Jesus brings newness to every aspect of life
And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”
In this section of Luke, Jesus has been teaching and healing in an extraordinary way. He’s called people to follow him. It’s obvious that his teaching, healing and way of relating with those around him was something totally new. It shocked and intrigued the people he came across.
But what about today? What if God had made his entrance as Jesus in the 21st century? I think we’d likewise be shocked and intrigued. While we live in a world with advanced medical care, it’s not as though we live in a world where paralytics can be instantly healed and life-threatening fevers can be spontaneously healed without antibiotics. Our world follows the predictable laws of nature as God created them – unless of course God breaks in and does something a bit wacky. That’s what a “miracle” is – God breaking his own rules… the ones he created in the first place.
Jesus’ actions were an announcement of who he is. He’s not just another guy. Not just another inspirational TED speaker. Not an intelligent or intuitive doctor who could heal any disease and raise the dead. He was announcing that as the creator of the world, he’s actually qualified to break his own laws of nature. He’s introducing something totally new and different into our world. He’s making a broken world totally new. He’s recreating.
So why the story about wine and wineskins?
While Jesus was acting in a completely new and unique way, he was also announcing to us that this “newness” wasn’t just about him. Jesus came to not just do new things in our world, but also to make each and everyone of us totally new in every way. He was drawing us all into his new way of life – he is recreating us. And not just in little ways, but in all encompassing ways. Jesus is into total and complete newness. He doesn’t put new wine into old wine skins. He puts new wine – a new way of life – in new wineskins. He makes us completely and thoroughly new.
This is good news – he makes us new! It’s not up to us to make ourselves new, and we don’t need to feel helpless in our guilt when we mess up and return to our oldness. Jesus takes on our old ways on the cross, and his own resurrection to new life is a guarantee that we’ll be made completely new one day.
The tricky aspect of the good news is in verse 39: we love our old ways. It’s hard to give up our old loves – it’s hard to change old habits. But we have the gift of the Spirit, living in us. He has made us new at the cross, and he’s also making us new every day as we live life following Jesus. We need to cling to these truths as we live for Jesus, looking forward to complete newness in resurrection one day.
Head: How has God made you new? Be specific.
Heart: What “old ways” (actions or attitudes) does your heart love?
Hands: Pick one “old way” action or attitude that doesn’t fit with Jesus’ newness, and think of a practical way to get rid of it from your life. For example, talk about it with a friend from Growth Group: confess the sin and ask them to help you take steps to get rid of it.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for the new life I have in Jesus. Thank you that by your Spirit you are continuing to make me new every day. Please forgive me when I don’t live like I have been made new. Please help me to turn to Jesus and his forgiving love as I repent, and not to guilt and shame. Thank you for your people around me, and please be at work through them to help me grow in newness in Jesus. I pray in his name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Made Alive