14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Over lunch a few years ago a good friend of mine told me the story of a summer job he had back when he was in high school. He worked for a company that printed among other things text books. His job was using a machine called a binder that sealed the printed pages to the book cover one at a time. After several days of training the day finally came when my friend was given full control of the binder and allowed to go at it on his own. At the end of the day he had bound more 1,000 books and even though he thought that was pretty good he was anxious that he might not have performed up to expectation based on some of the looks he was getting from some of his co-workers. He resolved to do better the next day and sure enough at the end of the day he had bound nearly 1,500 books. Still the looks and attitudes he got from his co-workers made him feel uncomfortable and worried that perhaps he might just not be cutting it.
The following morning when my friend reported to work his worst fears were realized. There was a note on his time card requesting he report to the operations supervisor’s office before he reported to his station. As he approached the office with his stomach in knots mentally he prepared for the worst. He had never been fired before. What would he tell his parents? Maybe the supervisor would give him another chance if he promised to work extra hard. Softly he knocked on the supervisor’s door. The supervisor distracted by a file he was reviewing told my friend to come in and have a seat. My friend figured he was reviewing his termination papers. Finally the supervisor looked up and placed the open file in front of my friend. The file contained a performance report showing the number of books bound by all of the workers in my friends department. The supervisor looked at my friend and began by telling him there had been numerous complaints filed on him by his co-workers. It seems that before my friend showed up the average daily books bound per worker was 325. In two days my friend has set two new records and in fact established a new standard, one the other workers were afraid they would have to also live up to.
In the passage today JESUS is explaining that a new standard is being established, one that blows the doors off the old one. GOD in the flesh and, as Pastor often says, the very Author of the book is speaking as only HE can! Just like the co-workers of my friend these words had to be frightening to the people of that time. The old ways, the ways to which they had become accustomed to and comfortable with were now obsolete, changed by the only ONE with the authority to do so. A new standard was being established and things would never ever be the same again!
LORD we lift your name on high. You came from heaven to earth to show us the way; From the earth to the cross, our debts to pay; From the cross to the grave, and from the grave to the sky, LORD we lift your name on high! I love you Jesus, Amen. Jim L.