Thursday, August 21, 2008

Matthew 9:14-17 "New Perspective"

Read Matthew 9:14-17.

"...they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved." NIV
Fasting was a practice used for penitence, mourning, or petition. Since Christ was with the disciples, they could worship him in person rather than through fasting. Jesus is once again being challenged by the Pharisees -- this time through John's disciples. And once again He answers them clearly from our perspective, but probably in a riddle from theirs.

They wanted to continue to practice a ritual without recognizing the significance. The focus of their practice was standing in front of them and they never recognized Him. That's why He talks about the new cloth and the new wineskins. The old cloth or the old bottles refer to the Pharisees and the new to the sinners Christ was reaching. Being filled with Christ required a fresh heart ready to be stretched. The religious leaders had lost their tenderness or suppleness to the workings of God in their lives. They had become hard and brittle. Whereas, the sinners Jesus was reaching out to were ready for a new word, a healing, a refreshing that only Christ could offer. They came just as they were without predjudice or hyposcracy, and Christ could fill them with His Spirit and exact change in their hearts.

We, as believers, must be constantly on the alert to becoming old, dry and complacent from ritual, duty, or lukewarm attitudes. Our hearts need to remain fresh to the filling of His Spirit so we can be stretched and grow. If we have become set in our ways, judgemental, and hypocritical, we will break. Christ wants to mold us into His image, not the image we have placed in our minds. And it cannot come from ritual, but from heart action, a desire to serve Him and worship Him alone.

Lord, keep my heart and my mind new and fresh to receive more of You. May I never become lost in ritual, but live for service.

Further Thoughts:
  1. How do we become complacent? What happens in our walk with the Lord to cause that? How do we return to that newness? Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and other Scriptures to support your answer.
  2. Read my other post on fasting.

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