Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9:17
In the past, this passage has always been a struggle for me to understand. It has only been recently, that I now have a better appreciation of what Jesus was talking about. The trouble I was having with it was that I didn’t understand the old and new wineskin verbiage because we don’t put wine into skins now, we use bottles. However, Jesus explains His explanation by saying the new wine will break the old wineskin because they are hard and brittle. New wine is put into new skin that will expand as the wine ages.
Now comes the big question, at least in my mine. What does this have to do with Jesus disciples fasting or not? In today’s passage, Jesus’ emphasis seems to be on the “new” part. He uses two different examples of new cloth and new wine. He is talking about something new going on.
In Jesus day, He was teaching them radically new ideas and the biggest was to love one another. The Hebrew culture had lived by the commands an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. There was no talk about love until Jesus came into the world. When He talked about the new tearing or breaking the old, He was telling them that something new is coming. Jesus brought us the new covenant and in that He fulfilled the requirement of the old one.
This was very difficult for the religious leaders to accept in Jesus’ day. It reminds me of how things are today. With our culture shifting into the digital age, it can be hard for people who are not so inclined to accept the new “wineskin” of technology. First with the invention of electricity, motor vehicles, travel and telecommunications. Now with the internet, computers and cellular data. These “wineskins” have made it possible to carry the gospel to the nations and increased the effectiveness of missions. There is no reason to think less of or look down on ministries that use various “skins” to get the message out. Our job is to pray for these missions and use the resources we have available to do our part.
Today I want to encourage you to talk to your Heavenly Father about the “wineskin” He would have you use to carry His good news of salvation to the world around you. What mission does He have in mind for you and what is He leading you to in the future? Carry the message of God’s love and salvation in whatever “wineskins” you have available to you.
Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 9:14-17
14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?”
15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse.
17 Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”