Daily Thoughts : January 2nd
Mt 9:17 Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.
Yesterday we considered how sometimes we lose the good things of yesterday and have to learn to live in the new circumstances of today. Sometimes though, the new is definitely better than the old, although it may take us a while to appreciate that. The Jews had a stable religion. It was settled. Nothing had changed really for over four hundred years, religiously at least. Yes, the Romans had come but Israel were still allowed to continue their religious practices. And then Jesus came and spoiled it all!
In this and the surrounding verses, Jesus characterises what he is bringing as ‘new wine'. The old religion that had been unchanged for over four hundred years was ‘old wine'. Surely, you might say, old wine is better than new wine? Not necessarily. It depends on the vintage, the crop of that particular year. But what is it about new wine that Jesus is characterising here? It is that it is still effervescing and therefore might explode in old, stiff and rigid wineskins that were used to hold the wine.
Jesus came bringing new life and new life is never satisfied with the old ways. What was good for last year isn't good for today. This is the era of the Holy Spirit and He is constantly seeking to lead us, not to conform to the age, but to cope with and respond well to the age, which means constant change. Jesus infers that it is good!
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