Matthew 9:14–17 (ESV)
A Question About Fasting
14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests
mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from
the garment, and a worse tear is made. 17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are
The disciples of John make an interesting observation. They, John’s
disciples, and the Pharisees fast, but Jesus’s disciples don’t. Why? Well, they are trying to work within the requirements of the Law and this doesn’t fit into the new ways of Jesus Christ. Jesus gives two parables that
show the new doesn’t mix with the old. One is a new patch on an old garment and the other about putting new wine in old wine skins. The old wine skin has already been stretched in the fermenting process. To put new wine in the old skin
will burst the already stretched wine skin. Jesus also refers to himself as the bridegroom. The Lutheran Study Bible states: “John the Baptist compared Jesus to a bridegroom (Jn 3:29). Jesus does the same here and in His parable of the 10
virgins (25:1–13). Marriage imagery also figures prominently in Rv (e.g., 19:9; 21:9). The Bride of Christ is the Church—all those who by repentance and faith are united with the Bridegroom. The Church sings with anticipation: “The Bridegroom
comes, awake! Your lamps with gladness take! Alleluia! With bridal care Yourselves prepare To meet the Bridegroom, who is near” (LSB 516:1).”
I pray: Come, heavenly Bridegroom, and make all things new. Amen.
E. A. (2009). The Lutheran Study Bible (p. 1598). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.