18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”
19 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.
21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”
How do you know what you should believe? It’s easy: you take a poll or simply compare your beliefs to those of others’. No, on second thought, that is a horrible idea.
Jesus believes in fasting and is seen throughout the New Testament engaging in this spiritual discipline. What Jesus rejected was the popular thinking about fasting. The Pharisees saw fasting as a way to draw attention to their own righteousness. Their concept of fasting was based on their long-developed traditions and spiritual pride.
Jesus was a revolutionary with a challenging way of thinking. He refused to be constrained by contemporary ideas. I can respect anyone who reads the Bible
and honestly believes it is teaching something at odds with my own beliefs. The great problem today is that many leaders and churches are looking around at what other leaders and churches are doing and reshaping their theology to keep in step. Additionally, leaders and churches are responding to climate surveys (not about the weather, but current thoughts and beliefs) and re-aligning doctrinal positions to avoid offending the masses. One of the leading forces behind this shift is the Emerging Church movement, who now have taken to referring to themselves as Progressive Evangelicals (are they making progress with God or away from God?). They do this in the name of fresh new thinking, when it is actually the same old spiritually dead thinking of the Pharisees. It is the same thing Aaron did when he fashioned that gold calf. It is the same thing that Ahab and Jezebel did when they incorporated pagan deities into Israel’s worship.
New wine in new skins means objectively studying the Bible and conforming to the ways of God, regardless of what is en vogue. Jesus made a habit of offending people. His disciples would come to Him and say, “Rabbi, those guys are really offended by what you said.” Jesus response was clear and concise, “Some can accept my teaching and some can’t.” (Matthew 6:60-66)