Matthew by Dennis McCallum (1995)

The Problem of Wineskins

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Dennis McCallum

Matthew 9:14-17


John's disciples question Jesus about why he and his disciples do not hold to the Rabbinic traditions, like fasting. Jesus' response about wineskins contrasts the old covenant, which emphasizes faithfulness to God and ethical behavior, and the new covenant, which emphasizes relational union and sharing God's love with others. God's emphasis is inward and spiritual, not outward and institutional. According to Jesus, what matters is not the wineskin (man-made rules and structures) but the wine itself (what God is doing.) The problem is, humans tend to focus on and value the skin rather than the wine. We should be open to change if it means cooperating with what God's doing, instead of hindering or forfeiting God's work in favor of our traditions.


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