Intro: The other day I ripped a sizable hole in a pair of my favorite shorts. I was in a hurry (“Of course you were, Mary!”) and the pocket on my shorts got caught on a cupboard knob. My “hang up” caused me to reel backwards, but it was too late! I know the shorts are old, but they are so comfy. Sigh…I can try to use new fabric to patch the hole, but I don’t think the mend will hold and it certainly will not match. These shorts are the oldest in my closet; they have survived hundreds of wears and washings. My dilemma reminds me of one of Jesus’ teachings about old garments. It reminds me of the expanding work of the Spirit in my life of which I am so very grateful.
In our passage today, Jesus is questioned about why his disciples are feasting rather than fasting like many others. Jesus uses a parable to try to explain that his disciples are feasting (expanding) because he is with them. They will fast when he is gone. Yet, the Pharisees still question the purity of Jesus and his disciples’ hearts. So Jesus shares an illustration with the hope they will understand. Sadly, the Pharisees are too steeped in tradition to absorb the life lesson; they prefer the old ways instead of embracing new faith in the vibrant god-life of Christ.
For the believer, Jesus came so his righteousness could be our new garment. He covers our sin like the Lord covered Adam and Eve in the garden. Now, we need new righteous lifestyles to reveal the divine nature within us; to make room for the expanding life of the Spirit among us. The old garments (our lives filled with self-righteousness) cannot hold the new wine of the Spirit. Jesus brings a life-changing message and we need to be able to hold the glory and live in eternal life. The Spirit brings dunamis (Greek: the power of God). We need the new garments of Christ that will stretch and expand, my friends!
Luke 5:33-39 TPT A Question about Fasting
33 Jesus’ critics questioned him. “John the prophet is known for leading his disciples to fast often and pray. As the religious leaders of the land, we do the same. Why do you and your disciples spend most of your time feasting at banquets?”
34 Jesus replied, “Should you make the sons of the bridal chamber fast while celebrating with the Bridegroom? 35 But when the Bridegroom is taken away from them, then you will see them fasting.”
36 And he gave them this illustration: “No one rips up a new garment to make patches for an old, worn-out one. If you tear up the new to make a patch for the old, it would not match the old garment. 37 And who pours new wine into an old wineskin? If someone did, the old wineskin would burst and the new wine would be lost. 38 New wine must always be poured into new wineskins. 39 Yet you say, ‘The old ways are better,’ and you refuse to even taste the new wine that I bring.”
Prayer: Lord, I know you cannot be contained in our rigid thoughts and traditions. Help us to accept these new lives you bring; new ways, new approaches, and even new ministries that are fresh in the Spirit. Help us as your children to remain pliable and willing to grow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.