God’s glory came to earth…His transcendent and infinite greatness, the sum of His perfection took the shape of a tiny baby born in Bethlehem. God’s peace came to earth…the gift of reconciliation with our Creator came to us in the form of the Gospel Message, the Good News of salvation. God’s favor came to earth…His Good Will was lavished on us while we were yet far from Him, His Good Pleasure not to see any lost. Isaiah best sums it up, “For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
Old wine-skins were hard, rigid, stiff, and unyielding. Does that sound like you or someone you know? On the other hand, new wine-skins are flexible and malleable…able to receive the newly pressed wine. They change as the fermentation process happens…they expand as the wine ferments…finally stopping when the wine is perfect inside. As Believers we must never stop growing until the God-given purpose inside us is perfected. At the wedding feast in Cana what did the Master of the Banquet tell the Bridegroom after tasting the water Jesus had turned into wine? “You have saved the best for last!” I originally wrote this back in 2008…but it still remains pertinent today. Just as you don’t pour new wine into old wine-skins, you don’t sew a new patch on an old garment, (Mark 2:21)…or both will be destroyed. The journey of a Christian is a pathway of newness…new covenant, new hearts, new minds, new selves…of the process of constantly putting off the old and putting on the new. For when we stop growing in the Lord, we become stagnant and unusable. The Lord is looking for new vessels to contain His new works. The question is, are you willing to be that new wine-skin?
In this verse it tells us how we should approach evangelism and share the Good News of Jesus with others. It’s about being encouraging not convicting…listening not preaching…and having conversations not sermonizing. It’s also about not having an “us versus them” mindset, but rather thinking “we” as a group. Finally, it’s about living with integrity but also being vulnerable and transparent about our own struggles. For none of us is a perfect Christian without faults and flaws. And when we can show this side of us…we become more believable.