April 1 “Wineskins”

Wineskins

Jesus is called the Messenger of a New Covenant that would emerge from the Old.
Still at the dinner with “tax collectors and sinners,” probably at the home of Matthew, newly chosen as a disciple, Jesus taught about the New Covenant using the analogies of new and old wine and wineskins. We are told that wine, fermented juice of the grape, was a safer thing to drink than water in the first century. To keep the wine at peek potency, animal skins were used as containers. New wine was still in the fermenting process and would burst old wineskins that could no longer expand. New wine required new wineskins that were still soft and stretchable.

Power but not Flexibility
The Covenants before the Jesus Covenant, those of Noah, Abraham, Moses, and King David, could not rightly be called flexible. Worship happened in specified times and places with prescribed sacrifices given in great detail. Like old wine, it was powerful stuff but there was little room or need for innovation. Old wineskins were required.

Jesus changed all that when He said “a time was coming and now is” when true worshipers would worship God not in time and place but in Spirit and Truth. The Old Covenant structures of the Tabernacles and Temples would be replaced by a spiritual house—the Church—the Calvary-cleansed People of God, the Habitation of God by His Spirit. Churches have sprung up in the strangest places all over the world because of this flexible New Covenant which adapts itself to the cultures and languages of the believers. This New Covenant wine—the moving of the Holy Spirit—is such powerful stuff that new songs and methods and signs and wonders are needed to transport it from place to place.

The Disciples of John
Those who had repented in response to the call of John to prepare for the Kingdom of God asked Jesus a sincere question about fasting. These were not critics or cynics; they were sincere seekers of the Kingdom. They had patterned their lives after the serious message of John: a life of repentance and the disciplining of fleshly desires for the sake of the Kingdom. They were confused by the joy they saw in the followers of Jesus. It was like a new and potent wine leading to laughter and celebration. Why this difference in lifestyle?

The Bridegroom
Jesus was with them every day! His joy was complete and infectious. Blind people were seeing again and deaf people were hearing as people who once could not speak were singing. Those once lame were dancing as those formerly possessed by demons sat smiling in the presence of Jesus. This was a time for celebration, for feasting not fasting. Those times would come and the disciples of Jesus would do their duty, but not yet.

The New Covenant supplied garments of praise made from the new cloth of redeemed lives. The Spirit flowed from vats in the hearts of those whose sins were forgiven and the old ways could not contain the new.

The dinner at Matthew’s house was a foretaste of the Kingdom to Come, the one Jesus told them to pray for every day. For a moment it was on earth as it was in heaven.

Scriptures:
Matthew 9:14—17

Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Malachi 3:1
“Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the Lord of hosts.
John 4:23-24
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You are the Messenger of the New Covenant! You made this covenant in Your own blood, making it possible for us to worship in spirit and truth. You cleanse our hearts from sin, making them fitting hosts for the residence of the Holy Spirit. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is peace and freedom and joy! This is the new wine of the New Covenant! Help me to never substitute earthly wine but to drink deeply of the New Wine kept in these wonderful, creative new wineskins! You are the Joy of My Desire! I Love You, Lord Jesus!

Song:
Joy of My Desire
Words and Music: Jennifer Randolph

Joy of my desire, all consuming fire.
Lord of Glory Rose of Sharon Rare and sweet
You are now my peace, Comforter and friend,
wonderful, so beautiful, You are to me.

I worship You in spirit and in truth.
Lord, I worship You in spirit and in truth.
There will never be a friend as dear to me as You

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.

June 17 “Wineskins”

Wineskins

Wine and wineskins, new and old: there are life lessons to be learned in these common things.
The critics, scribes, and Pharisees, were determined to find some fault in Jesus and His men that would discredit them in the eyes of the people. It was a difficult job. Discrediting the One who gave a blind person back his/her sight was not easy. Former demon-possessed people, now in their right minds, had little time for theories about their deliverer being in league with the devil. Jesus had done so much profound good for so many people, that only His critics would entertain such nonsense.

What about John and his disciples?
Someone got the bright idea of comparing Jesus and His disciples with John the Baptist and his followers. There was a marked difference. John’s ministry was one of preparation for Messiah. This involved harsh warnings, profound condemnation of evil leaders, strict spiritual disciplines, and soul-stirring repentance. Jesus and His men seemed immersed in joy. They laughed often and rejoiced at all the miracles and deliverances at Jesus’ hand. They even enjoyed parties and celebrations, eating their fill and tasting the fine new wine of life. Critics pointed this out.

“Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?”

Jesus tried to explain the difference to them, but explaining such fine points to those whose minds were closed to any explanation was pointless.

The Difference
The difference between Jesus and His men and John and his followers was one of mission.

  • John’s followers fasted to see a nation fall to its knees in repentance. They disciplined themselves toward a specific end—a revival of true spirituality in preparation for the coming of Messiah.
  • Jesus brought the revival for which John and his disciples fasted and prayed. Jesus knew what no one else knew—the time of rejoicing would be short, lasting as long as He was with them.

Hard times would come and then His men would fast and pray. They would also have the help of the Holy Spirit in their hearts, something John’s disciples did not have.

New Wine and Old
Some of the most famous sayings of Jesus followed:

  • Sewing new cloth onto an old one will tear the garment, and
  • Putting new wine put into old wineskins will burst them.

What did He mean? A New Covenant was coming.

  • There will be new garments of praise—prayer and worship in the Spirit—making the old methods themselves fresh and new again.
  • There will be New Wine of a fresh move of God like nothing ever seen. Both the Old and the New Wine will freely flow from heaven to refresh the saints of God.

This New Covenant move of the Spirit of God will require new thinking and new methods while at the same time making the old wine even more precious.

“But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.'”

Wine and wineskins, new and old: there are life lessons to be learned in these common things.

Scriptures:
Luke: 5:33-39

Then they said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?” And He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.” Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.'”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, save me from the fear of the new. You are constantly doing new things. The work of Creation continues today. Your new creations require new garments. The fresh move of Your Spirit requires new wineskins. We do not discard the old but maintain it. You said that both the new and the old wine must be preserved. The New Wine and wineskins compliment and carry forward the work of the old. Give me a taste for it all, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Song:
New Wine

Words and Music: Brook Legertwood

In the crushing, In the pressing, You are making new wine
In the soil, I now surrender You are breaking new ground
So I yield to You and to Your careful hand
When I trust You I don’t need to understand.

Make me Your vessel. Make me an offering
Make me whatever You want me to be.
I came here with nothing But all You have given me.
Jesus bring new wine out of me

In the crushing, In the pressing, You are making new wine
In the soil, I now surrender You are breaking new ground
So I yield to You and to Your careful hand
When I trust You I don’t need to understand.

Where there is new wine, There is new power.
There is new freedom. The Kingdom is here.
I lay down my old flames To carry Your new fire today.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.