Parable of the Wineskins
16 “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. 17 Neither do people 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.” (Matthew 9:16-17, NIV) (Also recorded in Mark 2:21-22, and Luke 5:36-38)
Have you ever bought a new piece of clothing that fit perfectly in the store, only to wear it once, wash it and discover that it no longer fits perfectly? It shrunk! Through washing, fabric will shrink, which is why a new, unwashed piece of fabric cannot be used to patch a hole on a well-loved garment that has been washed and worn many times. The new fabric will shrink, pulling in the old fabric and causing distortion, new tears, or worsening the hole already in the garment.
The example with the wineskins is similar. When wine is poured into wineskins, the wine begins to ferment, forming gases that cause the wineskins to expand. Old wineskins have already been stretched and could tear or burst when the gasses begin expanding. So new wine must always be poured into new wineskins. The new and old cannot be combined.
As discussed earlier this month, Jesus is the cornerstone of Christianity. His life, death, and resurrection fundamentally changed our relationship with the Lord. No longer did we need intercessors and sacrifices – Jesus was and is the ultimate sacrifice. Because of His sacrifice, we are able to confess directly to the Lord and seek His forgiveness.
The Pharisees and other religious leaders of the day were, mostly, unable to accept the new way of worship. They were set in their ways and unwilling to see and accept the truth that Jesus was presenting to them. Following Jesus, and accepting the new way of life that He was offering, required a radical, clean break from the old way of life. Mixing the old with the new would only lead to confusion and problems. In fact, we see that many of the problems faced in the early church was because of trying to combine established Jewish traditions with the new offer of salvation from Jesus Christ. Jesus came to establish something new!
This parable also serves as a lesson to remind us that our old life cannot be combined with the new life we are to live once we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Our life before Christ is not be mended, but must be replaced with a new life, a life lived for our Savior. We cannot split our devotion between our Savior and sinful desires; we cannot have two masters. Our focus, our vision, should remain entirely fixed on the Lord!
Is your life lived for Christ? Do you try to meld the old and new? What have been the results? Time to try something new! Let go of the old! Fully embrace the Lord!
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