Bible Study: Matthew 9:16

Liliyan HassanHuman Rights, LifeLeave a Comment

16 No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. For the patch will pull away from the garment, and a worse tear will result. 17 Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will spill, and the wineskins will be ruined. Instead, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved..

–Matthew 9:16-17

Let us speak about this from a women’s rights and human rights perspective. The contradictory nature of the first part in this section from the bible speaks about patching garments. And the contradiction comes from the fact that new garments do not need to be patched. Hence, this entire section was meant to be read as one idea in order to make up for this contradiction. What Jesus is saying cannot possibly be that new ways are able to fix the old ways by us simply adding the new ways to the old ways in order to hold our old way together. Meaning that it is wrong for us to employ new ideas in such manner as to keep the old ideas going so that we can continue to do them for just a little bit longer. That would cause the wrongs in the old ideas to ruin the good within the new ideas. Instead, Jesus implies that if we want to fix old garments, that we need to find an older garment and take a piece of it out in order to patch the old one. In that, if we want to fix the old we need to find a piece of goodness from an idea that one wants to otherwise get rid of in order to make those old ideas better. For example, if you have an old pair of pants that you want to patch…you must find an old shirt that you do not like that much and take a piece of it to sew on those pants. In that, if we want fix “Christianity” for example, we look at marriage within Christianity as to try to improve it in order to improve Christianity. According to Jesus, Islam is not going to fix Christianity and neither would a new progressive marriage idea help Christianity since what is wrong in Christianity will become a wrong in the progressive idea and what wrongs exist in that new progressive idea will create a whole set of problems for Christianity that we may not otherwise have had. In that, Jesus tells us that if there is a new way or a new idea, that it is best to create a whole new system for it so that the wrongs in it can show clearly in time without the wrongs in the old ways making us see it as problematic when it is not so.

Befitting: that is the idea behind Matthew 9:16-17. And this idea is also applicable in relation to raising children. For these verses tell us that it is wrong for the young to befit the old. Instead, the ways of the old should always be limited in not being as a patch that is placed on the young—as in: the young should not be fixed since they are innocent and not broken. And the young is also not a patch that is meant to keep the lives of the adults “stable and together” since the youth of the young will always seem to be tearing away at the ways of the old. Hence, Jesus tells us that the young have their way which adults pour that-which-is-for-the-young into. And the old have their way and its function is in relation to understanding what it means to “preserve” something since their “wine”, or their ways, have been preserved for a longer period than the young.

Preservation: Throughout history people preserved their cultural, traditional, and religious value systems. And at times, they have preserved them  in a strict manner that harms and abuses children. That would be similar to taking old wine and pouring it into new wineskin. To do that is against the concept of preservation since it is more of a concept that is related to “agreement”. Meaning that if one was to pour old wine into new wineskin, then one is trying to achieve uniformity and submission more than one is trying to achieve preservation. In that, the preservation does not consider the changing state of the wine. For the wine in the old wineskin has developed and continues to develop in the skin it was poured into. To take the old wine and pour it into new wineskin is to not allow the wine to have the same length of development as the wine poured into the old wineskin–hence, creating sameness and agreement with the old wine. Instead, Jesus tells us to pour new wine into new wineskin WITHOUT sewing a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Meaning that ideas taught to children should not be “agreement” and “submission” based but they need to be new idea that are not to be used in order to continue the old ways as to make them agree with those ideas. In that, ideas develop throughout the lives of the old… we do not take the lessons of those times in order to understand how we can keep the problems going before pouring them into a glass for our children to drink since in doing so, the lessons learnt (which should have been new ideas) will be as a patch of cloth that will pull away from the garment or as a child whose value has become nothing more than the wine he holds within; hence, making the problems in children’s lives worse. 

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