Background: John the Baptist was the last prophet
of the old covenant. Some of Jesus’ disciples were first
his disciples and they were used to fasting. John the Baptist was
imprisoned at the same time as Jesus began his public ministry.
Pharisees fasted twice a week, although the Law of
Moses ordered to fast only on one day a year. In principle,
Jesus was not against fasting, cf. Matt. 6:16-18. He had himself
fasted for 40 days at the beginning of his ministry. A
wedding was the most wonderful thing people knew, and it
lasted for many days. Then everyone could get their stomachs full
of good food.
- What different motives can people have when they are fasting?
(E.g. religious and non-religious people?)
- If you’ve ever fasted, why did you do so and how did
- What was the motive of these people who came to present their
question to Jesus? Consider various possibilities.
- Why had Jesus never said to his disciples: “We are not
eating anything today”?
- Why hadn’t the disciples ever suggested to Jesus,
“Let’s for a few days”?
- What would you think of your friend who came to your wedding
and would not eat anything?
- Tell in your own words why Jesus’ disciples did not
- In the Old Testament, the Lord had often called himself a
bridegroom, and Israel a bride. So what does Jesus want to say in
calling himself a bridegroom and his disciples wedding guests?
- How did the being together of Jesus and his disciples
resemble a wedding party?
- When do we get to the wedding party where Jesus is the
bridegroom? (Answer from outside this text.)
- What does Jesus mean by verse 20? (When did the disciples
have to fast?)
- Apply verses 19-20 to the lives of Christians of our time.
- What were the situations like in your life, when you have you
have lost your appetite?
Verse 21. In the Bible, a robe is always an important
thing starting from Adam and Eve’s leather suits. It often
- What does Jesus mean by an old robe and a patch made of new
- Why did Jesus teach this little parable especially in the
context of fasting?
- What would have happened if Jesus had fasted with his
disciples twice a week like the Pharisees did (although there was
no such rule in the Law of Moses)?
- Why couldn’t the faith of the Pharisees be patched but
it had to be rejected completely? (What would have happened if
the teachings of Jesus and the Pharisees had been combined?)
- Why cannot the righteousness of works and the righteousness
of faith be combined? (What if it were said that God does 99% of
saving you but you have to do one percent yourself?)
- Why did Jesus have to hang naked on the cross?
- Why does Jesus still present this parable besides the
previous one, what does he mean by that?
- What does Jesus mean by new and old wine?
- What does Jesus want to say by this parable to the Pharisees?
What does he say to the apostles, the founders of the church?
- What were the old forms that shouldn’t have been
transferred to the Christian church?
- What does Jesus want to say to us by these two small
- Where is the gospel of grace in this text?
Glad tidings: The bridegroom, Jesus, was taken
away from the disciples on Good Friday. Then the robe of
righteousness was stripped of him so that it might be put upon
us. It was this gospel of grace that was the new message that
cannot be combined with the teachings of any other religion.