Gone with the Pharisees!

14 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…
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.
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.
                 Matthew 9:14-17
  1. The Power of Alliances

Alliances can quicken or kill, depending on what they are.  Sometimes God initiates alliances (Acts 8:29) or warns against them (Acts 13:1-3; Revelation 2:20; Genesis 12:1; 13:14-15), because He sees the end to which they would or could lead.  That is the drama we are about to watch.

Take one more look at the passage above.  It is doubtful that those disciples of John the Baptist, in response to whom Jesus gave the timely proverbs of garments and wine bottles, understood the import of His message.

  1. Baked by John, Lost with the Pharisees

For a very long time, the Pharisees and Sadducees had been snatching at Jesus, inducing Him to join either of their prominent religious leagues.  Once, they had even demanded to know which of the ‘frontline’ theological ‘schools’ He belonged to.  Then Jesus had managed to answer Himself out of their crafty nets (Matthew 21:23-27).  It would appear that, with time, they wised up to the process and sought other ways through their new allies, the disciples of John the Baptist.  They aimed to get to Jesus through John, the great preacher to whose baptism Jesus had submitted Himself, and some fickle disciples of John were going to be their blind tools.

In the text above, those disciples of John, apparently in the spirit of the popular Pharisees, proudly said to Jesus: “We and the Pharisees fast often…” (Good News).  They had aligned with the Pharisees, with those clever enemies of Jesus.  In the subtle spirit of the arrogant Pharisees, they cleverly blackmailed everyone outside their religious league as a spiritual inferior.  They and the Pharisees fasted together; they reasoned together; they did many things together, and that, proudly very “often.”  What was there to worry, it was a religious alliance, after all!  And who dared to say that fasting was devilish, that spiritual collaboration was stupid, or that Pharisees, who plainly called upon the name of the Lord, were Gentiles?

With time, those disciples began to see things the popular Pharisee way, but it came with a cost.  Sadly, when the Pharisees expired, those otherwise privileged disciples of John the Baptist also disappeared with them from spiritual relevance.  We never hear the name of any one of them. They had been deaf to the timely prophetic proverb of Jesus.  Like the agile piece of new cloth of which Jesus had warned, their prided new commission under John the Baptist faded away with the popular Pharisaic garment to which they had unfortunately attached themselves.  Alas, a tragic alignment (1 Kings 13:9, 11-26).

  1. Discerning the Seasons

From the beginning, John the Baptist had publicly announced to the hearing of everyone that, despite of the honourable status accorded him by prophecy and by society, he was a Passing Dispensation.  He plainly told them that Another was coming, whose forerunner he merely was.

Some of those who heard Prophet John make that announcement quickly and wisely reviewed their alliances.  Soon as they had received that prophetic notice, two of John’s disciples began to follow Jesus, which meant that they left John.  One of them was Andrew, who soon introduced his brother Peter to the Ministry of Jesus.  The other is believed to have been John, the writer of the Gospel of John, who would not usually name himself in his writings (John 1:34-42).

Today we read the Gospel of Saint John, which may have been unwritten if John had also followed the Pharisees.  Who knows what other gospels and epistles we may have lost in some of those that got lost the with Pharisees!

Without grudge, Pastor John the Baptist had essentially prepared them for Another Minister, another Dispensation, another Ministry.  On their part, those disciples responded appropriately, sailing away with the wind of the season, unpopular though it seemed then.  They had heard their master well.  They were not going to align with the beckoning attractions of the time and expire with the glamorous but doomed Pharisees.

While some promptly took steps to align with God’s New Move in the life and ministry of Jesus, others of John’s disciples chose to follow the rich and influential religious and political leaders of the day.  It gave them a voice; an audacious voice by which they could confront even Jesus.  But that voice was sooner to be silent forever.  It may be that after John’s tragic death, some of them even became outright Pharisees, whereas others of their colleagues had discerningly followed Jesus.  From the same womb of John, they had branched into opposite camps.

