17 February 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 9:14-17 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
14 One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?” 15 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. 17 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:14–17 NLT)
The very religious folks had their long-held traditions and rituals and God help the person who tried to change them! They kept their traditions and practiced their rituals, and if their hearts were right, God accepted their worship. Unfortunately they were inclined to judge other religious people by whether they kept to their specific traditions, rules, and rituals.
John and his followers mourned over the traditions and religious practices that kept the letter of the ritual law, but missed the heart of God’s law! They mourned over the selfish, greedy, hearts and lives of those who cared little or nothing about God and his ways. To both, John’s message was, “Repent! Have sorrow for your dead religion and have sorrow for your selfish godless lives. Repent! Change your mind and your behavior because God’s here and God’s real!”
Jesus and his followers celebrated the introduction of the new way, the Jesus Way, the heart-laws of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus said, “Why judge everyone else and demand that they think and act just like you? You follow me and be the salt of the earth and the light of the world!”
There’s a place for heart-felt traditions, there’s a place for honest evaluation and genuine repentance, and there’s a place for joyful, hopeful celebration of the new wine of God’s introduction of the Jesus way!
Father, Please give us wisdom and grace to mourn when it’s time to mourn, celebrate when it’s time to celebrate, and not judge everyone else for not doing it just the way we do! May we be salt and light and not judge and jury! For Jesus’ sake!