14One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?”
15Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
16“Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.
17“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”
For many centuries fasting was a sign of holiness to the Jewish people. So much so that they had made a show of it in public so people would know they were fasting. This is actually obvious here because the disciples who question Jesus somehow thought they knew that Jesus’ disciples weren’t fasting. How would they know? Fasting too often wasn’t a form of prayer, but a show put on for others.
Jesus took this opportunity to tell them all that things were going to be different now. He is really profoundly speaking about what we call the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The Old Covenant is about trying to be “good enough” and about obeying the law and punishment for sin. Jesus was changing all that. He was going to institute a New Covenant, a New Deal. He was going to do the suffering. We need to admit our sin and have faith in Him. Jesus’ new way required a completely new approach, or a completely new person. They didn’t have pre-washed cloth back then so if you patched an old shirt with new cloth, when the new cloth was washed and shrank it would tear an even bigger hole in the old shirt. New wine continues to ferment for a while and produces gas. The wineskins for new wine had to be of new leather so it would stretch. If you used old leather it would burst and both the wine and the wineskin were ruined.
Lord Jesus, make me a new person. Keep me new and alive. Stretch me and pull me. Help me to not cling to old ways and old thoughts that keep me from changing into the person You want me to be. Never let my prayer or my time in church or anything else about our relationship be done for show. Let me truly know You and Your love so Your love and Spirit can flow from me to those around me. Beginner’s Online Bible Study *obbs*