Mark 2:21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment ; otherwise the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear results. 22 “No one puts new wine into old wineskins ; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”
Despite John the Baptist’s endorsement of Jesus some of his disciples were still holding on to the old ways as were some of the Pharisees and their disciples. It is very hard to break away from the old in order to embrace the new.
If an old garment needs a patch you would want to patch the hole with a pre-shrunk piece of cloth. Old wine skins are good but only to hold old wine. In both cases you don’t want it to burst or tear.
Jesus was much more than a mere patch on the Old Testament covenant or the religion that the covenant had evolved into over the years by leaders such as the Pharisees. Jesus was coming with a whole new wine and wineskin, based on the old one but new. New design, new materials, new purpose. Jesus does not come to a man and say, “Let me patch you up.” He says, “Off with the old… burn it. I have to replace the whole thing.” You must be born again.
Some Christians seem to relish the idea of bursting and tearing. Jesus seems more sensitive to the old. The old will need to change, but still… I catch a bit of sympathy, empathy for the old from Jesus. Jesus did not come to abolish, but to fulfill, but definitely not to patch. Put on Christ.
Some pastors are too comfortable with bursting and tearing, too angry and prideful and impatient to wait for or find another way, a way without violence.
The new covenant Jesus was introducing certainly would require a whole new garment and wineskin. In most churches this is seldom the case. If there is a way to introduce change without bursting or tearing let’s find a way to do so.