Learning how to listen is imperative to hearing correctly. Studying our bibles is how we learn to listen.
14 The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.
Folly is continuing to eat “junk food” instead of that which is good for you–even worse, eating poison! The teachers of the law taught each other and therefore fed each other lies. Jesus came to bring true knowledge; they missed Him, but the disciples of John the Baptist did not, who came seeking answers. Jesus spoke plainly and clearly to them.
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.” Matthew 9:14-17
In order to understand what Jesus meant by Bridegroom, we must first understand the Jewish perspective of God’s relationship with His people. “For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is His name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth” Isaiah 54:5. They saw God as their Husband and themselves as His bride. When Jesus said that He was the bridegroom, He was representing God. Every Jew would know this phraseology. He answered them with logic from their own lives: Fasting doesn’t happen at a wedding feast. Once the bridegroom and bride leave, then people can fast, which was part of their weekly worship regime.
Jesus then gives another illustration about patches. This one is pretty straightforward. A patch of unshrunk cloth will tear the old garment the first time the garment is washed with the new patch on it. To do so would make the tear or hole worse than before it was patched. Along with this illustration are the wineskins. To put new wine in an old (unstretchable) wineskin would burst the skin and waste the wine. The inference here is that the old wineskin (the covenant of Moses) was not flexible enough nor big enough to hold the new wine (the kingdom of heaven that Jesus was bringing). Jesus was creating a new wineskin (fertile hearts) for the new wine (the Holy Spirit). The old sacrificial system would be obsolete when Jesus died on the cross.
At one point, when John was in prison (his ministry being complete), Jesus once again addressed his disciples:
2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Matthew 11:2-6
Jesus knew that passages from Isaiah were the best answers to give John:
4 say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear; your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
John evidently believed Jesus because when he was beheaded, “John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus” Matthew 14:12. I am presuming that they stayed with Him from then on. Let’s not forget that Andrew and John were both disciples of John the Baptist (John 1:35-42) and probably knew most of them. Also, they would take John’s word about the testimony of Jesus.
In order to think Jewishly, we need to know the Old Testament Scriptures. We also need to learn about Jewish customs, rituals, and feasts. Our pastor has a Jewish friend who is a follower of Jesus. They will be talking about Passover and other feasts these next two Wednesdays at 10:30 at Wednesday Morning Blessings. Look for Brookwood, OKC on YouTube (best) or for Brookwood Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, on Facebook.
Abba, what a grand time to learn about Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread as they come up in a couple of weeks. May You open our minds to the meanings behind the events, especially concerning Your fulfillment of them. May we have spiritual eyes and ears, Lord. Amen.