Luke 5: 36-39
36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”
As I was reading these verses, they kept tugging at me. I wanted to know what a wineskin was (sounds pretty weird to me) and just really decipher what Jesus was saying here. So with a little research, prayer and focusing on the Word, I finally grasped the meaning of what Jesus was saying. I felt that I needed to share this for anyone out there that’s going through a struggle or rough time in their walk with God, and especially to those of you who don’t know Him as your Savior yet. If you don’t, I urge you not to click the back button or stop reading. I urge you to read and see how God truly loves all of His children.
In verse 36, the new garment can be thought of as the robe of righteousness, or blood of Christ. When we accept Christ as our Savior, the new garment covers our sins and takes place of the old garment, the filthy rags caused by our sin. Jesus says that no one can tear a patch from the new garment and sew it on to the old because the patch wouldn’t match the old garment and the new garment would be torn in order to do so. What this means is that once we surrender to Him and accept Him into our heart, we can’t turn back to our old ways and still be covered by His righteousness. We can’t hold on to our old sins; the things that we used to put in place of God. Notice when the scripture says ” he will have torn the new garment and the patch from the new will not match.” Basically, BOTH garments will be ruined. Living in sin while simultaneously living for God is something that does not, never has and never will, exist. That’s one of many reasons why God is so awesome. It’s His way or the highway. He WANTS us to live for Him and He WANTS to help us, protect us, heal us, provide for us and love us! God, the one and only God wants YOU to love Him because He ALREADY loves you. Think about that for a minute. That’s something that is so easily said (well…. typed too) but so easily passed over. Isaiah 61:10 gives a perfect example of how God has supplied the new garment for us:
“I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Verse 37-39 talks about the wineskins and how if new wine is poured into an old wineskin, that it would burst. When I first read this verse, I thought to myself, “Self, what is a wineskin. That sounds pretty gross.” So, I did a little research. Turns out, it is pretty gross… to us anyway. I’m sure people back in the time that Jesus walked the Earth thought that it was pretty awesome.
Wineskins are the skins of goats. The goats were skinned and the skins were sewed up to be like a vessel or a bottle. Grape juice would be poured into the skins and allowed to sit and ferment for long periods of time to make wine. When fermentation happens, gasses (Carbon Dioxide in this case) are released as a by-product. The gases would stretch the wineskin to it’s very limit. Once the wine reached the desired point of fermentation, the wine would be poured out, but the wineskin would remain stretched. Since it was stretched to it’s limit, it could not be used again because it would burst open when the gases would be released during fermentation during the second time around.
“Where are you going with this,” I can hear y’all thinking. Well, the old wineskin is your old self (old garment) once you’ve been saved. You were stretched and filled full of your old sin, so there clearly couldn’t be any hope, redemption or use for you. WRONG. That’s where God steps in. Into you, I should say. He transforms you and changes you. He makes you into the new wineskin. Pure, clean and in prime condition. The new wine is the Grace of God. Our old selves, our old wineskins, cannot hold the grace that God wants to give us. It’s already been used and tainted with sin. But how great is God to make us new and ready for the Grace to be poured into us! His grace fills us like wine into new wineskins. It stretches us to the limit, filling us up to maximum capacity with no room left for anything else. Our God wants ALL of us, not just a part. The KJV version of verse 38 says:
“38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.”
Did you grasp that. In the verses mentioned earlier we learned that both garments would be ruined if we tried to go back to our old selves. But here Jesus tells us that if we allow Him to come into our hearts and allow Him to make us into a new creation, that He would pour His grace in us and that BOTH would be preserved! How awesome is that!?
Verse 39 says that, ”And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.”
This can be taken as a warning. It’s all too easy to fall back on our old ways that we were used to, familiar and comfortable with. You can’t say that the old wine is better than the new if you’ve never tried the new wine. Remember, the new and the old cannot be mixed or both will be ruined.
What I want the reader to get from this is that God WANTS to give you His grace and love. He wants to save you from whatever it is that you may be going through. Saved or not, Jesus is there for you to change you into something new and great and fill you up with His love, righteousness and blessings. How great is our God that He would WANT us, even while we were sinners, to love Him and to provide for us?