About Worship Bible Camp Outreach Sermons Links Contact
About Worship Bible Camp Outreach Sermons Links Contact

Sad, Shrunken, and Stretched


Matthew 9:14-17

Here is the title to today’s lesson: “Sad, Shrunken, and Stretched.”

Now remember when we left last week Jesus has concluded the Sermon on the Mount, large crowds followed him down off the hillside, and as He moves on He is interacting with a lot of these people from the hillside.

And the guest list, other than Jesus and his disciples, includes other tax collectors and sinners.

Now the spiritual leaders of this area, the rabbis and the Pharisees, see Jesus and his disciples eating in Levi’s house with this crowd and they are very unhappy about it and feel critical and judgmental that Jesus would eat with such people.

Vs. 14: Then the disciples of John (John the Baptist) came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”

Now initially this sounds like a fair question but actually it has veiled criticism.

They also fasted to show how “holy” they were.

And remember back in chapter 6:16 how they would fast and “put on a gloomy face and neglect their appearance in order to be seen by men.”

And also notice, they say, “Why do your disciples not fast?”

Well look at vs. 15 at Jesus’ response: “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them can they?” (Is a wedding time for morning?) But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them and then they will fast.”

The Pharisees and the scribes and the disciples of John couldn’t stand it.

But Jesus says here that His time here on earth…and His spending time with His disciples and teaching them and showing them the kind of heart they should have, and healing people…and showing mercy and grace is no time to mourn!

You see, that is what is “sad” here…these scribes and Pharisees preferred “sacrifice…ritual” more than “mercy.”

Well Jesus follows this up with two parables, very simple, very brief.

Verse 16: “No one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the worst terror results.”

So what you have here is actually the idea that you have an old worn-out garment and it has a tear…and you patch it with a piece of new cloth…

Then in verse 17 you have the next parable; the stretched. “Nor do men put new wine into old wine skins; otherwise the wine skins burst, and the wine pours out, and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

So, what do these two parables have to do with the Pharisees and scribes being upset with Jesus’ disciples not fasting?

Many scholars think that Jesus is making a comparison between the old and new as in the old covenant and the new covenant, the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Temple and the church, Judaism and Christianity, Law and grace.

But I don’t think that is what Jesus is talking about here.

In both parables Jesus says that putting the “new” on the old just won’t work.

But here Jesus is bringing a new way of thinking…bringing new teachings…He is humble…He is showing mercy and compassion, and understanding, and He is reaching out to sinners and outcasts…and what Jesus is doing with these two parables is He is making a statement about the Pharisees and the scribes…

And that is what He is saying to me…and to us…either my mind is open and my heart is soft or my mind is closed and my heart is hard.

You see, I have to ask myself…and maybe you do to…just how receptive am I to Jesus’ teachings…and His example for me?

You know I love both of my parents…and they taught me some things…but what I have come to learn over the years is that some of the things my parents taught me…especially spiritual and Biblical principles…aren’t in agreement with what Jesus teaches.

Several times I have studied with people and they have told me that what Jesus says is right and true…but if they did what He said their parents would disown them…and they walked away.

So how is your heart? And how is mine?” How receptive are we to the teachings of Christ…especially when they contradict what we have always believed?