Matt.9:16,17 – And who would mend worn-out clothing with new fabric? When the new cloth shrinks it will rip, making the hole worse than before. And who would pour fresh, new wine into an old wineskin? Eventually the wine will ferment and make the wineskin burst, losing everything—the wine is spilled and the wineskin ruined. Instead, new wine is always poured into a new wineskin so that both are preserved.
I love the way Jesus taught with images and pictures from the real world. He taught about the farmer going out to sow seed explaining the power of His word. He taught about the life of a grape vine when He was describing the intimate relationship with Him that produces fruit. When He was describing His love for His followers He painted the picture of the shepherd who was willing to risk his life for the sake of his sheep. In today’s verse Jesus is describing the mysterious impact of the Holy Spirit on our lives and the impact of being touched by the Spirit. Jesus said that the Spirit was like new wine. Everyone knows the impact of wine, it causes intoxication and joy. The Lord also went on to say that new wine needed a new container. New wine had not gone through the process of fermentation. Putting new wine into an old bottle would cause the container to burst. In the same way Jesus was saying that the old religious system could not contain the outpouring of the Spirit. Change was important. Here is how the Passion Notes describe this need for change.
“The teaching of Jesus is the new wine and the new cloth. What Jesus taught cannot patch up the old religious system, nor can it be contained in a wineskin of worn-out traditions. It is new, exhilarating, and powerful. It must be poured into a heart made new. The new and the old are not meant to be together. Jesus makes all things new. He didn’t come to reform Judaism, but to form a twice-born company of people.”
Jesus was telling the religious people of His day about a coming move of God which would require change to facilitate that move. Could something new be happening again today that will require us to continue to change? I think that is true. Something fresh is happening in the Spirit, don’t get stuck in your old ways. New wine requires a new wine skin.