25
Feb
14

Fear Of The New

Luke 5:33-39 is about old ways versus new ways.  The Pharisees were frustrated by Jesus.  He didn’t follow their customs and ways.  They were tied to ancient practices of piety.  The Pharisees fasted twice a week.  In Matthew 6, Jesus revealed the true purpose of their fasting:

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. – Matthew 6:16 (NIV)

They wanted people to see them.  They wanted people to know that they were fasting.  They were putting on a religious show, not expressing devotion to God.
Jesus is telling them that this was not a time for fasting and somber denial.  The Bridegroom (Jesus) had come and now was a time of celebration!  The Kingdom of God had come!  Old ways were about to be done away with and new ways were being ushered in by Jesus.
Jesus gives two object lessons.  The first is describing how a patch is put over a hole in clothing.  My son tears up the knees in his pants.  Just destroys them.  We’ve had patches put under the holes and they do a great job of preserving his pants.  The problem is that the pants are a little faded from use and washing.  The patch is brand new.  The colors don’t quite match up perfectly.  In Jesus’ day, the patches were made of fabric that would shrink once washed.  The patch would put great strain on the fabric around it and tear it even more.  The garment you took the patch from would be ruined and the old garment being patched would be ruined as well.  Jesus is saying that His teachings and His presence were like a brand new garment – much better than the old ways.
He gives another example of new wine and old wineskins.  New wine, still fizzy and fermenting, couldn’t be put into old, brittle wineskins, which were made of animal skins.  New wineskins were supple and would stretch as the new wine continued to ferment.  Old wineskins would burst from the fermentation of the new wine.  His teachings were the new wine meant for a new era of grace.
He realizes that people do not like change and the Pharisees would not like His new teachings.  They would continue to say that the old ways are better.  They didn’t want new garments.  They didn’t want new wine.
We are not much different.  There is a reason we like classic TV shows.  There is a reason we like the “oldies” station on the radio (which is now playing songs from the 80’s – HEY!  That’s MY music!  It’s not OLD!  Or is it?).  There is a great comfort in the old and familiar.  Trying new things and hearing new teachings can be scary and change is hard.  But what if the new meant we would have a better, deeper understanding of God’s love and grace?  What if the new meant that more people would hear the Word, believe in Jesus and accept Him as Lord and Savior?  What if the new meant that we would have a fresh experience of Jesus in our lives?  What if the new meant that we could have a stronger faith?  Yes, the new can be scary, but it can also mean good things can happen.  God is in the business of the new.  Look at what He said in Isaiah 43:

Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.See, I am doing a new thing!    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

Let us seek to follow God as He does new things in our lives, in our churches and in our world.

Luke 5:33-39 (NIV)

Jesus Questioned About Fasting

33 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”

34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”

36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”

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