After Jesus called Matthew the tax collector to follow Him, Matthew threw a big party for Jesus with all of his friends. John the Baptists disciples had come to ask why Jesus’ disciples celebrate instead of fasting like they were.
Ask the children…
What was Jesus trying to communicate by using this parable of patching old clothing with a new cloth?
“‘Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.'” (Matthew 9:16)
Jesus was bringing the fullness of the kingdom to His followers. The old way of worship was to follow the letter of the Law. The new way was going to be to follow the Spirit from inside and no longer to be bound by the Law. A person could not do both of these at the same time.
The old cloth represents the old legal way of kingdom life. The new cloth represents the new Spirit led way of kingdom life. Everyone knew that you could not sew a new patch onto old cloth or it would tear the old cloth when it shrunk. So you have to leave the old kingdom way behind and fully enter into the new kingdom life of Christ. The old has passed away and the new has come.
Ask your children to bring something that is made of cotton. Ask them how they shop when they buy a cotton garment? Explain that you have to buy it ‘too big’ because it will shrink when washed. This is what would happen to a patch when sewn onto and old garment. Ask them if they are living the old kingdom way? Following the Law and not letting the Spirit renew their hearts and just going through the motions of the christian life. For example in prayer, Bible reading or caring for others. Ask God together to renew their hearts and actions by the Spirit.
Feel free to share your own stories below in the comments section.
If you like what you read about ways to teach children the Bible, check out the children’s book, Hooked on the Book, on this website. It is great for parents and kids because it provides the Big Story of God’s miraculous plan for His children in all 66 books in the Bible. CHECK OUT A FREE SAMPLE OF CHAPTER ONE BELOW.