Scripture: Matthew 9:14-17 [NLT]
14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?”
15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. 17 Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:14-17, New King James Version)
Observation: (How does this scene look to your mind’s eye?)
I see a follower of John the Baptist coming to Jesus with a serious question in his heart; but one based on the understanding of his time. He, (this is conjecture on my part) may have been concerned with the outward appearance of Jesus’ camp. He’s wondering why they don’t show themselves as “religious” and make displays of deep fasting. This is not to say that John’s camp was not fasting with a true heart for God, but often we do things that help us to feel closer to God and then expect that others must do them to also get closer to God. Let’s look at how Jesus responds to the question and maybe we can get an idea of what is being dealt with here.
In essence He is saying that you don’t put something new into something old and expect it to work. You can’t put new ways of thinking into old ways of thinking and expect them to work together; you must first be born again and made “new” before you can expect to be able to spiritually understand the gospel message.
I also like how he points to their fasting as a state of mourning and that they should really be celebrating because their Redeemer is there with them…the marriage of God to man is taking place…it should be a time of great joy!
Application: (How can I apply this to my life?)
I simply feel like Jesus is asking me to check myself (my past) and seek to find those things that I am doing which are “old” and not a part of getting to know Him better. Would He ever ask me to stop obeying? No. But, He does want me to make myself a “new wineskin” before I try to fill myself with service for Him. If I do it too soon or wrong, I could make a mess of things. He wants to teach me instead of me “teaching” myself.
Please continue to work in my life. Help me to become a new wineskin that You can use and that others can get new wine from. Help my faith and trust in You to grow daily. Help me to treasure You more than anything this world has to offer.
Protect me and my family and friends from the enemy today. Help me to do well at work. I love You Lord. Amen.
(Please tell us what you have seen in this scripture by leaving a comment below.)