¹⁸John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and they came and said to Him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”
¹⁹And Jesus said to them, “While the bridegroom is with them, the attendants of the bridegroom cannot fast, can they? So long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
²⁰But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.
²¹No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; otherwise the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear results.
²²No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”
With Jesus a new time dawns.
Fasting was a common practice for the Jews.
People then abstained from eating during certain times of the day. As a result, you were even more determined by that matter that was central to the Jewish experience of faith.
According to the Jewish law, people only needed to fast on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29-31). But in addition to this, people had started to observe more and more fasts (Compare 1 Samuel 14:24; Zechariah 7:2-5; 8:18,19). Especially in the circles of Pharisees and scribes it was seen as a merit if you fasted twice a week, for example (Cf. Luke 18:11,12).
Jesus and his disciples did not.
He explains this by comparing himself to a bridegroom and them to wedding guests. When they are together, there is only cause for celebration and joy and not for mourning.
Jesus does not just make this comparison.
In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, the promised Messiah and his people are also compared to a bridegroom and a bride in a marriage relationship. “Then I passed by you, and saw you, and, behold, the time of love had come for you … I entered into a covenant with you under oath, saith the Lord GOD; so you became mine (Ezekiel 16:8. Compare Revelation 21:2,9).
With this Jesus wants to indicate that with his coming a new time has arrived, the time of salvation. He is the expected Messiah.
No longer the perfect, but impossible compliance with God’s law is central, but forgiveness of sins, and reconciliation with God, through faith in this Jesus.
That with the advent of this new time the old time has been abolished, Jesus emphasizes again by two examples.
▪︎ A new piece of fabric does not fit on an old garment. When the new patch takes effect, the garment will tear.
▪︎ You don’t put new wine in an old bag. The fermentation process of new wine (just think of the pressure in a bottle of champagne) tears an old bag.
With Jesus’ coming not only a new time has dawned in the history of mankind, and of the Jewish people. But also a new time dawned in our own lives, as we got to know Jesus personally.
▪︎ Ask God to open your eyes to His wonderful deeds.
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