Matthew 9:14-17 New Garments And New Wine.
Why fast? Many suggest today that there are good health reasons for fasting. In this passage it seems clear that most considered it to be a spiritual discipline, but for what purpose, or to what end? John’s disciples were wondering why Jesus’ disciples were not fasting, while they and the Pharisees were (v. 14 Cf. Lk. 5:33ff.). Jesus uses the analogy of a wedding feast, where the friends of a bridegroom celebrate rather than fast, because the bridegroom is still with them. Jesus is the bridegroom, so as long as he was with his disciples, there was cause to celebrate (Cf. Jn. 3:29). However, a time was coming when he would be taken from them, then they would fast (Cf. Acts 13:1-3; 14:23). So fasting is a kind of mourning for the absence of a close friend, and no mere outward act (v. 15 Lk. 18:12).
Jesus’ two following analogies do not appear to be as clear. Jesus seems to be saying that he is a new piece of cloth, or new wine, and that those who follow with him must also be new creatures. Simply accepting Jesus as a great teacher with some new and interesting teaching is not enough. To claim to accept Jesus in some fashion with being made new or born again, will simply break a person apart. Living by the teachings of Jesus without actually knowing him in a spiritual way, is an impossibility. Jesus came to make new garments for us, and new wine skins to hold the spiritual life that he gives to those made new. This is how we are not only saved, but are preserved to the end when we shall see him face to face (vv. 16-17). Some thought that the wine of the old covenant was better than the new (Cf. Lk. 5:39).