The Party at Levi’s House

Word on the street was that Levi had found religion. Having caught wind of a party being thrown at his house that night, several of his hard core buddies decided to go check it out. Hey, free food – what’s to lose?

C’mon Lee, what gives? His buddies were asking in a disapproving way that gave a clear message to Levi that his new religion was not welcomed in their territory. Nobody wanted to be told that the way they made a living was a shameful thing. Screw all of those who act mightier than everybody else and hold street folks like us to their standards!

AHH man, what did you have to go and invite the religious crowd over to your house now too, for? We don’t want to rub elbows with them and I know they don’t want to have anything to do with us. We dare them to say what they’re thinking out loud! One wrong word from out of their mouths and we’re gonna rip their lips off! This was the grumbling taking place behind the scene and the atmosphere was growing increasingly tense.

Hey wait, the religious freaks are throwing all their insults at the new dude – the same guy they say is doing some crazy stuff, like touching diseased people and forgiving things they say he doesn’t have the authority to forgive… but he sure talks like he has authority, do you hear that? What does he keep calling Levi “Matthew” for anyway, is Matt really his name? SHHH, let’s listen in…

“Why do you eat and drink with these low lives” one local minister was asking, to which the new guy replies “I haven’t come to hang with you, I’ve come to hang with them”.

“Check it out” one of Levi’s buddies whispered with a big grin, “Homey wants to hang with us”!

The minister responded “Your cousin, the street preacher – those that follow him don’t party in this way, and neither does anyone who hangs out with us”! The condescending message was clear.

The new guy replied “Can you blame those that hang out with the groom for wanting to party with him before the wedding? There will come a day soon enough when the groom won’t be with them. Then they won’t party like this anymore”.

“Wait”, Levi’s buddies asked among themselves. “Who’s getting married – is this guy getting married”? “Shut up” one said to the other, “I want to hear what he has to say”.

The new guy was telling them a story, something about sewing a new patch of cloth onto an old garment, and something about old and new wine?? Then the new guy said “no one after drinking aged wine wants the new stuff because they think ‘The old is better'”. Yeah, they all thought to themselves, that’s right – the old is better… But wait… what does drinking old or new wine have to do with anything?

Anyone who is the tiniest bit familiar with scripture might recognize this as a story that comes from the fifth chapter of the gospel of Luke (verses 27-39), albeit told humorously with a modern day twist. It’s the story of when Jesus called Matthew (also known as Levi) to be one of his followers.

So… what exactly did Jesus mean when he made the comment that no one liked drinking new wine after having become used to drinking aged wine? Simply put, he meant that we all get in a groove – stuck in our ways, comfortable with our traditions. No one likes change.

Back in the day before Pandora, before CDs, even before cassette and 8-track tapes, there was a thing that looked like a big, round, grooved disc that was called a”record”. We all had record players where the needle would work it’s way through the grooves in the disc and the result was MUSIC! You laugh, but that’s where the old expression “groovy” comes from. We were “in the groove” so to speak – each one of us listening to our own music and loving it.

But Jesus’ message goes way deeper than just the grooves on a disc. What he was telling his audience back then was that he was there to do a NEW thing! Anyone set in their ways and unwilling to change from the old to the new might miss what he was doing – which is exactly what happened to the religious crowd of his day. They missed it completely!

God is doing a new thing among us today, too. As a matter of fact I think he delights in doing things differently, as we read here in Habakkuk 1:5:

“Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

That means business as usual is about to be violently shaken (see Hebrews 12:25-29) as his holy presence falls across every sphere of society – religion, family, government, the health industry, arts/media/entertainment, education, and business – anything that is not aligned to him, that is not a part of his kingdom, will not stand.

In the spring of 2021 I began to write how the church could no longer be “business as usual”. I suspect there is a great shaking that is about to occur in the church, in much the same way that Christianity shook the Jewish religion of its day. This new shaking will usher in a reformation not only in the church/religious sphere but throughout all of society, as I expect what we have come to know and see as “church” will hardly look the same a few years from now, and this is not a bad thing. As the wheat and tares are both coming into full maturity, Jesus will send reapers that will remove the tares from His field (see Matthew 13:36-40).

Bottom line, if you want to be part of the move of God across this earth, keep your eyes on Jesus, not on traditions of men or past movements of God. Expect him to do things his way – and know that his way is not likely your way.


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