Wineskins and Wine

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Matthew 9:16-17

Sometimes, when we begin to pray for new wine, the Lord begins a process that will allow Him to answer that prayer. But He doesn’t start with the new wine.

First, the Lord will begin to remove old wineskins. Then, He will begin to create new wineskins in your life. This takes time. New wineskins take time to craft. Then, when they are ready, He will pour out the new wine.

Most of us struggle to stay in the process long enough to experience the new wine. But the Lord takes us through this process because He wants to preserve both the wine and the wineskin. Without this process, He could do damage to both.

We sometimes think that the answer to the prayer is the new wine. That is what we are asking for after all. But the answer to the prayer for new wine has been the whole process–the removal of the old wineskin, the creation of the new skins, and the pouring out of new wine. If we can see that all of it constitutes God’s answer to our prayer for new wine, we’ll be able to hang in there. We’ll be able to “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

New Wineskins

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Matthew 9:16-17

Jesus was doing a new thing, bringing a new covenant, and it needed a new paradigm in order to hold it. Jesus teaches His disciples that if a new thing (new cloth, new wine) is forced into an old paradigm (old garment, old wineskin) not only will it not work, but it will actually cause damage.

We don’t relate to Jesus through the old covenant paradigm. Jesus is not just a new Moses, teaching new understandings about the Law. Jesus was ushering in a completely new paradigm. In the new covenant, we are filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:17-18) and are made new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1).

This same principle is true for when God does a new thing in your life. About 5 years ago God began to disrupt my life with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in my life. Then about 3 and a half years ago I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit that many would call a “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Having not been raised in a Christian tradition that talked about or experienced such things, I was experiencing new wine.

Yet, God had been preparing new wineskins–new paradigms of understanding–before He gave me the new wine. I didn’t understand what was happening when I went through it, but the Lord spent a year and a half renewing my mind with a new wineskin before He ever poured out new wine.

I see now that had He given me the new wine first, there could have been real damage done. I was already experiencing a lot of disruption in my life because of all the changes that were happening with the new wineskin. Had the wine come too early, it would have done some serious damage and the wine would have just run out. When the new wine finally came, there was new wineskin to hold it and not burst.

So often, before we can encounter the Lord in a new and fresh way, He will have to take us through a process of renewing our mind (Romans 12:2) which causes us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”(Proverbs 3:5). He creates new wineskins in our heart and mind before He pours out the new wine. This process is not only necessary for individuals but also for whole churches who want to experience God in a new and fresh way.

Do you want new wine?

Even now, do you sense the Lord creating new wineskins in you?

The Last Supper

When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”

They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”

“It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Mark 14:17-25

The Last Supper infused every element of the Passover meal with new meaning.

The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.

This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.

Exodus 12:5-8, 11

Bread made without yeast, bitter herbs, roasted lamb and wine all now have new meaning. The original bread without yeast was to remind the people of how they left Egypt in haste without the yeast of Egypt mixed into it. Jesus’s body became the unleavened bread, without the yeast of the Pharisees mixed in (John 6:53). He also became the manna from heaven and the bread of Presence from the Temple.

The original bitter herbs were to remind the people of the bitter labor of slavery. Thought the Last Supper passages don’t mention the bitter herbs, they would have been a part of every Passover meal. Jesus tastes the bitterness of betrayal from both Judas and Peter (John 13:27-38). He bears the weight of the bitterness of slavery to sin so that we could be set free.

The original roasted lamb was to be without blemish. Jesus, without sin or blemish, became the Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), the Lamb who was slain (Revelation 5:6).

The blood of the original lamb was to be painted onto the doorframes of their houses so that the Hebrew people would be protected from the final deathblow to Egypt. Now it is the blood of Jesus, painted on the vertical and horizontal beams of the cross, that purifies us from sin and brings us salvation (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Thank you, Jesus, for becoming the ultimate fulfillment of the Passover!