Lent Devotional: Matthew 9:14-17

by Jonathan Haefs

Matthew 9:14-17
Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, 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.”

Jesus changes everything.

Once you have encountered him and the reality of who he is and what he has done… nothing can be the same! This has always been the case!

Jesus arrived on the scene in first century Israel “breaking” all sorts of traditional rules. The truth was that he was not actually breaking anything but fulfilling and therefore changing everything.

In Matthew 9, some of John the Baptist’s followers are confused as to why Jesus’ disciples do not live in step with the traditional rules of Judaism. The specific issue at hand has to do with keeping certain fasts.

Three times Jesus explains that he has transformed everything. He is the long-anticipated messiah, the bridegroom who has come. It doesn’t make sense to fast and mourn while he is present. That’s like putting an unshrunk patch on pre-shrunk clothes… it doesn’t work. It’s like putting still-fermenting wine in an old, hardened wineskin. The expanding gases will make the skin burst… it doesn’t work!

And trying to pour the new covenant age that Jesus has begun into the old covenant age doesn’t work! It’s not that the two are disconnected, but that they move in a particular direction… from old to new… not the other way around. Jesus fulfills the old and inaugurates the new.

Jesus changes everything!

And the same is true for you… and for me. All too often, I try to pour Jesus into my old way of life… my life before Christ. I try to keep on living without him as king while simultaneously claiming him as king… but like unshrunk patches and new wine I can’t stitch Jesus onto, or pour him into my old way of life. No.

Jesus changes everything!

Today… how is he still at work, by his Spirit changing you? In what way is he stripping away the old and making you new? The bridegroom, your messiah, has saved you and is with you… it is impossible for things to stay the same. I’ll say it one more time because it is gloriously true…

Jesus changes everything!

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.