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?”
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. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.
“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. 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.”
To start off, we need to first understand that Jesus’ talk about the new patch on the old coat and new wine in old wineskins was “Covenant-Talk“. Jesus was trying to explain to them about the new covenant which He was bringing into being. Here’s something I came up with about 5 or 6 years ago (and recently modified) to better explain the wineskins analogy:
Let’s say you’ve rebuilt the engine to your car, only this time, you turned it into a racing, high-performance engine. You wouldn’t put it into the old car though, for it has a rusted frame, and the rebuilt engine would rip the car apart. But if you put the newly rebuilt racing engine onto a new frame, you’d have one heck of a race car, right?
But now say you grew up with this old Junker…it’s your baby. But it’s rusted to the core, struts continue to go, holes in the roof and floorboards, a real Junker…but hey, you’ve got memories with this thing! And why get a new car when this will still get you from point A to point B, and occasionally C, right? But now, a new frame is more solid, and better built. It’s made for the rebuilt engine, or at least more so than the old car. Plus, you can not only build new memories, but it’ll also get you to points A,B, and C, plus every other letter in the alphabet, and even borrow some letters from other languages.
The Pharisees were stubborn people and preferred the old clunker. So they insisted on putting the rebuilt, high-performance engine into it.
Jesus was introducing a new covenant…a new “frame”, and trying to point out that the old frame doesn’t work anymore, and needs to be upgraded, or replaced, in a sense. But the Pharisees preferred the old Junker…the Law of Moses. A new engine was needed though, and if they were to put it into the old frame, as described in verses 21-22, it would cause bigger damage than before, and would break the frame.