Lesson 38—October 26, 2014
The Old and The New
To better understand that Jesus Christ offers a new way.
Today is final Sunday of “Sunday School Time at Mars Hill.” During the past seven weeks, our Life Focus classes have worked together to accomplish, with God’s help and strength, four objectives. Under the leadership of our Life Focus teachers, God has blessed our Sunday School.
It is my prayer that the classes, and you personally, have been blessed. One great blessing that has come from these past weeks is there has never been a time in the Mars Hill Baptist Church history when more people were genuinely studying their Sunday School lessons. Thank you for your desire to study and grow in your knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Thank you for investing your time and effort in the study of God’s Word.
Today as we close the books and gather the final tallies from Sunday School Time at Mars Hill, let us rejoice together in what God has done.
Together as a class, would you please pause now to offer God a prayer of thanksgiving for what He has done in your class.
As an individual, is there a praise or thanksgiving in your heart for what God has done in your life during these past weeks?
May we join with the psalmist and testify:
Because Your loving kindness is better than life
My lips shall praise You
Thus I will bless You while I live
I will lift up my hands in Your name
In last week’s lesson, we closed as Jesus responded to a question concerning fasting.
(V20) In Mark’s writing, this verse is the first mention by Jesus of His coming death. It is the second mention written in Luke (Luke 2:35). At this time, the bridegroom is present, but Jesus makes reference to days in the future when the bridegroom is no longer present.
By this statement [V20] He anticipated His death and return to the Father’s right hand. As the departure of the bridegroom from the wedding feast signaled the termination of the feast, so Christ’s departure would bring these disciples to a time when fasting and prayer would be proper (Pentecost).
To help us understand, we must realize: “The Lord answered in effect that there was no reason for His disciples to fast [at this specific time] while He was still with them. Here He associates fasting with sorrow and mourning [as it was commonly referenced in the Old Testament]” (MacDonald). Jesus then reference the time when He would no longer physically be with them.
(VV21-22) To apply this truth and to give practical explanation, Jesus spoke a parable to them (Matthew 5:36a). In verses 21 and 22, we find some rich and wonderful nuggets of truth. Would you prayerfully ask God to reveal some of these great truths to you?
Jesus, like no one else, is able to talk to people right where they live life and present glorious truth through the expressions of everyday life.
Aren’t we (followers of Jesus) so very thankful that He presents truth in simple understandable ways? I am a simple man with simple understanding. Thank you Jesus; thank you Father; thank you Holy Spirit for making it so that simple men and women can find truth and understanding through Your Word.
In verses 21 and 22, there is a basic idea and thought presented, and we can find application of that truth as we dig for the nuggets.
(V21) One does not patch an old garment with new un-shrunk material (kinda hard to get our 2014 minds around this in the age of preshrunk or no-shrink materials). I remember, as a boy, my mama literally patching my jeans (or as we called them, dungarees). Most of the time, the patches had to be placed on the knees, because we wore them out playing tackle football, kick up and tackle, cowboys and Indians, and army. Dungaree knee threads didn’t last too long. They had to be patched form time to time. Do any of you remember those days?
Jesus spoke concerning the patching of garments in His day and culture. They did not apply new cloth to repair a hole in an old garment, because when the garment was washed, the new piece would shrink and create a much worse tear—a bigger hole.
Jesus’ teaching did not deal with cloth or patching holes, but His coming to earth ushered in a new time. Jesus was not offering reform to the old system; He was offering something new. This new way would not patch the old way. All would be completely new. “The newness of the gospel and its relationship to people could not be combined with the religion of Judaism any more than a piece of un-shrunk cloth should be used as a patch on a worn out garment” (Barton).
The old way was a way of law and rule keeping. The gospel was an offer of grace. Jesus did not intend to patch Judaism. He offered a gospel of good news. Please read John 1:17. What men could not do concerning the law, Christ did perfectly. Please read Matthew 5:17. The law could only point out sin and condemn; Jesus Christ gave His life to bring us salvation and forgiveness. These parables of the cloth and wineskins speak of Jesus’ mission and ministry into the pages of human history. Please read John 1:6-13.
(V22) In Bible times, wine was not kept in glass bottles, but in goatskins sewn together around the edges to form watertight bags called “wineskins.” Old wineskins grew brittle with the passage of time. If new wine was put in old wineskins, the new wine would produce a chemical reaction that caused the old wineskin to burst. New wine was therefore always put in new wineskins.
“Like old wineskins, the Pharisees and indeed the entire religious system of Judaism were too rigid to accept Jesus, who could not be contained in their traditions or rules. They [Pharisees] were the self-appointed guardians of the ‘old garment’ and the ‘old wineskins” (Barton).
Hershel Hobbs, in An Exposition of the Four Gospels, says:
The Pharisees wished to confine Jesus’ work to their old forms. But Jesus said that such was impossible. Theirs was a system of legalism; His was a way of grace. Theirs was one of bondage; His was one of freedom. Theirs was the battle of ritual; His was the expanding expression of the spirit. The new revelation in Christ could not be contained in the rigid ways of Judaism. New wine must have new wineskins.
Luke closes this section with: “And no one, having drunk old wine immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better’” (Luke 5:39). The Pharisees were satisfied with the old and had no desire for the new that Jesus was offering them.
As a result, in their legalistic zeal to await the arrival of the Messiah, they missed Him!
• What does Jesus Christ offer you?
• What has Jesus Christ given to you?
As we close our eight week’s of special emphasis with today’s lesson, I want to thank you for allowing me the blessing of being your pastor. Thank you for allowing me to seek God with all my heart and then follow Him with all my being. Thank you for all the prayers you have prayed for my family and me.
A special thank you to all our Life Focus teachers for your love, support, and leadership.