I was reading through Luke chapter 5 about new wine and have been mulling through the concept of “new wine”. I believe the Lord is showing me that this is going to be the season of the “new wine”. For those of you who are wondering, here is the reference from the Gospel.
“And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved”. Luke 5: 37-38
In chapter 5 a lot of “new things” happen that utterly confuse the pharisees and the scribes of Jesus’ time. A carpenter teaches a thing or two about fishing to a seasoned fisherman. It is like saying that a doctor teaches a civil engineer how to build a building in our days. Unheard of! But it was true. Peter had fished all night and had not a fish to show for his efforts. Along came Jesus and got into Peter’s boat in broad daylight and told him to cast his net and lo and behold the catch was so great that Peter called for backup and all the ships were so filled that they began to sink. That was it for Peter! He left everything to follow Jesus!
There were other new things that happened in this chapter -one is that Jesus ate with sinners! Jesus sat with the riff-raff of the Jewish society and made the pharisees seal-the-deal that Jesus indeed was an impostor for no “righteous man” would eat with sinners and still be considered holy. As far as they were concerned, sin was a contagious disease and not even the Son of God was immune to it and could cleanse a person clean.
In answer to this, Jesus responded about the wine and wine-skins. Really Jesus? The Pharisees are already calling you a glutton and drunkard (Matthew 11:19) and you give them a “wine” related example? 😊 But that was so Jesus - He wanted not just the Pharisees to understand but His new "sinner" friends to understand so they will be drawn to the love of God! He was referring to Himself as the new wine. He was not old wine or old wine-skin.
Old wine was wine that had completed its fermenting process, was identified for its “smooth” texture and taste. New wine is effervescent, constantly changing and is fresh. Those days people did not have glass or plastic bottles to carry their drinking water or wine in. So, they cleansed goat skins and sewed them together into a carrying case and filled it with wine or water. Now a new goat skin had the capacity to stretch and could accommodate new wine as it expanded and went through the fermenting process. If someone tried to put new wine in an old skin, the old skin case had already expanded to its full capacity and the new wine effervescence could not be contained and so it tore open the skin. The result was the wine spilled outside and was wasted and so did the skin case – it could no longer be used.
What did Jesus mean? The pharisees and the scribes were seasoned in the art of religion. They
knew the law backwards and forwards. They were usually so manipulative that they took what was in the word of God and twisted it to serve their agendas (example Mark 7: 9 – 13). Jesus was referring to them as the old-wine: the law. Jesus was the new-wine: He was joyful, He was not status-quo. He had such a deep understanding for the “spirit” of the Law that totally baffled the pharisees and the scribes. He had a way about Him that rocked their boats and they hated Him for that.
So, what’s the new wine got to do with us? In Acts 2, when the first church was being established and God poured His Spirit, the disciples were mocked because they “acted” like ones who had drunk “NEW WINE”. I wondered for some time why the mockery of some folks was so important that it was recorded in the Bible and I realized there is only answer to it – because the Holy Spirit intended it to be recorded. Now, I have seen quite a number of drunk people in my days – but I have never come across one drunk person who could speak in a language they have never learned fluently and sensibly under the influence. And this was what was accused of the early church!
So, we have Jesus referring to Himself as the New Wine and the disciples were accused of being full of the New Wine when the baptism of the Holy Spirit happened. And, Apostle Paul admonished the early church in Ephesus to not be drunk with wine but be filled with Spirit. The words that Paul used shows that people had to drink excessively in Paul’s time to be drunk – so, he tells the church be filled continuously with the Holy Spirit so they can speak in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs and make melody in their hearts. Being filled with the Holy Spirit was synonymous with being joyful and exuberant… like the New Wine Jesus referred. His very nature!
Today, pause and think – are we like new wine? Are we exuberant? One look and people would know that we are different: we have the joy. We are no longer old skins and old wine that was good when it lasted; this season is about the Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus Christ and God the Father living in us and actually making a change in and through us. Go forth and be a world-changer!
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” Ephesians 5: 18-19