“No one pours new wine into old wineskins.”
As we read through the gospels, a disturbing revelation comes to light. The religious people of Jesus’ day were totally missing a new thing God was doing by sending his Son into the world. One religious group—the Pharisees—were much disciplined. They fasted twice a week, tithed a tenth of their goods, and faithfully read God’s Word and prayed. Yet as the heavens poured out new wine by sending God’s Son into the world, the religious leaders did not embrace him. What happened? Could we make that same mistake today?
In today’s verses Jesus is asked why his disciples do not fast. He replies, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?” The purpose of fasting was to deny and humble oneself before God, seeking his mercy and help from danger and from the influence of sin. It drew people closer to God and helped them focus on living for the Lord. But fasting was not necessary for Jesus’ followers while he was with them; they were living every day in God’s presence.
The Pharisees were diligent about spiritual disciplines, but their hearts were not connected with God. And, yes, we can make that same mistake today. God continues to do new things on the earth. Are we so used to doing things a certain way that we have lost contact with the Lord of the universe? Do we recognize Jesus as he shows up in our world?
Lord, help us see the work you are doing among us today, and to join in with enthusiasm! In your name, Amen.
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