O Lord, give me the grace to move with Your Holy Spirit. I want to know where Your Spirit is leading and follow.
Read Mark 2:18-22
 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”  Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them.  But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.  “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse.  And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy did Jesus not expect his disciples to fast?
The Pharisees had made fasting a public display. Jesus didn’t condemn fasting itself, but he did point out that it has its time and its place. To fast when he was around would make no sense. Jesus went on to emphasize just what a change his new teaching would bring about. The entire old religious structure needed to be transformed if it was to accommodate God’s new covenant.
But new into old just doesn’t go—it sets up too much tension and things get damaged. The new wine may refer to Jesus’ new teaching about the Kingdom of God, or to the Holy Spirit. The old wineskins may indicate the old religious structure or people’s hearts. Either way, what was coming in was bubbling with powerful new life, just like new wine which was still fermenting. New goatskin containers were flexible enough to expand with the fermentation gases. Old skins were stiff, hard and brittle, and pouring new wine into them would cause an explosion.
Both stories in this passage encourage us to take note of the times we live in. Are our attitudes and our behavior appropriate to the changes we see around us—but still godly?
How flexible are you when someone suggests a new way of doing things, at home, church or work? Do any of your attitudes need to change?
Lord Jesus, give me the discernment to know when to hold onto the old and when to embrace the new.
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