Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 5 Study # 3
August 5, 2007
36 And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.
37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.
38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.
39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
1901 ASV Translation:
36 And he spake also a parable unto them: No man rendeth a piece from a new garment and putteth it upon an old garment; else he will rend the new, and also the piece from the new will not agree with the old.
37 And no man putteth new wine into old wine-skins; else the new wine will burst the skins, and itself will be spilled, and the skins will perish.
38 But new wine must be put into fresh wine-skins.
39 And no man having drunk old wine desireth new; for he saith, The old is good.
- I. The Parable of "Desire".
- A. It seems "obvious" (one must be careful with 'parables') that Jesus is saying that certain actions are not taken because of their inherent destructiveness. Patching garments and putting wine in wineskins both have the "purpose" of making further use of the items. Since that is the intent, certain types of actions are eschewed because of their inherent ability to frustrate that ambition.
- 1. Patching an old garment with new fabric was, in Jesus' day, untenable because the new fabric would shrink multiple times with "washings" and the patch would draw up and make the "fix" a non-fix.
- 2. Putting new wine in old wine skins was self-defeating because the fermentation process would produce gases that required the flexibility and ability to stretch that only new wineskins had. Old skins would have hardened and become incapable of expanding and, thus, would simply burst under the pressure.
- B. However, the final comment (which both Matthew and Mark leave unrecorded) seems to be a major "point". It has to do with men's preference for aged wine. This, at least, highlights the original "purpose" for putting new wine in new skins: it allows the "new" to become "old". This is the root cause for the care men take at the beginning to make sure that they do not frustrate their own ambitions. It is, at the very least, a subtle declaration by Jesus that the Pharisees and their scribes are not very bright: they are undercutting themselves by their false application of legitimate issues of zeal. It is interesting that the Pharisees had "hoped" to impugn Jesus and make Him appear to be a false prophet, but their stupidity only made them a laughingstock in the eyes of those who observed their attacks upon Jesus. No one can seriously study the New Testament records of the behavior of the Pharisees and come away thinking that they are of a type that is worthy of emulation.
- II. The Principles of Wisdom.
- A. "No one...": this is Jesus' "everyone knows" approach to explaining why the Pharisees are seriously in error in criticizing Jesus' disciples and, thus, His disciple-making process.
- 1. There were two goals for the criticisms of Jesus. The Pharisees wished to unseat Him from the place He had in the popular mind, and they wished to extend their own reputations.
- 2. Both of these goals were undermined. Jesus gained in reputation and the Pharisees became a by-word for priggish obstructionism.
- B. Clearly, "wisdom" is not self-defeating. Such a characteristic would turn wisdom into foolishness.
- C. Just as clearly, however, is the fact that "wisdom" is often hidden until its fruit is pretty much full blown. How would deception work if it could not make itself look like truth; but how could truth be true if wisdom's children did not establish it and unmask the delusions? In the final analysis, Truth alone can stand the test of the ages. And, the verdict of the ages is not in until those ages are complete and all of the participants have had their say...including God. In other words, until the judgment of God has been set forth and established, the "testimony of the ages" is incomplete.
- D. In this light, the revelation of the Word of God becomes a critical factor: it is there alone that men have a sure guide to what is true and what is delusional. For this cause, it is eminently self-defeating for men to impugn Jesus because He is the Word of God.