“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’” — Luke 5:37-39

Let’s look at some words from a parable of Jesus — those marvelous, wonderful teachings that make up almost a third of our Lord’s instruction. Jesus talks about the reason for not pouring new wine into old wineskins. That’s kind of foreign to us in our culture, so what did he mean?

In 1965, Keith Miller wrote a book called, The Taste Of New Wine. It was a call for Christian renewal in the home, the office, and the church. It pleaded against the compartmentalization of the Christian faith, where the average believer was one person in church — and a totally different person at home and at work. The New Wine of Christ should produce a new person in Christ.

The setting for this parable is a party. Luke calls it, “a great banquet.” Jesus was the guest of honor and the one giving the party was a tax collector by the name of Levi. We know him better as Matthew. Matthew had been invited by Jesus to become his discipleand he responded by leaving everything (including his occupation) and following Jesus. In his new excitement he invited his tax collector friends, some Pharisees and other teachers of the law, to join the celebration. He wanted to reach them all. There was lots of food and wine.

Now wine is made from grapes which were an important crop in the life of Israel and had been for centuries. In fact, God’s word is filled with references to grapes, wine and winepresses. When grapes were harvested, they were taken to a winepress where they were crushed. The juice run-off was placed in jars and then into wineskins for easier portability and storage. New wine was never put into old wineskins because the old leather goatskins they used had become hard and brittle with no elasticity. When fermentation began with the new juice, the skins would split open and the wine would spill out.

What is Jesus saying in this parable? The central truth is that Jesus is the new wine. When you came to know him, you were an old wineskin full of the wine of the world. Had you held on to your old ways, while tasting the new wine, it would have leaked out and had no effect. To many believers today, that’s what has happened to their faith. They hold on to the old ways, while sampling the new. But Christianity is not a wine tasting event!

In closing this parable, Jesus says that some will like the old wine so much, that they will have no interest in new wine any longer. How sad. What started out as a great banquet with Jesus and delicious new wine, could end with our drinking the old sour stuff again from a crusty old wineskin. Don’t let that be you. The Apostle Paul said it like this, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” — 2 Corinthians 5:17

So my friends, let Jesus fill you with His new wine and take the dryness and crust away in your life. It will brighten your day and taste so good and so will you. — Maranatha!

God is good all the time. All the time God is good!

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