Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”
Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”
1. Do you hear the newness Jesus is announcing? The old is no longer adequate because the new brings about a different reality. Jesus, our bridegroom, calls us into new responses. Instead of fasting, celebration. Instead of the same wineskins, new wineskins. The question for us: What are we doing with Jesus? Are we shoving him into our old ways and ideas, or are we allowing him to redefine how we look at life?
Open our hearts, Lord, to your new work. May we not hold on to our ways, our understanding, when you are offering us your truth and understanding. Let us see your uniqueness, your holiness.
2. Are you the Pharisee here? The Pharisees were always looking for ways to trap Jesus, to pass judgment on others, to display their knowledge. Our first thoughts are, “No! We are not Pharisees!” But when the Holy Spirit takes us deeper, we see that a bit of Pharisee fights in us all. How often are we seeking to uphold religious tradition for the sake of tradition? How often do we portray a religious spirit for the sake of looking holy? How often do we challenge the spiritual authorities God puts in our lives?
Lord, dig out any religious spirit in us. Purge us of the need for self-holiness. Grant us humility to submit to your authority and the spiritual authorities you put in our lives. Take the blinders off our eyes so that we may see beyond our religious expectations to the new things your Spirit is doing.