Understanding the 40 Parables of Jesus Christ: Learn from the greatest teacher Jesus Christ. The gospel taught in stories.

Parable of the Unshrunken Cloth on an Old Garment/Cloak


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Parable of the Cloth on an Old Cloak: Matthew 9:16; Mark 2:21; Luke 5:36


In the context of the parable of the unshrunken cloth on an old garment, Jesus has just been asked why the disciples of others fast, while his disciples do not fast. Jesus answers them by saying, "You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you?" (Luke 5:34)

Then, to further answer the question, he gives this parable of the unshrunken cloth.

This parable has the same message as the Parable of the New Wine in Old Wineskins. Just like with wineskins, clothes made of most materials will shrink over time. Therefore, putting new cloth onto old clothing will result in a worse tear since the new cloth will shrink.



Meaning of the Parable of the Unshrunken Cloth on an Old Garment/Cloak


The reason Jesus tells this parable is to further answer the question about fasting. Therefore, the meaning must be related to this question.

Jesus is making a point in regards to the significance of himself (he is the bridegroom), and he is making implications about the old and new covenants. Just like a marriage ceremony is the establishment of a new covenant between those getting married, Jesus' ministry and sacrifice is the establishment of a new covenant between God and humanity.

"But Jesus has now obtained a more excellent ministry, and to that degree he is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted through better promises...In speaking of 'a new covenant,' he has made the first one obsolete." (Hebrews 8:6-13) 

In this parable, Jesus is saying that his disciples aren't fasting because God is establishing a new covenant.

For a more complete explanation, visit the Parable of the New Wine in Old Wineskins which is part of the answer Jesus gives to this question on fasting.


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Study the parables of Jesus in this easy-to-read 40 day devotional.

This devotional takes the unique approach of understanding Jesus' parables by examining the genre, scriptural context, and historical culture. Your life will be transformed by studying the parables of Jesus Christ.

Understanding the 40 Parables of Jesus Christ: Learn from the greatest teacher Jesus Christ. The gospel taught in stories.

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