There are days when it is hard to live in the moment and not look back to the “good old days.” Change is a part of life—even in a church. We are comfortable with the old ways and many times resist the new ways, whether it is the music, the structure, or giving up something we enjoy to make room for other activities. In today’s passage of Scripture, Jesus encountered complaints from the Pharisees regarding the practice of fasting that they felt was not being practiced correctly by his disciples.
- What is one new thing that you are having trouble adjusting to in your life?
READ THE WORD: LUKE 5:33-39 (ESV)
33 And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” 34 And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” 36 He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- The “they” referred to here could be any group other than the Pharisees questioning Jesus. What was their complaint?
- A rigid system of fasting and prayer was not a requirement of the Law but one that the Pharisees had set up. How did Jesus answer their implied question about fasting?
- What happens if new cloth is patched onto old cloth? What happens if new wine is put into old wineskins?
- Through parables, Jesus was showing that his way was completely new and incompatible with the old ways of the Jewish leaders. The old ways could not be patched up; they needed to be done away with completely. What traditions or rituals are you clinging to that might be hindering your worship and fellowship with other believers, or when showing God’s love to someone?
RESPOND TO GOD
The Pharisees were unable to break away from their old customs to experience the new life that Jesus was offering. Jesus had a new way, and it was to deal with the heart and inward actions. Unfortunately, the Pharisees were unwilling to examine their hearts to see if they were truly serving and worshiping God. What is needed is the desire to give up the old way or attitude like Levi, and embrace the new life found in Christ. The transformation begins with the desire to change and follow Christ.
- Take time to reflect on one thing that you have been resisting, and seek what God says about it.
- After honest reflection, ask God to replace your old attitude, and follow the example of Jesus in that area.