Week 34, Section 48

Summary: For the first time Jesus uses a parable, a classic manner of teaching to induce further reflection and dialog. In this parable Jesus speaks of something new and old. He’s referring to the New Covenant and the Old Covenant.  It was an apt moment for this lesson as John’s disciples and the Pharisees were still holding on to ‘the way things have always been done’.

Harmony Bible Radio

Matthew 9:14-17 Mark 2:18-22 Luke 5:33-39 John
14 Then John’s disciplesa  came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Phariseesb fast often, but your disciples don’t fast?” 15 Jesus said to themc, “Can the friends of the bridegroomd 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.e 16  No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch would tear away from the garment, and a worse hole is made. 17 fNeither do people put new wine into old wine skins, or else the skins would burst, and the wine be spilled, and the skins ruined. No, they put new wine into fresh wine skins, and both are preserved.”g 14 Then John’s disciplesa came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Phariseesb fast often, but your disciples don’t fast?” 15 Jesus said to them,c “Can the friends of the bridegroomd 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 faste. 16  No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch would tear away from the garment, and a worse hole is made. 17  fNeither do people put new wine into old wine skins, or else the skins would burst, and the wine be spilled, and the skins ruined. No, they put new wine into fresh wine skins, and both are preserved.”g 33 They said to him, “Why do John’s disciplesa often fast and pray, likewise also the disciples of the Pharisees,b but yours eat and drink?” 34 He said to them,c “Can you make the friends of the bridegroomd fast, while the bridegroom is with them? 35  But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them. Then they will faste in those days.” 36 He also told a parable to them. “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old garment, or else he will tear the new, and also the piece from the new will not match the old. 37  fNo one puts new wine into old wine skins, or else the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 38  But new wine must be put into fresh wine skins, and both are preserved. 39  No man having drunk old wine immediately desires new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ”g No Record Provided

** Our online text is from the World English Bible, rights to use this format are granted by Michael Johnson. If you would like to obtain a copy of Thomas & Gundry’s Harmony of the Gospels (NIV) in our exclusive letter-size, loose-leaf PDF, then please contact us via email or phone.    

Study Notes:

John’s disciples – strong sense of allegiance to John., an emotional connection – even though John said “I am not the one” and “there’s the messiah”.
Pharisees – they too wanted to Law “protect and provide” but now the new covenant which gives us freedom via grace.
At the beginning of his public common sense wisdom,   then in his third year of ministry Jesus uses more prophetic wisdom from the Old Testament.
The bridegroom is Jesus – bride is the church, the body of Christ. Paul later speaks about the husband and wife…. See: Rev. Festive nature of enjoying time  with God because of Christ.  Celebration. in Mt 15 the time for fasting would be an indication of the crucifixion.
Fasting – John is currently imprisoned (see Mt 11) and so his disciples might even be grieving, and so they might be fasting to pray, and intercede, for John’s freedom (see: Matthew 17:21). The primary fast of the Jews was the Day of Atonement, one of the seven annual solemn assemblies of the Law of Moses but the Pharisees also fasted on the second and fourth days of every week, and it seems as though John’s disciples were doing something similar. It is for this reason that we don’t necessarily see that the sequence of Phase three occurs in one month as asserted by others who have created timelines. We think his tour of Galilee continued for 2-4 months.
Transition from bridegroom to the second part of his teaching involving wine skins and the bridegroom. Ambrose makes the bridge via the fasting and the old man vs new man sanctified via Christ. (a transition – a man shall leave his mother an dfather and cleave to his wife. Genesis 2:24). 1 Corinthians 13 – love is. Paul I don’t do what I want … so Paul and we both rely on God’s grace.
The old cloth on new garment is a reference to the New Covenant creates riffs in our thinking given the Good News, our old nature, the law, and our old world view.

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