Difficult Scripture: Luke 5:36-39
New Wine in Old Wineskins
II. How This Verse Is Misused By Some: These verses are difficult in the sense that their meaning can be obscure and unclear, rather than that they are used to support some false concept. The usual question is, What does this parable of the garments and the wineskins mean, and what does it have to do with fasting?
III. True Explanation
A. Jesus was answering a question. "Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?" (verse 33). Jesus used this double parable to help answer the question.
B. "No man puts a piece of a new garment upon an old one, otherwise, then both the new makes a tear, and the piece that was taken out of the new does not match with the old" (verse 36). It doesn't make sense to put a new piece of cloth on an old garment to repair it. After washing, the new cloth will shrink and tear the
C. "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the old wineskins, and the wine would be spilled, and the wineskins would be ruined" (verse 37). It would be ridiculous to put new wine into an old wineskin. An old wineskin has already stretched and the fermentation (gas) of new wine would burst it.
D. The new cloth and the new wine symbolize the new way of life Christ was bringing. We must change our total approach to God -- our methods and purposes in fasting, prayer and obedience -- when we are converted. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).
E. Jesus gave these two examples as a lesson in incongruities. It would make as little sense for His disciples to fast while He was there as it would to put new cloth on an old garment or new wine in an old wineskin.
We can't fit God's truth into our old way of life. For instance, if we try to mix the truth of the Sabbath with our old way of life and concepts learned so we may be like one of the churches of this world, it will indeed seem "hard" and "burdensome" to obey God and will cause a "tear."
The main reason for fasting is to get closer to God. Jesus' disciples didn't fast. They didn't need to fast to get closer to Him because He was already with them (Luke 5:34-35).
F. "And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, 'The old is better.'" (verse 39). Christ had already explained why His disciples didn't fast at that time. This last analogy was to show why the Pharisees and John's disciples did fast. These men were not ready to accept the example of Christ and His disciples as being right. They didn't want to drink the "new wine" -- the new way of life that Christ was bringing -- because they felt the "old wine" of their customs, doctrines and practices was better.
The scribes and Pharisees followed the traditions of their elders and commandments of men (Mark 7) which were the traditional teachings of Judaism and the Oral Law. Remember Judaism is the Jews response to the Old Testament.
G. The new wine also represented the new church that Jesus was building.
Jesus told the apostles and disciples that He would build His church on Himself-not on Peter, as traditionally thought and claimed by many. The key to this understanding is in the Greek words that Jesus used. Jesus said to Peter, "You are Peter" (petros). The meaning of this word was given definition by Jesus Himself. In John 1:43, the interpretation of the name "Peter" (cephas) is "a stone." This is what Jesus was emphasizing here. Peter was a stone. Next, Jesus said of Himself, "But upon this Rock I will build My church. " The Greek word translated "Rock" is ‘petra’ which means "massive cliff." Christ Himself is that Rock, the Massive Cliff. Peter was a pebble or a stone in comparison. The Greek clearly conveys the meaning. Jesus built His church upon Himself. He did not build it upon a man. Other scriptures verify this truth. Jesus Christ is called the "Rock, " petra (1 Cor. 10:4 - Eph. 2:20). Even Peter later wrote about Jesus as the Cornerstone, the foundational undergirding of the church that He said He would build (1 Pet. 2:4-6). Jesus Christ is called the Head of the church; no man can be the Head (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18). Peter himself, shortly after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, said that the Stone which the builders had set at naught had become the Head of the corner (Acts 4:11). This scripture shows that Peter knew he was not the cornerstone or the head of the Church of God. 1 Corinthians 3:11 clearly states that all who are Christians must be built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, Who alone is the Head of His Church. Through the direct words of Jesus Christ Himself, and through the words of His chosen apostles, we know that He has built His Church on Himself, not on Peter or any other man.