Matthew 9:14-17 The New Covenant

We know that the Pharisees asked Jesus why He and His disciples were not fasting because they believed in fasting twice a week and here Jesus is still eating when John the Baptist Disciples approached.

John the Baptist told his disciples to go and follow Jesus but not all of them did and so here they are asking why Jesus disciples were not fasting like they were.

In verse 15 Jesus is saying that the reason they are not fasting is because He is here. “I’m Here” was said like you were waiting for someone to arrive and you were excited that they finally came. Jesus coming should have been expected, anticipated and rejoiced while He was on earth but they missed it.

1)   The Groom has arrived

The Wedding is the illustration Jesus uses because a wedding was sometimes a seven day party full of rejoicing. Normal people do not show up to a wedding party and tell everyone they are fasting and nor is it a time to be doing so. Jesus is saying that there will be a day to fast and mourn but that time is not now.

When I talk to people and how they say Jesus never claimed to be God I say that is not true. Just because He does not always say “I am God” He did say things that would be said of God. The people of His day would of or should have known what He meant by calling Himself the Groom.

Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.

Isaiah 62:5 For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

See also Hosea 2:16-20

As a Pastor I get the pleasure of standing next to the groom as the Bride steps into a church or around a corner and is seen in her wedding dress for the first time. I get to stand next to the one who has waited for this day and it is amazing when she starts coming down the aisle to meet her groom.

When God says that He is our husband  and groom and we as the church are the Bride this is the image that is in place. That when God sees us and when that final day comes when we get to be with Him forever it will be a similar scenerio as a Bride coming down the aisle and dressed in white.

The Funeral

Reread vs 15

Jesus although was saying it is not time to fast right now, He knew a day of sorrow would come. But that day of sorrow would lead to ultimate joy because it would be the sacrifice of Christ that would bring us back into perfect union with Him.

Isaiah 53:8-9 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Jesus tells them that one day He will be taken away like Isaiah prophesy foretold but they did not understand at the time that the Messiah must suffer. They looked for a triumphant King to come, which was fortold but they missed the part about being a suffering servant.

What Jesus said to them would only be understood after the cross and His resurrection. After Jesus rose from the dead you know that everything they were taught and saw started to make sense.

So although there would be a time of mourning and fasting Jesus wanted to make clear that it was right now. We all have to face times of sadness and pain but when we are together we do not think about those things but only rejoice in the moments we have.

2)   New Covenant

Read vs 16-17

Jesus gives two illustrations about the new covenant that is getting ready to take place through His death and resurrection. The first is the cloth and how you cannot put a un-shrunk patch on a preshrunk outfit. By doing that you will only cause a bigger problem because when the un-shrunk patch shrinks it will cause a bigger hole. Jesus did not come to just patch up the religious system that was in existence He came to make a new covenant for all of eternity.

The wine skins, which was made up of animal skin, would get brittle over time and so new wine that was still fermenting would expand causing the skins to break.

Once again this was something they should have been expecting because they were taught this in the Old Testament.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

The New Covenant is something we remember every time we take communion because it was what Jesus explained to His disciples that was getting ready to take place.

Luke 22:19-20 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.[

This does not mean that we forget about the old testament as some have suggested because Jesus said He did not come to destroy it but to fulfill it.

Matthew 5:17-20 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

We cannot throw the Old Testament out as some have suggested because the law and the standard is still in effect. The Law is  there to show us that we cannot meet it. The new covenant fulfills the old covenant by meeting its standards not by making them go away. The New Covenant supersedes the Old Covenant but it does not destroy it. The Law was given to show that we cannot earn our way to God not a standard for us to meet so we can find favor with God.

Jesus lived the old covenant perfectly before He died for our sin and that is what made Him the perfect sacrifice.The Gospel and the law are brought together in Jesus Christ but the law is not nullified just superseded.

Gods law and Gods grace have always gone hand and hand since the garden when Adam and Eve sinned and God sacrificed an animal on their behalf. They broke the law but God provided the sacrifice. That is how it has been from the beginning.

Our Scape Goat

A scape goat is thought about when you think of a person who took the blame for others even though they had nothing to do with the wrong that was committed. This is an Old Testament practice demonstrating that God would one day have the Ultimate Scape Goat in Jesus Christ.

Leviticus 16:9-10 And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord and use it as a sin offering, 10 but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.

Our Mediator

Hebrews 8:6 -7 6 But as it is, Christ[b] has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

A mediator stands between two people  and brings them together. The old covenant still lacked because it could not bring men and God together but they were only reflections of what was to come through Jesus Christ.

What The New Covenant Includes

(The Purpose of the rest of this blog is not to lay out every detail about the New Covenant. I have chosen two things and even those are only dealt with briefly. In other words a lot can be added to this)

Jesus was ultimate sacrifice

One of the proofs of the resurrection was that the Christians started worshiping differently after 1,400 years of doing it the same way. No longer did they believe they needed to sacrifice animals that were symbolic of what God would do one day on the cross. No longer would they have to travel to the temple to offer their sacrifices but now Jesus is our temple and our ultimate one time sacrifice for our sins. When we accept Him then we become a temple because He comes and makes His home with us.

John 2:15-22 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple,[c] and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

 

The Promised Holy Spirit

Acts 2:14-21 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.[b] 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;

 

Hebrews 8: 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

One of the unique benefits of the new covenant is that Gods Spirit will rest on all believers and not just fall on individuals. Obedience will move from outward actions to inward obedience and it will be what Jesus challenges the religious leaders with the most. Over and over again Jesus challenged not their actions but their motives.

The New Covenant will not be rituals but a personal experience with a living God.  Peter is quoting from the book of Joel as He is trying to piece together for his fellow Jews what exactly was  and has taken place. The Holy Spirit will be with each believer to teach, encourage and strengthen. God did not redeem you so that you can just go to Heaven, He redeemed you back to a right relationship with Him, with others and to overcome your sin.

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

What the Holy Spirit does for us

1)      Makes us one with God (Ephesians 1:13) by Proving we belong to God (1 John 4:13) as we share in His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) so we please Him and no longer ourselves                      (2 Corinthians 5:15)

 

2)      To make us like Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18) by convicting of us our sin (John 16:8) by guiding us (Galatians 5:16) because we have been given everything we need to live a Godly life (2 Peter 1:3) because we are no longer controlled by our sin nature but the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9) who produces His fruit in us as we surrender to His spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)

The Christian life is not about you trying harder to do the things that Jesus would want you to do. The Christian life is about you spending time with Jesus and the more you do the more you will become like Him. You always act like those you hang around and if you want to act more like Jesus then you spend time with Him. This concept was radically different from what they had heard for 1,400 years and that is why it would not be able to go into old wine skins. It was a total change of thinking.

In Luke 10:40-42 Martha was about works and Mary was about spending time with Jesus. Jesus told her there is only one thing that should be worth our time.

3)      To teach us what Gods word says (1 Corinthians 2:11-16) and helps us accurately discern it (2 Timothy 2:15) so we can discern what is from God and what is a false doctrine. (1 John 4:1-3)

4)      It empowers us to do the things God is calling us to do (Acts 1:8) through the gifts He has given to us individually for use in His church corporately (1 Corinthians 12:6-7)

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