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We Have Always Done It That Way

Briefing: Actions must mirror the situation. You would not pull your weapon and perform a felony traffic stop on a little old lady for not wearing her seatbelt. If it was winter in Chicago, you would not show up for a patrol shift wearing a bathing suit.

Dispatch (Assignment): Do you have people in your agency whose favorite phrase is, “That’s the way we’ve always done it”?

On the Street: It would be totally inappropriate for Jesus’ disciples to fast while He was in their presence. The act of fasting does not fit the situation. Just because that was what everyone else did or that’s the way we’ve always done it, does not make it right.

Wedding parties don’t last forever. They are brief periods of time to enjoy friendships before a major life change occurs. Jesus knew He was only going to be here for a short period of time and while He was here, His disciples needed to focus on learning all they could from Him, not just performing religious practices. He was more interested in spending quality time with them, not just watching to see if they practiced the correct religious laws.

Jesus was bringing understanding to the way things were supposed to be. He was teaching that murder was not just the act of killing someone, but hating your brother, as well. Adultery could happen in your heart and mind easier than the physical act, but was just as dangerous and corrupt. These were not new teachings. This was how He intended it to be understood from the beginning.

Jesus’ message needed a new vessel to carry it. This would be the calling of the Church. Israel had become too rigid and unresponsive and would not be the catalyst to carry His message to the world. Judaism’s emphasis on legalism and rituals was incompatible with Jesus’ gospel.

In this day and age, we are not very familiar with wine skins or sewing patches on clothing. What is Jesus trying to teach us? This is the explanation of why His disciples are not fasting. Fasting, like pouring new wine into old wineskins, was an act that did not fit the situation. Old vessels trying to carry new messages were only new to the people of the time, not to God.

Highlights from this Read: John’s disciples come to Jesus with this question of fasting. I can’t help but wonder if they stopped to compare notes with Andrew, Peter’s brother. Andrew started off as John the Baptist’s disciple and would have known the ones who came asking.

Investigational Resources: Mark 2:18-22 and Luke 5:33-39.

Officer Safety Principle: Jesus is not looking for us to do what we’ve always done. We have to be the vessel for His Word. This means living different from the world, living for Him.

from The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!