Are you a rule-breaker or someone who follows the accepted wisdom most of the time? How come the disciples of John the Baptist and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast? This was the question of the day when the Pharisees came to question and accuse Jesus. Jesus had caused significant upset to the establishment by healing people and forgiving their sins, eating with plainly unsuitable people (at least in the eyes of the Pharisees) associating with money lenders and by not fasting as they believed that He should. To add insult to injury, Jesus was encouraging His disciples to participate in this blatant act of religious disobedience. Jesus answered the Pharisees by saying, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while He is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved,” (Matthew 9: 14-17). Can people accuse you of being too good, too loving or too kind? Can you be accused of living by a radically different set of rules in which the sole purpose is to show people Jesus the Way, the Truth and the Life? Is there enough evidence to convict you? Or would you be acquitted due to lack of evidence? Jesus was not advocating that people should not fast. He was merely saying that while He was with the disciples, that was not the right time for it. Whenever Jesus is present, it is a time of joy and celebration. David understood this, “You will show me the path of life. In Your presence there is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore,” (Psalm 16:11). Contrast that with the Pharisees screwing up their faces and letting the world know that they were starving – righteously and for the kingdom, of course – while fasting (Matthew 6: 16). Jesus wanted to let everyone know that there was a new way of doing things. He was and is the way. Fasting the Pharisees’ way served no purpose, so why do it? Why go through the rituals and the motions for the sake of it? Jesus says that what He came to establish is like new wine and it cannot be contained in an old wineskin. You keep your old ways and established routines and follow your traditions. I am setting a new trend, a new vintage: poor people will be delivered from poverty. Sick people will be healed; people who are broken-hearted and burdened will be set free and made whole. People who struggle with the weight and penalty of sin will be forgiven and shown how to live victorious Christian lives. I can’t do that within your system, it is too rigid. To be able to establish my kingdom of grace, I need a new system of love and mercy, a new wine symbolised by my blood. So I need new vessels as the old ones will burst – they cannot contain my new wine. Do you have what it takes to be filled with new wine? Do you want to be intoxicated by the love of God, as you serve others? Are you prepared to have sour, angry people scold you for having too much joy and peace? Let Jesus make you over again and fill you with His wine. That way both you and the wine will be preserved.