The second section of Luke begins near the end of chapter four and for the next five chapters, Luke will buttress his claims for the identity of Jesus with a host of miracles: he casts out demons, heals a leper, and enables a paralyzed man to walk, raises a young man from the dead and feeds five thousand from a sack lunch – with twelve basketfuls of food left over.
These miracles are not isolated or known only by a few. News of his works spreads throughout the surrounding area (4:37), throughout Judea, and from as far away as Tyre and Sidon (6:17). Crowds of people come to hear him and be healed (5:15; 6:18-19). They hem him in, making ministry difficult.
And yet, though the crowds enthusiastically embrace Jesus’ help, they do wonder about him. He and his disciples are unlike other religious leaders. They aren’t orthodox about observing the accepted religious conventions – common markers of piety. To them, Jesus speaks a parable – a story with a side meaning. Just as you can’t patch a garment with a piece of unshrunk cloth, or pour new wine into old wineskins, so you cannot put the words of Jesus in an old lifestyle. The Life has to be changed. It must become new.
Christian people can be Christians while living like they always have – like the world around them. They just won’t really be followers of Jesus. But on the other hand, living the Christ life is hard because, like the aged wine, we like the old better than the new. The Son of God doesn’t call us to a religion or a “faith system” or a denomination. He calls us to a radically new way of life that is upside down from that of the world around us.