New Wine In Old Wineskins

Q. Our small group is studying Matthew. When we got to Matthew 9:16-17, a lengthy discussion broke out, as to the meaning, and we couldn’t come to an agreement. Please give me your understanding of these two verses.

A.Matt. 9:16-17 reads; “No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worst tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise , the skins burst and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

Some of John the Baptist’s disciples came to ask Jesus why they and the Pharisees fasted but His disciples didn’t. Jesus gave the illustration from Matt. 9:16-17 in response. He was saying the required fasts they observed were from the Old Covenant. He had come to bring a New Covenant. It would not be addition to the Old, to patch up something that was worn. Nor would it be contained within the Old, as wine is contained in a wineskin. It would be something completely different. The observation of Old Covenant rituals would not be practiced in the New Covenant because they were incompatible.

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