33 Then they said to him, “John’s disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink.” 34 Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? 35 The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” 36 He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.’”
Jesus is confronted by his critics, they take offence at his apparent lack of austerity; where is his ‘holy’ behaviour? Jesus’s “eating and drinking” is going on right under their noses: the scumbag tax collector Levi has just convened a lavish party in Jesus’s honour and he doesn’t hold back!
What we observe here is a sign of the times. Jesus’s arrival ushers in a new age, the long awaited time, what was only a dream for some – the outbreak of celebration and jubilee! The old guard will, understandably, prefer the “old wine” (v39) – but we are Jesus people, invited into his inner circle, drinking his choice vintage, joining in with Levi to rejoice: my past is forgiven! Like Levi, a new chapter of our lives dawned in that fateful moment when Jesus came to us, extended his hand and said two simple words of eternal beauty and power: “Follow me”. Now made new by salvation, Jesus pours his new wine of the Holy Spirit into our renewed lives.
Remember today God’s goodness in Jesus. Remember also that you have a reserved place at His banquet table. Yes, sometimes we do fast and pray, but the overall arch of our salvation existence is celebration in the presence of King Jesus – the heavenly party has begun!
Jesus, thank you for your open invitation. I accept today, just like every other day. I want to follow you faithfully; I want to be led by you. Thank you that you fill me with the renewing Holy Spirit – today may the joy and celebration of the new life you have given me, overflow again from the deep peace and security that is truly knowing that I have a reserved place at your banquet table.
Written by Sam Stewart