No one pours new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the skins burst and the wine is spilled out and the skins are destroyed. Matthew 9:17
Don’t mix the old with the new. That was the message Jesus wanted to convey when he shared two parables. The first was ~ Don’t sew a new patch on an old cloth. It will shrink and tear. The second was ~ Don’t pour new wine into an old wineskin. It will burst and render itself useless. Anytime Jesus repeated Himself, the message was important.
Wine, when poured into a wineskin, begins the aging process. As it ferments, the gases cause it to expand. A new wineskin will swell along with the wine and all will be well. However, when you pour new wine into an old wineskin, the wineskin has already stretched to capacity and will burst with the fermentation process. The skin won’t sustain any new pressure. So what is the allegorical meaning?
When Jesus came, people assumed that everything He taught (the new wine) was to be added on to their existing paradigm (the old wineskin) of their traditions. His message, however, was that He came to change everything. They were told not to blend the old with the new.
If I’m a religious person – and then become a child of God – am I supposed to add Jesus to my religious way of life? No way. I’m called to turn away from religiosity to engage in a relationship. One is behavioral; the other is relational and heart-driven.
I am a new creation in Christ. I’ve been saved from religion and all the trappings that accompany it. I am no longer driven by the desire to do good things because that’s just what religious people do. Piety is supposed to be far from me because I know what I am without Jesus.
When God writes a new paradigm in my heart, it is stressful. The old wineskin of past paradigms must be abandoned and I don’t let go easily. I must turn away from anything associated with old religious archetypes. Church-ianity is not the same as what it means to live in Christ. The world doesn’t know the difference and that’s my fault. I’ve blurred the lines and must show them that loving Jesus and cultivating a church culture are two different things. The first invites others to love Him too. The second invites others to conform to a religious community. Jesus had strong words for the latter and so should I.
If there is any way I have attached You to something that should be dead to me, an old wineskin, show me. In Jesus’ name, Amen