New Wine in Old Wineskins
New Wine in Old Wineskins: Matthew 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37-38
The parable of the new wine in old wineskins has the same meaning as the
Parable of the Unshrunken Cloth on an Old Cloak. Jesus mentions both together, as part of his answer to the
question: Why do your disciples not fast when disciples of other teachers do
Background Information for the Parable
Similar to the situation with the unshrunken cloth, wine will expand as it ferments. When fermenting wine is placed in new wineskins (made from animal skin), the wineskin expands with the wine.
old wineskins have already been stretched. Meaning, if someone fills an old
wineskin with new wine, then the old wineskin can no longer expand and
it will burst.
Meaning of New Wine in Old Wineskins
The first part of Jesus' answer is "You cannot make wedding guests
fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you?" (Luke 5:34)
Jesus is making a statement about himself, alluding to the fact that God is establishing a new covenant with the world, just like when a covenant is established at a wedding.
Jesus says he is the bridegroom, and the wedding guests certainly do not fast while the bridegroom is still present.
further elaborates on this point by telling the parable of the new wine
in old wineskins, teaching that something new is happening and it cannot be mixed with
the old. Jesus is essentially
saying, 'My disciples are not fasting because God is in the process of
establishing a new covenant.'
Neither Jesus' disciples, nor
those asking this question, fully understood at the time what Jesus was
implying. Only he understood the significance of himself
and the current times, which is why many were confused by his parables.
This is why Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15; Mark 8:29) No one was certain who Jesus Christ was at that time. Some people thought he was John the Baptist, Elijah, or Jeremiah. It was only Jesus' disciples who slowly began to realize that Jesus was God's messiah.
However, now that we know who Jesus is, it is clear Jesus
made a very serious statement about what God is doing in the world and
used this parable of the new wine in old wineskins to illustrate it.
God's Truth Taught in Stories
Study the parables of Jesus in this easy-to-read 40 day devotional.
This devotional takes the unique approach of
understanding Jesus' parables by examining the genre, scriptural
context, and historical culture. Your life will be transformed by studying the parables of Jesus Christ.
Paperback | Kindle
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Go to previous parable: Unshrunken Cloth on Old Cloak
Go to next parable: Sower and the Four Soils
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