In today's study from Matthew 9:14-17, Jesus explains that Law and Grace is an either/or proposition.
vv.14-15 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? (15) And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bride chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
The disciples of John raised a question concerning fasting. They wanted to know why they and the Pharisees fasted often while the disciples of Jesus didn’t fast at all. So, Jesus answers their question.The disciples of Jesus were not going to fast as long as Jesus was with them. People in the bride’s chamber don’t fast while the bridegroom is with them. But they would fast when He was gone.
New vs. Old Garment
v.16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.
Now he begins to introduce a completely new way of doing things as compared to the Old Testament. He says that a man doesn’t fix a tear in an old garment by sewing in a new piece of cloth. When the new cloth shrinks, it will tear the old garment.
New vs. Old Wine Skins
v.17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
If one puts new wine into old bottles they will break. Why? - Because the old leather bottles have already expanded to their full capacity. The point that Jesus was making was that his teaching was new. The Old Testament Law brought by Moses from Mt. Sinai brought death. The New Testament Grace brought by Jesus in the Law of the Kingdom (Sermon on the Mount) brought life.
Paul explained it this way: the first Adam (the Law) brought death, but the second Adam (Jesus) brought life (Romans 5:15-21). The bottom line is that you can have Law and you can have Grace, but you cannot have Law with Grace or Grace with Law. It’s either or and not both (Galatians 5:1-4).