What have you done with Jesus?

Vaclav's picture

Matthew 9:14-17
“Then John’s disciples came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast? ”
Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests be sad while the groom is with them? The time will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one patches an old garment with unshrunk cloth, because the patch pulls away from the garment and makes the tear worse. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. No, they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Fasting is not bad. It is very good in its essence.

But in Jesus’ day fasting was too closely associated with what was known as the religion or self-righteousness of the Pharisees. Just before John’s disciples asked Jesus about fasting, he told his disciples these words in Matthew 9:13, “Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” We must come to Jesus as sinners and not as Pharisees who thought that they were righteous.
The faith of Abraham was turned by the religious leaders into a list of external ‘dos and don’ts’. So instead of joy in their Lord, religious life became a heavy burden for people to bear.

Jesus taught that one day his disciples would fast, but not yet.
If Jesus told his disciples to fast while he was preaching the good news of the kingdom of heaven, they might have understood that what the Pharisees taught the people was okay and they just needed to add to it what Jesus taught.

But Jesus taught that they must repent and trust in him and become new creatures born of the Spirit; a new heart would issue in a new life.

We can’t just take Jesus and put him as a patch on our old way of thinking about God. And we can’t just take Jesus and pour him into us like new wine into your old fallen and sinful life.

What Jesus is saying to us all is that we must receive a new heart from God by turning away from our old life of self-seeking and putting our wholehearted trust in Jesus alone for our salvation.

We can’t add Jesus to our supposed goodness to make us better. We must first see that we are fallen and lost in sin and unbelief. And we must take Jesus alone as the new wine unmixed with our own religion.

Jesus + anything else = confusion and ruin. But Jesus and what he has done for us in his life, death, and resurrection result in life everlasting for those who receive him as a gift of God by faith.