When you patch a piece of new cloth to an old garment, the new patch stands out with a zealous and youthful newness.  It is admirably conspicuous, like a lone star in a dark night.  But that glory hardly endures.  It lasts only for a while; for as long or as short as the waning garment endures.  When the patron-garment eventually is ruined with age, the bright patch disappears with it, and is buried with it.

To blindly patch some new grace on some old garment might sometimes appear to offer great promises, the prospects apparently intoxicating.  But that glory hardly lasts.  It lasts only for as long as the old garment is fated to endure.  Soon, the inevitable disaster of the old garment also becomes the untimely demise of the new patch.

  1. The Tragedy of Jonathan

Prince Jonathan the son of King Saul had become aware that his father was a Passing Dispensation; that David, that rough and rustic youth, was the New Move whom God was about to unleash upon the land (1 Samuel 20:15).  Conscious as he was of the times and seasons of God, he went to war on the side of Saul, perhaps out of a sense of patriotism; perhaps out of filial obligation.  He was never to return.  He ended ‘patriotically’ in that battle with the rejected king.  Hearing is one thing; obeying can sometimes be tough.

Jonathan might have been alive to enjoy the fruits of his seeds into the precarious early days of David, but he burst in the old wineskin of his Daddy, his new wine wasting in the sands of a doomed alliance.  When King Saul ‘selflessly’ sought to patch his unique daughter on David the Rising Star, he was clear on what he hoped to achieve through that strange alliance: “that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him” (1 Samuel 18:21).  Satan is careful not to waste his bullets.

  1. Pentecost or a Lamentation?
Considering your present alliances (which might now be popular and powerful), where would you be in the next ten years?  Would you, like the fooled disciples of John, have gone with the Pharisees in the winds of time, consigned to the dusty shelves of forgotten history?  Or would you, like Peter and John, be found bubbling with your New Wine in the New Bottle of global Pentecost?  Given the army in which you are now proudly ranked as Honoured Prince, beyond Mount Gilboa, shall the land rejoice for a new king crowned, or would we have to lament, as for Jonathan, “How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!” perished overnight, “as though [never] anointed with oil” (2 Samuel 1:21,27)?
From The Preacher’s diary,
August 29, 2003.
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Emmanuel Boms Sylvanus
Emmanuel Boms Sylvanus
1 month ago

O Lord God, pull me out from every doomed alliance. Help me to be sensitive and follow the new move. Let me not expire out of relevance and/ or into oblivion with the old wineskin. Amen.

Dr OkwuChukwukwuru Okpara
Dr OkwuChukwukwuru Okpara
1 month ago

The preacher, I bless THE LORD For your life and God’s amazing gift to you. This your post is a picture perfect. Being INTENTIONAL with The Holy Ghost helps me to be in tune with HIM, and it allows me to be sober and HIS Faithfulness keeps me glued into HIM.

Bolanle Musa
Bolanle Musa
1 month ago

Thank you for this insight Sir ????.May we never be unfortunate to follow popularity and prestige of any sort, instead of our Lord

1 month ago
Reply to  Bolanle Musa

Ĺòrd, deliver me fŕom every ‘snare of my life in Jesus name, amen!

1 month ago

Blessings Preacher. It’s powerful and timely. Where is the cloud moving too? We definitely don’t want to remain where God use to be. We go with the cloud.

Mary Musa- Owolehin
Mary Musa- Owolehin
1 month ago

May God the ALMIGHTY BLESS thePreacher with more REVELATION of the word inJMN! As there are still many in alliance with the Pharisees even with so much Evangelism & Preaching of the GOOD NEWS, I PRAY that the LIGHT of God the ALMIGHTY will SHINE into their SOULS & be DELIVERED inJMN! May those of us who KNOW the TRUTH & BELIEVE be INDEED SAVED & STAND till the end inJMN! John 8:32,36.

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