In Matthew 9:17 we read: "Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
Same idea in v:16 : "No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on and old garment; for the patch pulls away form the garment, and the tear is made worse."
Of course the Lord speaks through His Word through His Holy Spirit. There could be many 'messages' in these passages for many different people at many different occasions in their lives. Only God knows who needs what.
But, I for one asked the Lord to explain these 2 verses to me one time and this is what I got from it.
The old wine and the old wineskins represented the law of Moses and all the Jewish laws that they were living under. Jesus brings (is) the fulfillment of the law. A person who believes in Jesus as his/her Savior doesn't have to follow or be under the law to earn his/her salvation. Religion and Grace do not mix!
The old wine (Religion) goes with "old wineskins" (religious people who are worried about keeping the laws, fasting etc)
The new wine (Grace) goes with "new wineskins" (born again people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith).
We can't try to save ourselves by our 'works' and at the same time profess that we are saved by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
I guess we could say that the old is "Religion" (trying to please God) and the new is a "Relationship" (with God).
I can't count number of times I have thought about this passage and had the same perplexity. Since you ask, I gave it fresh consideration and think our Lord has finally made it clear....lol
Then John's disciples came and asked him, "How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. "No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
The Pharisees and John's disciples are are the old wineskins. They are still using the rituals that were required under the Law. The disciples of Christ are new wineskins. The old wine is the spirit of the Law. The new wine is the Spirit of God that shows Jesus is the Way. The material of old wineskins is less able to stretch. New wine expands as it ripens, so an old wineskin bursts from new wine. Jesus is telling that the Pharisees should be rejoicing; it is a new day and the the bridegroom (Himself) is here. Instead they are living in the past and holding to rituals that are meaningless. Their fasts can do no good, because they can't even see that the meaning of it is to be purified to know God's Spirit. They only want everyone to see what they are doing outwardly. They cannot receive the new way, the Spirit that shows faith in Jesus is the new covenant, because they are too hardened in the old.