“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new win will burst the skills, it will spill, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine should be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine, wants new, because he says, ‘The old is better.’” (Luke 5:37-38 CSB)
The lesson above has nothing to do with wine. Wine and wineskins is not the subject of the lesson but are simply tools Jesus used to teach something important.
A question came from the Pharisees and their scribes, having to do with fasting. John the Baptist and his disciples fasted, as did the Pharisees and their scribes. So, Jesus, how come Your disciples do not fast? Jesus responded metaphorically that wedding guests don’t fast as long as the groom is with them, but only when he is taken away.
Jesus then used two examples. You don’t sew a new cloth patch on an old garment. If you do, the new cloth will tear the old cloth, making the hole even bigger. And you don’t put new wine in old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will destroy the old skins, and you lose the skin and the wine. Instead, you put new wine in new wineskins. Even so, everybody likes the older wine better.
These examples have to do with Jesus, His purpose, His methodologies, and His leadership. They deal with change. They relate to old and new, tradition and innovation, the established and the new work. Jesus represented something new and fresh. He was not bent on the destruction of tradition per se, and He seems to have respected it, based on this example. But Jesus also knew that the crucifixion and resurrection and the Church was coming, and that these would constitute something entirely new. They were the plan of God. But God’s intent was not so much to take away as it was to add to. Change was necessary, but the effective way to bring that change about was not by destroying the old but by giving birth to the new.
What is the most effective means of bringing about change? It is not through a destruction of the old but by adding the new.
Lord, Help us to see the truth of what You taught, so that we may become effective change agents. Amen.