2012 will be here in just a couple of weeks. It is a time of new beginnings. Each year we make resolutions to cast off the old to bring in the new. I began to think of “new wine” in the New Testament.
Jesus said “Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the new wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17)
In ancient times wine “bottles” were made from goat skins. With age the skin would become more tender. If new wine was poured into the old wine skin the fermentation process would cause the bottle to break.
Speaking in parables was the Lord Jesus’s way of speaking heavenly lessons in earthly practical ways for those who had ears to hear. In Matthew 9:16 Jesus said, “No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.” (Matthew 9:16) In other words, an old garment has been washed many times and has already gone through the shrinking process. If a new piece of cloth were used as a patch it would not have gone through this shrinkage. The garment would be ruined when washed as the new piece would shrink and pull from the rest of the garment and end up making the tear larger.
So what is all of this about? We must keep in mind that Jesus was speaking to people who were entrenched in a deeply religious and political system. They were in bondage to the traditions of this older system of micro-managing the details of the law. Their belief systems had to be jarred to embrace something new that Jesus was going to bring in. The old wine skins reflect the world of religion and tradition and unregenerate hearts. If there is no conversion and separating from the old then one can not embrace the new.
The next question is “How can new wine be poured into a new bottle?”
When the Lord was speaking these parables of wine bottles and torn garments He already knew that he would shortly be offered up at Calvary as a living sacrifice. We hear a lot about “purpose driven” but no one has ever had such purpose as our Lord. His purpose was to be the first and only one to ever be resurrected from the dead. Forty days after His crucifixion on the Day of Pentecost 120 were filled with the Holy Ghost. As they poured into the streets of Jerusalem overcome with joy and speaking in languages understood by foreigners present, some of the people mocked them saying “These men are full of new wine.” (Acts 2:13)
Aged wine was used in ancient times to revive the spirit. Jesus first miracle was to change water to wine at the wedding at Cana when the guests had drunk up all the “old wine”. It was an embarrassing situation which is what prompted Mary to ask Jesus to help (obviously she knew he was a miracle worker). Jesus did not readily agree because He knew it was not yet time for the heavenly new wine to be poured out because He had not been offered up. But as a man he obeyed his mother and as God performed a miracle. He was patterning an earthly example of what was yet to come. The new wine of the Holy Ghost would be better than anything that anyone had ever tasted. Everyone at the wedding party agreed that this “new wine” was far better and they marveled because they knew “No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.” (Luke 5:39) Jesus had just reversed the natural law to bring in the new supernatural realm.
Today many are choosing the old wine of religious formalism and traditions that directly oppose the Word of God. Not all traditions are bad but only when they make the Word of none effect. (Mark 7:13) True repentance means to turn from the path of sin and self-justification and surrender our will to God. When a person is truly converted they will be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins and filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. I believe that is when we are made completely over like a new wine skin. The “Old Man” has been washed away and one comes up out of the water like a new born baby. What a wonderful time to be filled with the Holy Ghost and experience the resurrecting power of the Lord. Some receive the Holy Ghost before being baptized, but without baptism in Jesus name they will not have the “new wine skin” that Jesus was referring to.
“Then saith he to his servants, the wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.”
“So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.”
“And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment. And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.” (Matthew 22:9-11)