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Mat 9:14-17   In what way was Jesus failing to conform to the expectations of even John the Baptist’s disciples?  See Mat 9:14.  What event prompted their inquiry?  See Luk 5:29-30 and note that strict Jews fasted twice a week (Luk 18:12) on the second and fifth days, and it is likely that Matthew’s feast took place on one of those days.  What does Jesus’ reply teach us about the proper circumstances for fasting?  Cf. Ecc 3:1, Zec 8:19.  What does it teach us about the danger of too closely following rote religious traditions?  In this context, what is the “old garment” Jesus refers to in Mat 9:16 with which the scribes, Pharisees, and even the disciples of John the Baptist clothed themselves?  What then is the “patch of unshrunk cloth” from a “new garment” (Luk 5:36)?  Hint: think about the new religious traditions that Jesus was bringing that conflicted with the old.  Consider that the word “tear” in Mat 9:16 (schisma) is typically translated as a “division” (Joh 7:43, 9:16, 10:19, 1Co 1:10, 11:18, 12:25) and is the Greek word from which we get our word schism; what insight does this give us into Jesus’ meaning?  In what ways might we be like the Scribes, Pharisees, and disciples of John in clothing ourselves with an old garment of religious traditions?  In what new or different ways might the Lord be working today that causes a schism with our old ways?  What does the “new wine” represent?  Hint: what is the spiritual counterpart to the “grain, new wine and oil” mentioned throughout the OT as signs of God’s physical blessing?  Cf. Gen 27:28, Deut 7:13, 11:14, 33:28, Jer 31:11-12, Joe 2:18-19.  Why would new wine cause old wineskins to burst?  Who are the “old wineskins” that “burst” with the new wine of Jesus’ teaching?  See Mat 9:3,11,14.  Who are the “new wineskins”?  See Mat 9:10.  Are we such old wineskins that the Lord cannot fill us with the new wine of whatever He might be doing today, lest we burst?  What do these parables teach us about the danger of holding too fast to our religious traditions?  Cf. Luk 5:39.  With what garment must we as Christians clothe ourselves that never grows old, is easily patched with even a new garment, and will not burst with whatever new wine the Lord may wish to fill us?  See 1Pe 5:5; cf. Col 3:12, Zep 2:3.

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