The Parable of New Wineskins

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Jesus said,
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.'” – Matt 9:16-17

Each one of us has a way of thinking that is comfortable to us…it is comfortable to us because we have spent time forming our views in a way that makes the most sense. Our conceptualization of reality (schemas or paradigms) form a wineskin and the wine that fits best in that wineskin, that stretches it the least, is the wine that has fermented in it since the day it was new.

We need to treasure that wine and wineskin. Appreciate it. Honor it.

But it isn’t everything.

Eventually new wine comes along. Will we so cling to the old wineskin (as honored and cherished as it was) that we are unable to receive or accept the new? That is where a lot of people get stuck. So much has been invested in the old wineskin that they have a difficult time hanging it up for a new one and new wine…to begin the familiar process and experience of fermentation all over again.

Maybe your church upbringing had a deep respect and regard for the scriptures but a less than robust view of the Holy Spirit…maybe what fermented in your learning the word brought you to a deeper understanding of the Spirit in your studies.

Jesus brings new wine…and to pour it in our typical ways of conceptualizing reality just won’t work…our conceptions and methods will burst under the pressure of the fermentation that must take place of these new ideas…these new challenging teachings…we must hang up the old and embrace the new. If you feel your soul bursting at the seems…maybe it is because Jesus is challenging your wineskin!

That doesn’t mean all is lost from the past or that the previous wineskin had no purpose. It doesn’t mean it isn’t to be remembered well and honored! It just means the old methods brought us and prepared us for the new while still being insufficient in and of themselves to get us all the way home.

When we read the gospels we are receiving new wine. Are we ready to receive it? Are we willing to give it time to ferment? Will we recognize the cracks that form from that process within our old methods? If we are then we can receive and enjoy the new wine and all that Jesus has to offer.

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