Parables #4 THE PATCHED GARMENT AND THE WINE-SKINS Matthew 9:16-17; Mark 2:21-22; Luke 5:33-39 THE SETTING ✔ In the verses preceding our parable of study for tonight the Pharisees were questioning Christ as to his eating with publicans and sinners, to which Christ responds concerning the fact that he came to call sinners to repentance not to waste time with the righteous. Not satisfied with their failure to trap Christ on the subject of feasting, they move onto the subject of fasting, and fasting takes a central role in the parable that follows. ➽ The practice of fasting was prevalent in Israel. It was coupled with prayer as a sign of devotion to and dependence on God. It was used with frequency through the old testament to focus themselves upon God and prepare for his working among them, or to ready themselves to hear from God and find direction by HIM 2 Chronicles 20:3 . The idea of fasting in this sense is to deny the body the comfort and provision of food, learning to focus ourselves instead upon pursuing God, instead of food. It is an exercise in devotion and self control. By the time we reach the new testament It had degenerated in Israel and especially among the Pharisees into an external observance used to impress people with the piety of the one fasting . Christ warned against this in Matthew 6:16-18 which shows that there was a place for fasting in the NT economy, as they sought and served the Lord, but that the Pharisees were dishonoring God and the disciple of fasting. ✔ The practice of fasting was in use by John and his disciples and was practiced, not in the manner of the Pharisees, but instead as their forefathers had done for many years and as Christ described in this passage , in a way that honored God and as a sign of their devotion to the Messiah who John's ministry pointed to. THE PROBLEM ➽ The Pharisees constantly observed Christ and His disciples to see whether they conformed to Pharisaic traditions and practices . During the entire ministry of Christ they watched him close and looked for any way they could possibly discredit Christ and what he taught. This led them to discover that neither Christ nor His disciples fasted. As can be inferred from the text they salivated at the opportunity to accuse him to find fault and prove themselves Superior . The Pharisees recognized the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus. Since John fasted, the Pharisees challenged Christ as to why neither He nor His disciples fasted. ✔ The central problem that needed to be addressed was how would the Kingdom of God work with the system of the Pharisees? THE SOLUTION ➽ In order to answer this question, Christ began by using the figure of a marriage feast. Following the presentation of the bride to the bridegroom, the bridegroom appeared with his bride before the assembled guests who had been invited to celebrate the wedding at a marriage feast. This feast was a time of joy and rejoicing. Christ pictured Himself as the bridegroom, and He pictured that generation as guests who had been invited to a wedding . Those who had accepted the bridegroom's invitation to the wedding banquet would come in joy to rejoice with the bridegroom. Thus Christ was saying that in calling them to repent because the kingdom of God was at hand, He was inviting people to share His Joy . Consequently, at this time there should not be mourning. They would be coming to celebrate and feast, not to be somber, reflective, and suppressed. Does anyone expect fasting at a wedding or reception? ✔ The parable begins with an old, worn-out garment, one that was worthless and useless in its present condition. This will represent the current religious system under the scribes, Pharisees and priests. It would be possible to patch such a garment and prolong its usefulness for a short season . ➽ Christ takes the lesson from the known practice of mending garments in order to make the point to solve the problem. In order to do so, one would not cut a piece out of a new garment. To do so, first would ruin the new Garment, and second, because new garments were made of undressed cloth that shrank with the first washing; if a new patch should be sewn on an old garment, the new patch would shrink and tear away from the old garment in the process of washing. Then the hole would be larger than before. This would lead to the destruction of the old garment. ✔ To further illustrate the truth , Christ used the figure of wineskins skins which were made from the skins of sheep or goats . There was a great deal of elasticity in a new wineskin. Since there was considerable expansion in the fermentation process, grape juice was put into new wineskins that would expand as the grape juice was transformed into wine . Sufficient elasticity would be retained for several years, and so the wineskin could be used again and again. When the wineskin became old, it lost its elasticity. If grape juice was put into an old, inflexible wineskin, the expansion of the fermentation process would destroy that wineskin. Thus not only would the wine be lost but the wineskin would be destroyed. APPLICATION ➽ So then By this parable Christ was showing that the old system propagated by the Pharisees was worthless, useless, and outdated. It was impossible to patch it up so that it could continue t be used . Christ had not come to reform Pharisaism but to introduce an entirely new doctrine into the life of the nation . Any attempt to superimpose the new doctrine on the old system would not only destroy the old system but the new as well . Romans 11:6 ✔ Thus Christ was putting a gulf between Himself and the Pharisees. Christ had previously done this when He said to His hearers, "That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.(Matt. 5:20). ➽ Christ anticipated the response of the Pharisees to His offer of the kingdom and the new doctrine that accompanied it when He said, "No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better."' (Luke 5:39). ✔ The Pharisees were content with their system and had no desire to change. These parables set forth the irreconcilable differences between Christ and the system of the scribes and the Pharisees, which was an impure form of what was delivered to Moses in the OT . Jesus came to introduce something new, not to patch up something old. This is what salvation is all about. In doing this, Jesus doesn’t destroy the old (the law), but He fulfills it, just as an acorn is fulfilled when it grows into an oak tree. There is a sense in which the acorn is gone, but its purpose is fulfilled in greatness.
33 And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink? 34 And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. 36 And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. 37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. 38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. 39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.