Friday, June 30, 2017

49 - Old Wine Skins


They said to him: “The disciples of John fast frequently and offer supplications, and so do those of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.”
Jesus said to them: “YOU cannot make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can YOU?
Yet days will come when the bridegroom will indeed be taken away from them; Then they will fast in those days.”
Further, he went on to give an illustration to them: “No one cuts a patch from a new outer garment and sews it onto an old outer garment; but if he does, then both the new patch tears away and the patch from the new garment does not match the old.
Moreover, no one puts new wine into old wineskins; but if he does, then the new wine will burst the wineskins, and it will be spilled out and the wineskins will be ruined.
But new wine must be put into new wineskins.

No one that has drunk old wine wants new; for he says, ‘The old is nice.’” Luke 5:33-39 NW


No Fasting At A Wedding Banquet


They said to him: The word they refers back to the scribes and Pharisees in the former post; those that found fault with Christ for eating with the sinners.

The disciples of John fast frequently and offer supplications.  In the post, "The Locust-Eating Preacher",  we learned that John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded.  His disciples, however, still continue to do what John had taught them to do. The Pharisees also fast and pray and so the contention is this; Christ's disciples do not.

Jesus said to them: “YOU cannot make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can YOU?  Let's be reasonable, you can't expect anyone to fast at a wedding feast, can YOU?

During the weeklong wedding feast it was understood that joy was more important than conformity to religious rituals. If any ceremonial observance would detract from the joy of a wedding feast, it was not required. Jesus says that His followers should have this kind of happiness. Guzik

Yet days will come when the bridegroom will indeed be taken away from them. After about 3.5 years of ministry and teaching His disciples, Christ was indeed taken from them:

1. First when Christ was taken to the cross to be crucified.  That certainly would have been a time of mourning and fasting.

2. When Christ was taken to heaven and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
Acts 1:9. 
 

Perhaps there are still some segments of the church that fast, but it seems to me, most of us North American Christians are much too casual about our spirituality to bother with fasting.


Two Examples



No one cuts a patch from a new outer garment and sews it onto an old outer garment.  Imagine this: You have an old woollen winter coat and time has worn a hole into one of the elbows.  Now, the logical thing to do would be to go to a clothing store and buy a new woollen winter coat and cut a patch out of the elbow of the new coat and sew that new patch into the old coat.  Absurd!

First of all, the new patch will shrink and the new patch tears away from the old garment and you are left with two useless coats. Secondly, the colour of the new garment does not match the old.


Perhaps Christ is implying that He did not come to fix up the old Jewish religion, (that old worn out coat).  Your old shabby man made rules need to be discarded.  I came to bring a new "robe of righteousness".  The righteousness I bring is not attained by obeying myriads of rules; it is based on faith in Jehovah and love to fellow humans.


He continues, Here is another example. No one puts new wine into old wineskins.   The old wine skins have deteriorated due to the acidic liquid in them. How much longer can they last?  You could find out by filling them up again and seeing a lot of wine spilt on the floor because the new wine will burst the wineskins.


But new wine must be put into new wine skins.  The Christian's new life in Christ just will not fit into any other religion.  On the day of Pentecost, when Jehovah's spirit descended on the first Christians they were so ecstatic that they were accused of being drunk.  However, different ones mocked at them and began to say: “They are full of sweet wine.” But Peter stood up ... and made this utterance to them: “Men of Ju·deʹa ... give ear to my sayings. These [people] are, in fact, not drunk, as YOU suppose Acts 2:13-15.   There is just something about real Christianity that cannot be explained to an unbeliever.  

However, Christianity is not, and never has been a set of rules!  Even though some have tried to make it such.  For example, 
  • You must not eat meat from warm-blooded animals on Friday,  
  • You must "say the rosary",  
  • You must go to confession,  
  • You must not eat pork,  
  • You must keep the Sabbath day holy.  It is interesting that of all the Ten Commandments this is the only one that is not repeated in the New Testament.
Certainly, Christians still have rules, but let's not make up our own and force them on Christendom.  The gist is to lay on you no greater burden than these necessary things: Acts 15:28

Nine of the Ten Commandments are still applicable to all Christians.  Besides that there is this list decided on at one of the first church counsels:

1. to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols
2. and from blood, do not drink blood,
3. and from things strangled, do not eat meat with the blood still in it,
4. and from fornication. Acts 15:28-29; Acts 21:25.

Christ said, Therefore if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:36.   Having said that, it goes without saying that a Christian is, in all cases, bound by the rule of brotherly love.