7622 - Something New

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Jesus often used parables to bring large ideas within the grasp of His audience.

In our study of the book of Luke we are in Luke 5:33-39 today. I’ll read this passage and then we can discuss them.

They said to him, "John's disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking."

Jesus answered, "Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast."

He told them this parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, `The old is better.'"

This passage is yet another confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees.

The word Pharisee comes from the term ‘separated.’ They practiced keeping a distance between themselves and the people, for they did not want to become defiled. The Pharisees were ‘proud’ people. They lived to make a good appearance. They kept conspicuous habits that were meant to ‘call attention’ to their holiness. Jesus kept pointing out that even good things done with wrong motives were empty.

In this passage the Pharisees have raised the issue of fasting. A fast was meant to be a time of refraining from food in order the pray.

The Pharisees point out that the disciples of John the Baptist and others often keep a fast. Then in a judgmental manner they accuse Jesus for not requiring his disciples to do the same. Again Jesus turns the focus from the outward act of fasting to their inner reason for doing so. Jesus makes it clear that fasting is not a self-justifying action. Proper observance of a fast is well and good; but it is also good to feast and have joy at the proper time.

Jesus uses those days surrounding a wedding party to illustrate his point. No one goes on a fast during the exciting, joyful time of a wedding celebration. After the wedding is consummated and over is the time to be still, fast and pray. But implication Jesus is pointing out that the brief months he was spending preparing his disciples for their future leadership in the infant church was also a time which, would soon be over and then his disciples would fast and seek guidance from God.

Jesus was seeking to open their minds to the unexpressed fact that a new day is dawning. The old order of the Law was being superseded by the new age of grace. Jesus did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them (Mt. 5:17). By his life and sacrificial death a new age was ushered in — the age of grace (Rom. 6:14).

Jesus uses two other parables to press this point. He pointed out that no person would tear apart a piece of a new garment in order to mend an old, torn garment. If someone tried this then both garments would become useless. The torn new garment could not serve its intended purpose. And when the old garment with the new patch is washed, the patch will shrink and tear away so that the old garment becomes useless also.

He also pointed out the same principle in the use of wineskins. New wine is place in new wineskins, which can stretch and be cured. and both the skin and wine are useful. However, if new wine is placed in a cured, hardened, old wineskin then it will burst and the wine will spill.

So Jesus is foretelling a new age of grace applying to spiritual life and worship. Faith, love and obedience will be the principles in the new life. Whereas, legalism works and form will give way. The church, the body of Jesus Christ, will be the new life relationship with the living God.

Jesus closes by saying, “no one after drinking old wine desires the new.” It’s tough to change. It’s difficult to adjust. And it was difficult for people to accept the new relationship of grace.