But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved (Lk. 5:38 KJV)
When the Pharisees asked Jesus why His disciples were not fasting like John the Baptist’s disciples, Jesus answered, “new wine has to be put into new bottles”. What did Jesus mean by this analogy?
To better comprehend this dialogue, it is important to understand what the Pharisees were asking and what Jesus told them in response.
The Pharisees expected Jesus’ disciples to comply with the religious system of their day: a combination of the practices required by the Law and their man-made religious traditions. They wanted Jesus, His ministry, and His followers to fit into the system of the day.
In contrast, Jesus said the new thing He has brought could not be made to fit into the old system. The new life in Christ, the grace He brought, and the Spirit He gives cannot be received by the old system; it will not fit the system in place. It needs a new system or way of doing things. This is the summary of the message Jesus communicated through the parable of the new wine or new piece of cloth.
In Bible days, bottles were often made of animal skin. When they are new, they are stretchable and could contain the expansion created by new wine. The new wine is the grace, or the life of the Spirit Jesus brought us. The bottles symbolize us: our mindsets, our attitudes, behaviors, and systems.
New wine needs new bottles. The applications of this truth today are many. For instance, grace requires a grace mindset or attitude. We cannot fully enjoy grace with a Law mindset. Similarly, new levels of your life or ministry will require new mindsets, attitudes, behaviors, etc.
Why does the new wine of the Spirit require a new mind or system (“bottle”)? Can I live the life of God in Christ with my old ways of doing things?
Apply the Word
Are you trying to put God’s new wine into the old bottles of your life? Attempting to combine Law from the Old Testament with grace in the New? Put new wine in new bottles.
Ask the Spirit to help you prepare your vessel to be the new bottle containing heaven’s new wine.
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