“No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.” (Luke 5:36)
The Pharisees were always looking for a fault in Jesus. Jesus told a parable to them in response to their concern over his association with “sinners” such as Levi and his rabble-rousing buddies. In response, Jesus tells the story about a “garment,” but to better understand the verse, we could paraphrase it to say: “No one with any sense would buy a new pair of pants only to rip them apart in order to patch up an old pair of pants!”
It seems Jesus intended the old pants to represent the Old Covenant and the new pants to represent the New Covenant he was introducing. What does God’s story contrasting the Old and New Covenant have to do with us? What is our responsibility to Christ’s instructions about new pants?
We say we love God. We practice the spiritual discipline here and there. We pursue a few of the principles we presume promise a happy life. But in reality, these are simply surface gestures, small patches holding our tattered, saggy pants together. We have never really changed into our new pants, still hanging spotless in our closet. We have never fully embrace the new life God provides.
Each time a new hole sprouts in our pants, we ripped a small piece of fabric from the closet: a little moment of prayer or a few Scriptures. But we are denying the inevitable: the old pants will never fit.
Jesus never intended to be a “quick fix.” He is not a God of extra pieces. He scraps the old stuff and makes everything new. We do not have to be trapped in a terminal cycle of brokenness and struggle without relief. Jesus died so we could live a life freed from the guilt of sin. He died to clothed us in all things new.
Read Romans 6:4 and 2 Corinthians 3:6. Take a look in your closet. Peer deep in the back where you seldom look. Are you still hanging on to some things you should have thrown out years ago? Now, do the same in the closet of your soul.
God of the New Covenant, You have set me free. I am no longer bound to old ways, old paths or old hurts. You have released me. Strengthen me to walk in the new life You bring.