“Then they said to him, “John’s disciples frequently fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours continue to eat and drink.” So Jesus said to them, “You cannot make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? But those days are coming, and when the bridegroom is taken from them, at that time they will fast.””
Continuing the purpose of this section of Luke, we now see Jesus answering a question about fasting. Simply, why don’t your disciples fast when others do? Jesus replied that
“You cannot make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? But those days are coming, and when the bridegroom is taken from them, at that time they will fast.””
The point He is making is that the new way of life He is bringing (cf. Jeremiah 31.33, John 14.6) is totally incompatible with the old way (Luke 5.33, example – the way of the Pharisees). The examples Jesus gives in vv.35-39 show us, again, that Jesus is not lying and is not suffering from lunacy.
“He also told them a parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old garment. If he does, he will have torn the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. Instead new wine must be poured into new wineskins. No one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’”
All three examples of the truth Jesus had just taught are true and correspond to reality:
Nobody fasts at a wedding – being in the presence of bride and groom is a joyous occasion.
Nobody tries to sew together old and new material – there would be no cohesion and both would end up torn.
New wine wasn’t poured into old containers (wineskins) – the old would be broken and the liquid would be lost.
Feasting and fasting don’t go together, do they? Jesus was telling His questioners that His new way of life and love and relating to God and one another was totally new, separate, and different to the way things were.
For you and for me this point is still very much true. The way of life that Jesus offers is totally different to anything we have ever experienced. The Pharisees refused to have any part of it because they were stuck in the past, caught in tradition, and suffocating in man-made structure and hierarchy. Don’t be a Pharisee. Yes, honour the past and learn from the past (cf. Joshua 4), but see how it all pointed to one place, one person, and one way.
Points and principles to ponder today –
Genesis 3.15, Jeremiah 31.33, John 14.6