The new is really the unshrunken cloth which, when it became wet and dried, would draw and strain the old garment, making a greater rent. The meaning was that at that time the most intelligent Jews, such as Nicodemus, were hailing Christ as a reformer. They were mistaken. His religion was not a new patch 00 the old. The old could not be mended, but must give place to his new religion. A specimen of this futile attempt was seen in the struggle to force the old Jewish laws on the Gentiles, which was repudiated (see Acts 15:1-21).