on Luke 5 :39
The old is better - ΧρηϚοτερος - Is more agreeable to the taste or palate. Herodotus, the scholiast on Aristophanes, and Homer, use the word in this sense. See Raphelius. The old wine, among the rabbins, was the wine of three leaves; that is, wine three years old; because, from the time that the vine had produced that wine, it had put forth its leaves three times. See Lightfoot.
1. The miraculous draught of fishes, the cleansing of the leper, the healing of the paralytic person, the calling of Levi, and the parable of the old and new bottles, and the old and new wine - all related in this chapter, make it not only very entertaining, but highly instructive. There are few chapters in the New Testament from which a preacher of the Gospel can derive more lessons of instruction; and the reader would naturally expect a more particular explanation of its several parts, had not this been anticipated in the notes and observations on Matthew 9, to which chapter it will be well to refer.
2. The conduct as well as the preaching of our Lord is highly edifying. His manner of teaching made every thing he spoke interesting and impressive. He had many prejudices to remove, and he used admirable address in order to meet and take them out of the way. There is as much to be observed in the manner of speaking the truth, as in the truth itself, in order to make it effectual to the salvation of them who hear it. A harsh, unfeeling method of preaching the promises of the Gospel, and a smiling manner of producing the terrors of the Lord, are equally reprehensible. Some preachers are always severe and magisterial: others are always mild and insinuating: neither of these can do God's work; and it would take two such to make one Preacher.
on Luke 5 :39
Having drunk old wine ... - Wine increases its strength and flavor, and its mildness and mellowness, by age, and the old is therefore preferable. They who had tasted such mild and mellow wine would not readily drink the comparatively sour and astringent juice of the grape as it came from the press. The meaning of this proverb in this place seems to be this: You Pharisees wish to draw my disciples to the "austere" and "rigid" duties of the ceremonial law - to fasting and painful rites; but they have come under a milder system. They have tasted the gentle and tender blessings of the gospel; they have no "relish" for your stern and harsh requirements. To insist now on their observing them would be like telling a man who had tasted of good, ripe, and mild wine to partake of that which is sour and unpalatable. At the proper time all the sterner duties of religion will be properly regarded; but "at present," to teach them to fast when they see "no occasion" for it - when they are full of joy at the presence of their Master - would be like putting a piece of new cloth on an old garment, or new wine into old bottles, or drinking unpleasant wine after one had tasted that which was more pleasant. It would be ill-timed, inappropriate, and incongruous.
on Luke 5 :39
5:39 And no man having drunk old wine - And beside, men are not wont to be immediately freed from old prejudices.