New and Old – Luke 5 v 36 – 39

proteas and fynbos

Luke 5 v 38. “No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.

To further illustrate his point, that his presence, with his disciples is a time for rejoicing and not for mourning, Jesus gives the parable of new and old garments and new and old wineskins.

Jesus did not come to call the people back to the old Judaism they knew. Rather he came to introduce something radically new.

The old rituals and disciplines to which they had been accustomed are now a worn garment. You cannot patch up the old Judaism with a few elements taken from Jesus’ teaching. Rather the old garment must be discarded and the new garment must take its place.

This was not an easy pill to swallow. Even the disciples, after Jesus rose from the dead, found it hard to grasp that nothing of the old life could be added to Jesus’ death and resurrection as a means of acceptance with God.

Even the old Jewish forms of expression of a life directed to God have been out dated. The old feasts, rituals and systems, could not contain the new wine of Christian joy and fervour. So new wineskins were needed. The old system would simply not work for Jesus’ disciples.

The new wine Jesus referred to is, of course, the salvation He came to provide. It was new, fresh, without cost and available to all. But for many people they preferred the taste of the old traditional wine; the dignity and regularity of the old system.

Now note that there was nothing wrong with the old Judaism. It was given by God for the specific purpose of preparing the world for the coming of Christ. It was a good and God-given garment in its day. They served a good purpose for the old wine. But now the new wine has come and we must all drink of it.

It is just possible that some people who are steeped in a nominal Christian tradition somehow don’t have the taste for the new wine. And others cannot put away the old wineskins that represent acceptance by God for being good and upright.

The new wine is the message that says there is nothing we can do to merit our salvation. But God has given us a Saviour who is full of merit. And if we turn to Him we receive forgiveness and salvation free of charge, as a gift of the great grace. And then we taste the new wine and joy it gives.

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