In the Thursday night Bible study this week, we covered Matthew 9. In particular we focused on two sections about the paralytic man and Jesus’ responses to the matter of fasting. In the case of the paralytic man, Jesus asked the Pharisees whether saying someone’s sins are forgiven or commanding someone to rise and walk was easier. At initial glance, it was difficult to understand what He was asking, but we realized that Jesus was trying to help the Pharisees see again that He was the Son of God and the Son of Man. It is definitely easier to say that someone’s sins are forgiven, simply because it is hard to prove whether that statement was true or not. For this reason, Jesus also caused the paralytic to rise and walk.
In the last case of Jesus’ response to fasting, he talks about new wine, old wineskins, and new wineskins. We discussed how the new wine represents Jesus, and how the old wineskins (which cannot hold the new wine) represent any kind of form or practice that we hold more precious than Christ Himself. In this context, the sons of John asked Jesus why they and the Pharisees fasted much, but not the disciples of the Lord. In essence, Jesus was trying to show them that they should not be satisfied with any kind of law or way, whether that be the Mosaic law with the Pharisees or the way of baptism with the disciples of John. To have or be the new “wineskins,” we simply should focus to seek Christ and not cling to any form, way, or practice. This is to receive the new wine into the new wineskins!