free video resource for churches and is scheduled to be completed by late spring 2016. The study will discuss how Jesus’ parables challenge today’s churches to hear these familiar stories again and live out the principles they teach.
Written by Dr. Bill Bagents
Parable of the Old and New
Citing the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian as examples, Jesus reminded His fellow Jews that God loves people in every nation (Luke 4:23-27). The earthly ministry of Jesus focused on the Jews, but we get frequent reminders that God’s plan was to open the door of salvation to all—Jew and Gentile alike. Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, and Acts 1:8 speak to this truth that would necessitate a new covenant between God and man. In God’s time and way, the Israel of God would come to include “in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness…” (Acts 10:34-35, 11:18, and 13:46-49).
On a personal level, the Parable of the Old and New invites us to reflect on Jesus’ ability to make us new—to give us new hearts and new minds. That stage is set by Luke 5:32: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Because all sin (Romans 3:23), all are in need of rebirth (John 3:1-13). Jesus offers new birth and new life (John 1:11-13 & 14:6, Ephesians 2:1-10). We love the mercies of God as expressed through Jesus. We find them “new every morning” as we hope in Him (Lamentations 3:22-24).
See Romans 6:4 for a beautiful description of this new heart and mind: “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Colossians 2:12 and Galatians 2:20-21 document God’s power to give new life.
We offer no apology for the peace, love, and joy that fills our hearts. Our joy is “in the Lord” (Philippians 4:4). Our peace is “the peace of God” (Philippians 4:7). Our worldview, mindset, and attitude flow from our trust in God (Philippians 4:9).
We appreciate the balance and wisdom of Scripture. This parable emphasizes joy, but hints at the inevitable ebb and flow of life (Luke 5:34-35). It emphasizes the new life ushered in by Jesus, but it acknowledges value in “the old” as well (Luke 5:39).
Life with Jesus brings a new joy and a fresh perspective. We serve the Master from happy hearts. We do not judge ourselves or allow ourselves to be judged by human standards and expectations. We know the joy of serving and loving only one Lord.