He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’” ~ Luke 5:36-39
Jesus was very specific and intentional in His reference to the old vs. the new. As this passage has been on my heart and in my spirit the last few weeks, I am seeing it from several different facets. The last verse, especially, has arrested me.
“And no one after drinking the old wine desires new, for he says, ’The old is good.’” ~ v. 39
Let’s start with the common denominator, wine. Wine in the scriptures refers to God’s presence, His Spirit. From the beginning God’s desire was to dwell with man; have intimate fellowship and relationship. God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. We are created for this very purpose…to be in God’s presence eternally.
Even after the fall and separation of man, God continued to make His presence known and dwell with man. We see this in Cain and Abel’s sacrifice, Noah’s ark, Abraham’s covenant, Moses and the burning bush, the pillars of fire and the cloud, the tent of meeting, the Law, the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, the Temple, and all the way to the incarnation of Christ.
Even Christ spoke more on the Spirit than He did about salvation. There’s a reason he only spent 33 years on earth and only 3 1/2 on mission. He fulfilled in 3+ years what the law failed to do in 1000’s of years.
In John 14, Jesus declares we have seen the Father face to face, in Him, in Christ. The Father’s presence dwelled in the person Jesus. However, that was only temporary because the real reason Christ came was to send the Holy Spirit, the presence of the Father, to indwell and infill us, but that could not happen as long as Jesus was on the earth. Also, it would not happen as long as we continue to hold on to the old ways, traditions and laws.
The OLD Wine refers to the law, traditions of men, and separation of man from God, lack of satisfying and death. Even Isaiah, who was the OT herald of Christ imminent incarnation, declared something new was coming in Isaiah 42:9 and 43:18-19:
“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
The WINESKIN is our flesh, physical nature, our emotions, intellect, and heart. Ezekiel 11:19-20 states, “I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” Our wineskin must be properly prepared to receive God’s presence, His new wine. It must be soft and pliable
According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Therefore, the NEW WINE accomplishes everything the old wine & wineskin could not. It restores relationship, fellowship and communion with Father God. It dwells in us, infilling and empowering us from on high. It’s eternal, always present and comforting. It stirs us to be bold witnesses of Christ in love, grace and mercy by faith. It is living and reveals the fullness of Christ, His authority and power. It is the evidentiary proof of Christ in us, our hope of glory, manifested and on display for the entire world to encounter.
We can’t move forward in anything new as long as we cling to the old. As when Christ came on the scene, the new was upon the people, but they had not properly prepared to receive Him. Don’t be the one in your church, business or relationship who clings to the old, rejects the new and refuses to grow. John Maxwell says, “change is inevitable, growth is optional.” So out with the old, embrace the new and watch what God will do to grow you to new levels in every area of your life.
James Miller Jr
“Missionary to a Generation”