New Patches on Old

Patching up our old life with new behaviors doesn’t really change us. Our life has to be transformed from within for lasting effect and impact. This can only happen by yielding to the work of the Holy Spirit within our lives.

Overview

Passage:Matt 9:14-17; Mark 2:18-22; Luke 5:33-39

Context

Reason for fasting

Righteous fasting

  • Sorrow over sins – ours and others
  • Spend time to understand Jesus
  • Spirit filled living – new wine

Religious Fasting

  • Superficial righteousness
  • Superior attitude
  • Self destruction

Discussion

Objectives

To understand:

  • Reasons for fasting
  • Difference between righteous (true) and religious (fake) fasting

Bible Passage

Matt 9:14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”

15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Context

Jesus has stepped into the world to demonstrate what true righteousness is.

Some are critical

Most are curious

Some are truly seeking.

John’s disciples may have been a mix of the three largely falling into the latter category. John was pointing to Jesus. His disciples were also seeking the truth.

Jesus’ response is deep, clear and concise

Context

Jesus does not say that fasting is not good, but indicates that his disciples will fast – once they’ve truly understood the right means of fasting – after Jesus leaves the earth.

He indicates that one prime reason for fasting is mourning – mourning over sin (as in Matt 5)

He also indicates that with him around that reason for fasting does not exist – he is here to help us conquer sin and reconcile with the Father.

He is the bridegroom, uniting the Church to God through Himself.

Reason for fasting

“You have not chosen me! I have chosen you” (John 15:16)

On what basis does Christ choose?

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Religious fasting vs. Righteous fasting

Righteous fasting

  • Sorrow over sins – ours and others
  • Spend time to understand Jesus
  • Spirit filled living – new wine

Religious fasting

  • Superficial righteousness
  • Superior attitude
  • Self destruction

Religious Fasting - Hard

In new wineskins, gases exert pressure.

Old wineskin are hardened like the hardened mindset of pharisees. Term for new is renewed. Timing is important. Patchwork may look temporarily ok but  will not stand the test of time. Disciples were in the process of being emptied of old traditions.

Religious fasting - superficial

The fasting of the pharisees on the contrary demonstrated:

Superficial righteousness – Jesus warned that this righteousness alone will not lead to the kingdom – Matt 5:20

Superior attitude – The prayer of the pharisee clearly shows this self-righteous attitude – Luke 18:9-14. Their condemnation of Jesus just prior to this passage in Matt 9 also demonstrates this.

Self destruction – Jesus warns of the result. “the skins will burst” – their proud, empty bodies will face the wrath of God.

Religious Fasting - Destructive

Is like putting a new patch on an old garment. It generates self righteousness that:

  • makes our lives worse than before
  • Is prone to quick destruction
  • Is bad in God’s sight though it may deceive Christians
  • Prevents true transformation through repentance
  • Prevents the filling of the Spirit

Righteous fasting - Sorrow over sin

Repentance is the key lever to spiritual growth. Repentance accompanied by deep grief symbolized by fasting. Without true repentance fasting is meaningless.

Matt 9:14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”

15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?

Righteous fasting – Spend time to understand Jesus

In the book of Hosea, God is the bridegroom.

A Jewish wedding involves feasting for 7 days followed by fasting by friends of bridegroom.

Jesus, the sacrifice for sin has given us reason for joy. The world has a long awaited escape from Satanic grip. When we are connected to Jesus, we are with God.

Jesus, the bridegroom was with his disciples physically, for a while.

Righteous fasting - Spirit filled living

The disciples were going to experience the new wine – the “wine of the spirit” and go several notches up in their spiritual experience. The “old wine” and “old wineskins” were transitioning away. Fasting is getting a re-filling of the Holy Spirit. This is so powerful that wineskins (the body) has to also get a makeover like new wineskins. We outgrow old habits as we replace them with the new “best” that Christ has to offer.

 

Righteous fasting

Based on Jesus’ fast also strengthens our:

  • Relationship with God
  • Power over Satan and temptation
  • Resistance to sin
  • Humility before God
  • Decision making capabilities for God’s purposes

Discussion

1.Why do you fast?

2.What areas of your fast should you improve on?

3.Explain your views on “new wine” and “new wineskins”. How can we achieve this?

4.What “new patches” do we put on our lives to “cover” our old selves? How do we tackle it?

References

  1. notes by Dr. Preeti Shinde

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