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The Parable of The New Cloth Made Simple

(Matthew 9:16)

Jesus said in Matthew 9:16:

“No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse.”

The context of what Jesus said in this parable is related to what was happening just before He said it. So we’ll read that.

“Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” 

And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (Matthew 9:14-15)

The Pharisees and the disciples of John operated their lives based on what was taught and given in the Old Testament law. They had a list of things that a person had to do with his life. Part of that law, which has become a tradition, was to fast one or two days a week, or even more often.

In some sort of spiritual honor, they used to go without food as an act of worship to God. But a lot of the Pharisees have been doing it, that it had become just a tradition to them. It didn’t have sustenance. It didn’t have life. It was no longer rooted in the fact that they glorified God. It was rooted in themselves thinking that they were important.

They thought that what they did, having a day without food, was something to be honored by other men, something to be respected by other men. This was true. The Pharisees were fasting out of wrong motives. They were fasting out of a sense of trying to feel important, trying to feel worthy and religious and to appear better than other people. This was illustrated when Jesus said to the people, “When you fast, make sure you wash your face, and put oil on your face and look nice and fresh; be in a good state of mind and in a good state physically. Don’t go moping around, looking tired, with an unwashed face and not looking vibrant as you would with nice cream or oil on your face, shining as you would. Make sure that people, who are going about their daily business, don’t look at you and say, “Oh, he must be fasting because he looks so worn out. He looks so torn and broken. He seems to be suffering so much.” Jesus said, “If you fast, it’s a private thing between you and God. So therefore make sure that you dress appropriately, you make your face up and make yourself look fresh so that no one, besides God the Father, knows that you’re fasting.” (Matthew 6:16-18)

So there was a tradition in the fast. John’s disciples used to fast, even though they were with their master. Jesus said John the Baptist was the greatest of all the saints that had come before him. Even though they were the disciples of John, they were still practicing the law and it was clear that they saw good things in fasting. So Jesus answered them that way. He said that He was the bridegroom. I’m sure most people didn’t understand how Jesus was going to marry the whole world. And if they did understand, I don’t know how they could’ve understood. But then He said, when He is taken away or when He goes, then the people will return to fasting. So Jesus isn’t saying that fasting will pass away. But He is alluding that fasting be done in a different way, with a different attitude.

So that’s what leads us on to what Jesus says here about the cloth. “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse.”(v.16)

First of all, if we look at this parable, we’ve got to see that there’s a tear on the old garment. The garment is called ‘old’ it’s not called just ‘a garment’. Now, these are clues. Jesus leaves clues in things. The old garment represents the Old Testament law, the old law or the old covenant - the agreement that God had with His people before Jesus Christ came to earth, preached the Gospel and died on the cross. When Jesus had died on the cross and had been resurrected into a new life in heaven, then the New Testament, the Covenant of Grace, took place. And the world changed. The apostle Paul wrote about these changes.

The old garment seems to have a tear in it. In other words, normal people don’t go around with dresses or garments or clothes with big gaping holes in them. I know that it’s a trendy thing to wear jeans with holes in them. That’s a fashion statement these days. But normal people don’t wear a dress or a garment with a hole in it. This is a representation in Jesus’ parable here of what the old law was. The old rules were perfect. It’s just that no one can live up to them. No one can fully obey the Ten Commandments and other commandments in the Old Testament law. It’s impossible to fulfill the law. And every time you break one of the conditions of the law, in the book of James, it says that you break all of the commandments.

Going around in life trying to fulfill the law of God will tear you to pieces. It will make you a broken person. You’ll live with guilt, condemnation and shame all the days of your life. You’ll go from happy to sad, happy to sad, every time you do something wrong.

The whole world suffers and groans with the effects that sin has on people. And we’re not to be totally blamed for our sin. Our sin came from Adam. The first sin ever done in the world was done by him, the Scripture said. And that sin disease was passed on through genetics, on through the genes of your parents to you. The sin of Adam passes on through every generation as a disease. And the effects of this disease are borne out in earthquakes, famines, calamities, starvation, sicknesses and bad behaviors. All the suffering of the world comes from the fact that Adam sinned.

