Jesus Christ



37. Could you explain to me the meaning of the following words of Jesus: “No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved” (Matthew 9:16-17)?




In order to explain to you the meaning of these words of Jesus, I need to remind you of some biblical passages which are written just before, which are these: “Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast? And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Matthew 9:14-15 – NKJV).

Now, as you can see, the disciples of John asked Jesus why His disciples did not fast while both they and the Pharisees did fast often. The answer of Jesus was that His disciples did not fast because the friends of the bridegroom could not fast or mourn as long as the bridegroom was with them, because that time was a time of joy. But the days would come when the bridegroom would be taken away from them, and then they would fast. For to fast means to humble oneself, to afflict oneself and this cannot be done during a period of time in which one must rejoice but it must be done during an appropriate time such as after the death of a friend, in this case of a bridegroom. To explain this concept, Jesus used other parables, for He said that no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment and the tear is made worse, and no one puts new wine into old wineskins or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled and the wineskins are ruined, but new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. As you can see, in both cases, certain things cannot be done, otherwise there will be harmful consequences. So it was not time for His disciples to fast, but the time would come, and it came when Jesus was taken away from them, that is, when He was crucified. For Jesus, a short time before He was arrested, said to His disciples: “Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament” (John 16:20 – NKJV), and that’s exactly what happened after Jesus was crucified, for when Mary Magdalene went to tell the disciples of Jesus that Jesus was alive, they were mourning and weeping (Mark 16:10).

However, the words of Jesus: “The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast”, may refer also to the time after His ascension to heaven.