Luke 5:33–39 (ESV)
A Question About Fasting
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.’ ”
Today’s reading is broken up in two parts with the question and answer, followed by two parables to
make his point. “They” are followers (or seekers) of Jesus, but they notice that John’s followers fasted while Jesus followers are not fasting. John’s followers as well as the Pharisee’s follower’s fasted
often with prayers. Jesus answers their question, knowing that the Pharisees’ are wanting this explained as well. They do not find this acceptable and want an explanation. Jesus answers “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.” Fasting did not take place in the presence of the bridegroom. You fasted when he left them.
Jesus knows that he is with his followers and the day is coming when he will die and ascend into heaven. Then fasting can take place.
The two parables are related... you can’t mix the old with the
new. If you sew a new patch on an old garment, the old garment has already shrunk and the new patch has not shrunk yet, so it will pull the old fabric and rip it. The second parable has a similar message. When you make wine, it expands from
gases during the fermenting process and then the gas goes away. The old wine skin has already been stretched from the first wine batch. Put new wine in the old skin and it will burst the old skins because they can’t stretch anymore.
What Jesus is saying is you can't mix the old Jewish ways with the new ways. They are not compatible.
I pray: Oh Lord, help me to not get caught up or distracted by the old system of laws, but
to trust and live int the new way of the Gospel. We live through forgiveness and faith. The law is still there, but we are not saved by it, but through faith alone. Lord, help me to feed my faith with your Word. Amen.