Now, God didn’t want it to be that way all the time. So He gave His Son. His Son died on the cross for all of my sins. All of the sins I’ve ever done, Jesus died for. And He just didn’t die so that I would become a Christian and be forgiven from all the sins I’ve done up until that point. Jesus died so that I know for certain that all sins had been forgiven - the sins I did yesterday, the sins I did the day before; all of the sins, even the sins that I’m going to do tomorrow and the times I’m going to fall short next week. All of them have been forgiven and forgotten by God already.

I know that’s a hard concept to believe! Some churches teach that a person has all their sins forgiven at salvation. They’ve got to do good works and keep themselves holy in order to be forgiven from that time on. That’s a lie! Jesus says if you’re going to get the New Covenant, if you’re going to get a patch, if you’re going to put a piece of new material, an unshrunk cloth, if you try to mix the old and the new, it will make the tear worse.

What is he saying there? He’s saying this is a practical application for you. He’s saying if you believe that Jesus died on the cross for you, you’ve got to also come under the teaching of Andrew Womack on this subject and understand that you’re forgiven today. You’re forgiven from every sin. All your sins have been forgotten. You are loved. And you’ve got to understand the righteousness of Christ in God. And that God sees you as holy. When you understand that God sees you as holy, you’ve got to stop trying to obey the law and live up to a set of rules like going to church each week, tithing, reading your Bible, praying, etc.

Jesus doesn’t want you coming to Him in prayer only because there’s a sense of religion in you that you have to pray in order to be holy. Jesus doesn’t want you reading your Bible because your Pastor says so. If you try to mix the New Covenant grace with the Old Covenant law, you’d get a worse tear in your life. If you’re trying to be a Christian obeying Jesus in everything you do yet you still have a mindset of the law, you’ll have this big burden of shame and guilt on yourself and you’ll be walking around thinking that you’ll never measure up. That God doesn’t love you; that you’re not worthy to go to heaven.

Why am I saying all of this? It’s because I’ve felt this. Because I want you to be set free. I want you to understand that you cannot live with a set of religious rules in your Christian life. When you open your Bible, it’s because you want to meet with God; no other reason. God doesn’t want you opening your Bible for any other reason. He’d prefer that you don’t read your Bible for a year than be opening it up with some sense of religion that you’ve got to do it to be a good Christian. God would prefer that you don’t go to church for a year than to do so because you feel pressured into going because it “makes you be a good Christian”. He doesn’t want you following and practicing a set of rules.

I’m not saying here that Jesus wants you to disobey the law and rules of God. I’m saying here, though, if you live in freedom and liberty, with the understanding that you’re forgiven, and you’re already righteous and holy; if you understand that there’s nothing you need to do to be accepted; that God loves you fully for who you are and sees you as holy and beautiful right now, right in the midst of your sin; if you understand these, you’ll do things because you love God and for no other reason. You’ll do things to draw closer to God and not for any other reason. But if you try and mix a set of rules with the New Covenant gospel of grace, you’re going to end up with a big tear in your life.

And that is what this parable means. I recommend you to check out the teachings of Andrew Wommack, whose website is listed at the back of this book. He has absolutely revolutionized my life.



For many years, God has been using me to give people personal prophecies. For four years now, I have operated a web site offering free personal prophecy helped by a team of ten prophetic people. During this time I have made thousands of prophecies, and you could say that I cut my prophetic teeth on those virtual pages. I have recently given away that free personal prophecy web site, but I am still available to offer a prophecy to any person who is willing to make a donation to help disburse the expenses of my continuing ministry. Please feel free to go to my video page to see for yourself the quality of my prophetic words over important people in ministry and regular Christians, as well as read the feedback I have received. When you feel satisfied that you would like a video prophecy for yourself, trust the Lord to guide you as to how much you are willing to donate to my ministry, then press the Paypal button below to fill out your details. Please note there is a section where not only can you write your details but also ask any specific questions you might have for the Lord. I sincerely look forward to ministering to you personally