13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” 14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 And no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. 17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” Matt. 9:13-17
Every time we’ve ever heard this one preached it is about whether or not we should fast. However that is not the lesson the Messiah teaches here.
It is about mercy and not sacrifice. It is about patching with a new cloth and putting new wine in old wine skins. Both of which will make a hole or tear the garment or drain out the wine.
He is saying that they are putting new wine in old wine skins. The Bridegroom is here. The old wine is over, gone, and finished. It is time for new wine and new garments.
The old is the ritual ceremonial sacrifices. The new is this new kingdom and it will not be compatible with the old.
4 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away. 5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light. 6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings. Hos. 6:4-6
6 “With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 8 He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Mic. 6:6-8
1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.” 3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the law how on the sabbath the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are guiltless? 6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath.” Matt. 12:1-8
Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. Deut. 10:16
And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Deut. 30:6
Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your doings.” Jer. 4:4
Let not loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them about your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Prov. 3:3
. . . bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart. Prov. 7:3
. . . and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2Cor. 3:3
“The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars, Jer. 17:1
Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and the calling of assemblies — I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Is. 1:13
The Messiah submitted to the tests by “the law and the testimony”.
To the teaching and to the testimony! Surely for this word which they speak there is no dawn. Is 8:20
He challenged them to convict Him of some sin.
Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? John 8:46
There is no break in the unity of doctrine, or in the standard of life. The Old Testament is the bud the New Testament is the full flower. Messiah came not to destroy, but to fulfill.
The temple and accompanying ceremonial ritual sacrifices is an old wineskin. It can not be used again.