Summary: Working through the Gospel of Luke using consecutive expository preaching.

“Parable of the Wine Skin”

Luke 5:33-39

A sermon for 4/18/21

Pastor John Bright - Harmony & Swansonville UMC

Luke 5 “33 Then they said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?”

34 And He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.”

36 Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. 39 And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ”

We spent time last week with an attack from the religious leaders. Jesus ended with a strong rebuke of them and let them know that their righteousness was not what he was seeking. Jesus was looking, then and now, for sinners to repent. These religious leaders tried to pivot on Jesus and use a modern-day tool of political debate – “whataboutism”.

Here is some information I found at Merriam Webster’s online dictionary:

Whataboutism gives a clue to its meaning in its name. It is not merely the changing of a subject ("What about the economy?") to deflect away from an earlier subject as a political strategy; it’s essentially a reversal of accusation, arguing that an opponent is guilty of an offense just as egregious or worse than what the original party was accused of doing, however unconnected the offenses may be.

The tactic behind whataboutism has been around for a long time. Rhetoricians generally consider it to be a form of tu quoque, ('tü-'kwo-kwe) which means "you too" in Latin and involves charging your accuser with whatever it is you've just been accused of rather than refuting the truth of the accusation made against you. Tu quoque is considered to be a logical fallacy, because whether or not the original accuser is likewise guilty of an offense has no bearing on the truth value of the original accusation.”

These religious leaders try to deflect and do a whataboutsim – “What about fasting? We see John’s disciples fasting (like we do – implied).” Jesus has been telling them that something new has come. He proclaimed, “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” What follows is Jesus trying to tell them (and us) what to do when the new has come.

Right up front – let me ask you a question: “How do you handle change?” (Stop and think about it)

Jesus was telling us to fast

The Pharisees were really good at keeping the Law of Moses. They had added layer after layer to the law. There were very few times of fasting for the average Jewish person in that day and they were all connected to religious festivals. The Pharisees, though, fasted ever week – typically on Monday and Thursdays. Apparently, they made a big deal about it. These Pharisees see the same practice in the followers of John the Baptist and they like it. What about Jesus’ disciples?

34 And He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.”

In that day, the bridegroom’s family would throw a wedding party that lasted all day and night at a minimum. It could go on for days. It would be ridiculous to plan to fast on the day or days of the party for the bride and groom. Right? It would make sense to wait until the party is over… then fast. Jesus let them know that His followers would fast after He was gone.

In the Early Church, they fasted two days a week. In the 2nd century AD, there was a document used throughout the Christian Communities call the Didache, folks today call it the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. Listen to the instructions on fasting: "Be careful not to schedule your fasts at the times when the hypocrites fast. They fast on the second (Monday) and fifth (Thursday) day of the week, therefore make your fast on the fourth (Wednesday) day and the Preparation day (Friday, the day of preparation for the Sabbath-Saturday)" (Didache 8:1).

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