The old seems better!

Scripture reading for March 23rd: Luke 5:29-6:11

Jesus was eating at the house of Levi (Matthew) with a large group of tax collectors and people considered by the religious establishment to be ‘sinners’.  These Pharisees complained to Jesus’ disciples about their Master’s conduct.  Jesus heard them and answered, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous , but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31)  Jesus made it plain that He was eating at this banquet with a purpose in mind.  The Pharisees judged Him as doing something that would make Himself unclean.  They were always concerned with the externals and not with the true mission of God.

Jesus spoke a parable to help them understand and have a change of heart.  “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one.  If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.  And no one pours new wine into old wine skins.  If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wine skins will be ruined.  No, new wine must be poured into new wine skins.  And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, “the old is better.” (Luke 5:36-39)

This parable speaks of the need to change our way of thinking.  When we use Old Testament laws to define righteousness, it will not work!  We cannot keep the law anyway.  The new way of faith and grace is like having a new wine skin.  The new wine of the Holy Spirit needs a new wine skin to allow it to bring necessary changes without damaging the vessel.  Trying to put the Holy Spirit into the old legalism of the law will cause the skins to burst and be ruined!

The most interesting statement is the last verse–those drinking the old wine will not like the new.  They will feel that the old is better.  Change is difficult for human beings.  We resist change and find it hard to adapt to new revelations.  Following the Holy Spirit takes faith and requires constant attention to His leading.  It is easier to put God in a box of rules.  Are you resisting change from the Holy Spirit today?  Pray for a flexible new wine skin!

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