Two Interpretations of Matthew 9:14-17 – Sermon
by Harry Morgan
Two Interpretations for the Parables
Sunday’s sermon, based on Matthew 9:14-17, talks about fasting, and tells two parables.
Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:14-17 NIV)
Harry first talked about the Pharisees, reviewing last week’s lesson that Jesus requires mercy not sacrifice.
He talked to us about the Pharisees’ tradition of fasting where they made a big show of this practice. He even had a picture of Pharisees with long faces showing how much pain they were in. He asked, “Would you want to join these guys?”
Instead, Jesus said to enjoy Him and feast with Him while He was on earth. There would be a time for mourning and fasting when He was gone.
Then Jesus tells us two parables:
- Putting new unshrunk cloth on old material
- Pouring new wine into old wine skins
Harry said there are two theological interpretations on these parables:
Out with the Old and in with the New:
We resist change and innovation. We don’t like renovations. Some people like the “same old, same old” [my words].
From Charisma Magazine there are three painful steps to make this renovation:
- Fear of Change: If we don’t change we will be in bondage. “Don’t park when God is calling you forward.”
- Defy Traditions: To move forward we need to be willing to defy traditions. “God is with the courageous few who are willing to blaze a new path into unreached territory.”
- Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal new strategies: “If the work of transforming the church is not totally led by the Holy Ghost, then our changes will be shallow and our impact will be pitiful.”
And the second interpretation is:
Mature the new gently so it can appreciate and renew the old:
Harry spoke of seeing value of the old traditions, hymns. We need to respect the past.
Then he left us to figure it out for ourselves. But he said he sees value in both interpretations. Today we had a contemporary service in which we also sang an old hymn. Harry showed us there is power of the Spirit in the past as well as in the present.
He left us with these words:
“We are Christ’s witnesses to reach the world around us. Let us be graceful in our approach.”
After reading the article from Charisma Magazine I like the J.L. Grady’s conclusion:
“I believe the Lord wants to unleash a gushing river of new wine into the church today, but He is directing us to prepare our wineskins. What is old must be renewed by the Spirit, what is outdated must be remodeled, and what is ineffective must be replaced. God wants to do a new thing. Don’t resist it.”