Completely New! (Hunch 20)
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”
Note carefully the context and who Jesus is talking to here. There are three groups. There are the disciples of John the Baptist, there are the religious wise guys and there are Jesus' own disciples. Jesus talks about His coming in terms of the celebration of an engagement between an engaged couple.
Jesus also suggested His Father was ordering Him a complete new wedding shirt. His old shirt was what He was wearing then, at the engagement party. But He was going to be fitted out in a completely new outfit! Is that Jesus' reference to the Resurrection, His resurrection and also our own?
But there was more. It is as if Jesus had looked at them and said: "There's wine at this party. Which wine?" Strange question. Which wine? They were wanting to know why His disciples were not fasting. Wine takes time to mature and Jesus was telling them not only that they were drinking the old brewed wine and enjoying it (Luke 5:39). He was brewing a new wine. His work, the results of His teaching and ministry, are the new wine. The disciple's celebration of God's gifts was the drinking of the wine of God's promises that had been sitting in bottles for years, getting better and better. The wine they were drinking then was simply the wine that was new some years ago. So it was ready to drink. It had matured. But Jesus was pointing out that there was still much more to come. His new wine, the new wine He was brewing by announcing God's Kingdom, was not wine that would be drunk at an engagement party. It's the wine for the wedding breakfast; the finest matured wine. The new wine matures in its new bottles between the engagement party and the wedding breakfast.
In this way Jesus helped his disciples, John's disciples and the others, to understand God's Kingdom and how it was, and is, coming in fullness and that will take time. They needed to know that by returning to His Father, He was helping the new wine to mature. God's Kingdom has come. The new wine is being brewed. But for the time we wait before we toast the Groom and the Bride the new wine sits and matures. We wait patiently, like those at a wedding banquet refrain from putting the glass to their lips until the MC calls the gathering to attention so the Father can propose the toast.
And Jesus' new wine is our new wine. The wine of our marriage as the bride of Christ. It is His task to ensure that the new Wine matures, and as we leave it to Him to oversee the fermentation, we find that we mature, as we make ready for the "Big Day". How do we do that?
Jesus answer was straight forward: "If you love me you will keep my commandments!" Jesus disciples as described by Him are being so closely related to God's purposes - that is what the new clothing outfit and the new wine is all about. Our enjoyment of God's kingdom is forever.