PARABLE OF THE WINESKINS
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Matthew 9, Mark 2, Luke 5
Context of the Parable:
- Calling of Levi: Jesus calls the tax collector to follow him. The gracious, joyous response of the tax collector is to host a feast in celebration of Christ. The Pharisees and scribes are scandalized because Jesus eats and drinks with sinners
- Question: Why dont Jesus disciples fast? Isnt fasting a good thing? Isnt it godly and pious? Didnt John the Baptists disciples fast?
- Parable of the Wineskin
What the parable means ...
- Pharisees fasted twice a week (Luke 18:12). Sources indicate that it was Monday and Thursday to commemorate the days that Moses went up to Sinai and when he came down.
- In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructs his disciples not to fast in order to win approval with others. Dont put it on display, but keep it between you and God.
- Is Jesus against fasting? No, but according to Christs teaching (Sermon on Mount and this parable) the call to fasting should not be a prescribed ritual, but the appropriateness of the situation. It is not fitting that the guests of the bridegroom should fast. Fast rather when they are grieved. Grief and joy cannot be manufactured
Process of wine fermentation
- Fermenting wine gives off CO2 which would expand the wineskin.
- A fresh, stretchable wineskin that can contain the expanding wine should be used.
- Putting it into an old, cracked wineskin would make no sense. The bag would burst and the wine would be lost.
Wine = Spirit
Wineskin = Form
Old Wineskins = Thats how weve always done it. Old Wine traditions
Why dont we do this anymore?
New Wineskins = The Way of Christ (Its always new)
- Could this be a comment by the gospel writers taking an episode from Jesus history and responding to possible criticism of the first centurys church communion with outsiders? (See Galatians 2.) Every communion is a feast in Christs honor. And such feasting could be seen as irreverent when fasting might be seen as more pious. After all, first century communion was in fact a meal, not a ritual.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 5 September 2010
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