The Real Issue
Luke is not clear who actually raises the issue of fasting and prayer with Jesus (they are identified only as “they”). But it’s safe to say that the Pharisees have a role in the controversy. The issue they raise is fasting (and prayer). But the what they are really saying is that Jesus must fit into their distorted view of Judaism. They want the gospel to comply with their own preconceptions, with their own world view.
Let’s update the parable of the new patch on the old garment: Suppose I had an old pair of jeans that I wore when I worked around the house. They were tattered and worn. They were frayed in the legs and thin in the knees. One day I caught them on a nail and tore a large hole in the thigh. So I went out and bought a brand new pair of jeans. Then I got a scissors and cut a large patch out of the new jeans. and sewed it over the hole in the old jeans.
Ridiculous, right? I’ve ruined a perfectly good pair of jeans in a vain attempt to save a pair that really wasn’t salvageable in the first place. But it’s worse than that!
The new pair of jeans wasn’t the kind that come pre-washed and pre-shrunk. So the first time I was the patched jeans, the patch shrinks. It pulls away from the old jeans, making the hole even worse. Now I have nothing!
Listen to the sermon to see how Jesus relates the parable of the new patch on an old garment to gospel on the Pharisees’ worldview. And discover the warnings for us in the parable, along with the parable of the new wine in old wineskins and the parable of the new and old wine.