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 NLT (also Matthew 9:16 and Mark 2:21)
My favorite tightly knit sweater had a hole in it. The seam stitching was pulling apart, so I
mended it. I pinched the seams, inserted the threaded needle, and tried to repair it “as good as new.” But it never was. The strain of the newly pinched seam showed. I needed a new sweater!
Patched clothes are not always as good as new. They bear the mark of brokenness.
We all have mending stories. Mending from illness. Mending from hurts. Mending from overwork. Mending from lost dreams. Mending from lost anything.
Jesus gave us a mending lesson. The occasion was the party Matthew (or Levi, his Jewish name) gave for Jesus after leaving his tax tables to follow Jesus. Matthew had invited the only friends he had—other tax collectors. But the Scribes and Pharisees were close enough to voice their disgust that Jesus was eating with sinners when he should be fasting. Jesus rebuked them by reminding them that wedding guests don’t fast while the bridegroom is present. Then, he told a mending story to draw attention to the difference between old and new.
His big message was that no one patches new with old.
Jesus wasn’t asking us to change the way we mend our clothes. He was pointing out the ineffective practice of using old thinking and acting to make something new. New needs new!
When Jesus called Matthew, he called him to a new life. Matthew couldn’t patch his tax
collecting into this new life. The same was true for the fishermen, the zealot, and the intellectual.
Jesus calls us to a newness that holds no place for old attitudes, old self-talk, old anything. He comes to make all things new so that we don’t live patched lives; we live new ones. We live his call to discipleship without trying to fit it into the way we’ve always lived or thought. We give him complete authority in our mind and heart so that he can breathe his new way of thinking and living into us.
I need this reminder because when I experience anything that brings up an old wound, I am tempted to patch it again. Just cover it up. Do better next time. At least try.
But Jesus says, “Not enough. Let me add this wound to the other wounds I took for
you. Let me heal it, redeem it, and love you so deeply there that you remember the love I give more than what anyone else or anything else took from you.”
His mending frees. Completely. To live without his mending is to live under-healed, under-forgiven, under-new.
Take a new look at where you’ve accepted your own patching. Meet Jesus for a lesson in mending. Let him bring his new to whatever holds you and prevents Jesus from making your life all new.
I did. I found I was holding on to some old thinking about what this new season of life should be for me. Recognizing that “new needs new” has helped me look for God’s openings instead of pushing my way through what I thought was supposed to work. There is more peace and adventure in letting Jesus point me to His new than anything I found in trying to make closed doors open.
New needs new and Jesus is the only one who can bring it.
If you want to take the story deeper, here's a five minute Bible study for you:
Then, answer the following questions based on what you already do or what you need God's help to do.
1. What does God use to re-new us according to Colossians 3:10?
Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge of the image of its Creator.
2. Ephesians 4:23 reminds us where God’s new must take over. Where is that and how do you invite God’s new there?
To be made new in the attitude of your minds.
3. According to Romans 12:2 what is the difference between living old and living new?
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
4. What is “gone” because of your new season of life in Christ? Be specific. Generalizations are old thinking.
2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
5. How does Galatians 3:3 warn and counsel us about our new life in Christ?
How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?
If you want to download this as a 2-page worksheet, click here: