Traditions, Patches, Wineskins, and New Wine. Traditions, Patches, Wineskins, and New Wine – Jesus used unique illustrations to communicate how he was not going to include their religious traditions with his gospel. Jesus is unique. His gospel is unique. His kingdom is unique. Everything about Jesus is unique. Christianity is unique to any other religion. It stands alone. It will not be sad and legalistic. It will not connect itself to or mix with any other religion – not with Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Islam, Buddhism, or even Judaism.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 5
by Pastor Delbert Young
Traditions, Patches, Wineskins, and New Wine (Luke 5:31-39)
Traditions, Patches, Wineskins, and New Wine – Luke 5:31-39
Scriptures: Luke 5:31-32; Luke 5:33; Luke 18:11-12; Luke 5:34-35; Luke 5:36; Luke 5:37-38; Luke 5:39
Luke 5:33-39 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.” Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.” He told them this parable: “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 wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.'”
Traditions, Patches, Wineskins, and New Wine – Jesus used unique illustrations to communicate he was not going to include their religious traditions with his gospel. Jesus is unique. His gospel is unique. His kingdom is unique. Everything about Jesus is unique. Christianity is unique to any other religion. It stands alone. It will not be sad and legalistic. It will not connect itself to or mix with any other religion – not with Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Islam, Buddhism, or even Judaism.
Our study today happened immediately after Jesus attended a great banquet given in his honor by a tax collector name Matthew Levi who was the most despised and hated man in Capernaum Jesus was not only openly associating with sinners, he was partying with them. After only one year into Christ’s earthly ministry, there was tremendous hostility between Jesus and the religious leaders of Judaism. The PhD’s and Pharisees first complained to the disciples of Jesus asking, “Why do you eat with those kinds of people?” I told you that is what Pharisaical people do. They come to you, not me. You are the ones they injure by talking about me. Jesus knew what they were up to and sarcastically said to them,
Luke 5:31-32 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Jesus said, “I can’t help you. You’re so healthy. Just look at your life. Look at your family. Look at your children. You’re so righteous. Look at all you do for God. Look at your ministry.” It’s intriguing to me how people listen to and take advice from people who project themselves as righteous and spiritually healthy, but in fact are the most unrighteous and spiritually unhealthy of all doomed for hell. The go to people who have the worst marriages, most misbehaved children and worst financial problems. Selah!
Jesus came for sinners. As we said, a church is not a club for the righteous. It is a hospital for sinners. When we pass a church, we should think, “There’s a bunch of sinners.” Unless we realize we are all sin sick sinners in a hospital, Jesus can’t help us. If we realize we are sinners, people can come with all kinds of sin-sicknesses and be helped, not condemned.
The problem was not the Old Testament. It was the traditions Judaism and religion added. Judaism and religion is about staying away from sinners. Christianity is about connecting with sinners. Judaism and religion is concerned with justifying self and being self righteous. Christianity is concerned with being right with God. Judaism and religion is concerned with what people think and say. Christianity is concerned with what God thinks and says. Judaism and religion is concerned with what you do. Christianity is concerned with who you are. Judaism and religion is concerned with the outside. Christianity is concerned with the inside – the heart in our soul.
Luke 5:33 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”
Their not fasting was an outrage. It was a serious breach of Judaism for a rabbi, even one in relationship with John the Baptizer. A rabbi and his followers were required to fast twice weekly.
Luke 18:11-12 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men — robbers, evildoers, adulterers — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week…
Somehow the PhD’s (scribes – doctors of the law) decided that Moses went up Mt. Sinai on a Thursday and came down on a Monday when he received the commandments and law from God. From that myth they invented a tradition. Every rabbi, PhD, Pharisee, and their disciples must fast on Monday and Thursday. It doesn’t say anyplace in the scriptures to fast on Monday and Thursday. The only time God declared a fast was The Day of Atonement (Lev 23:27).
Religion is like that. It makes things up, invents things creating myths. There’s nothing wrong with fasting. Jesus fasted once (that we know about). He taught about fasting in Mat 6:16-18. The problem is a fast should come from the heart, not from a religious mandate and tradition. Fasting is to God, not so people know you fast. The Pharisees and PhD’s became hypocrites rubbing ashes on their faces to look pale, wearing torn clothing, not combing their hair, etc. Jesus condemned worthless religious fasting, but not fasting.
Fasting twice a week, praying three times a day, the Sabbath regulations, and many such things (Mar 7:13) were invented by the Pharisees and PhD’s making serving God a burden, not an act of love. Jesus despised what they had done by adding their traditions. Have things changed? No, not really. Denominations are full of traditions, but we can all become caught up in traditions and traditions are difficult to break. For example, the Bible doesn’t tell us to have Sunday School, nursery, children ministries, student ministries, men’s ministries, women’s ministries, etc. It doesn’t even tell us to meet on Sunday. It tells us to assemble, but doesn’t tell us what day. It doesn’t tell us to have musical instruments, but we like them. It tells us to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to one another. It does tell us to preach the word. It does tell us to come with the gift(s) the Holy Spirit has given us. My point is many things we do are traditions of men, but nothing is wrong with traditions as long as we don’t see them equal with the word and burdening people loving God. Even communion is as often as you will (1Co 11:25). What traditions do you hold to? What do you think should happen at church? Is it biblical or traditional?
Obviously Levi pitched his big gala shindig for Jesus on a Monday or Thursday. Instead of fasting, Jesus was feasting. Instead of being all sad, long faced, and sackcloth and ashes, Jesus and his disciples were laughing. The Pharisees and PhD’s problem was, “How do you expect us to receive you as Messiah when you don’t even observe our religion?” Jesus gives four examples to answer.
Luke 5:34-35 Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”
Jesus isn’t against fasting, but there is a right time to fast. It’s not at a bachelor party. For his disciples, it would be after his death and burial. If there was ever a time to fast, it was then.
They knew exactly what he meant about the bridegroom. They had waited and waited for Messiah, the bridegroom, to come. He was there. It was a rejoicing happy time, but they didn’t get it. The sinners got it. They threw a great banquet bachelor party “for Jesus.” Judaism and religion don’t get it. What kind of bachelor party would it be to fast? It is party time, not fast time.
Jesus tells us being with him is a party that we, like Matthew Levi, should throw. I think we should throw it every week and call it church. How about you? Christianity should be a happy experience, but we all see so many sad Christians. Religion has slipped in. How do you feel about church? Are you attending a wedding or a funeral? Is church a party and fun or a drag and a funeral? You would prefer a party every week, right? Then, what are you doing to help us make it one? What would it take to make Life Gate Church the “funniest” place around to be at on Sunday?
Luke 5:36 He told them this parable: “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.
Jesus wasn’t giving a sewing lesson. Jesus would not tolerate cutting up his gospel and attaching it to Judaism, or any religion, as a patch. I use a cast net to catch bait when I fish. Frequently, I will snag something on the bottom, i.e. submerged rock or tree limb. I usually get my net free, but not without tares in its webbing. It would be idiotic to purchase a new net and cut out a big chunk of the new net to fix the old. Jesus said we are not going to take a hunk from the New Covenant and add it to fix what you’ve done to the Old Covenant. They had torn it. They had ripped it. Now, there was no MATCH.
Don’t we attempt to do the same today? “Well, can’t we add drums and guitars and a keyboard to the pipe organ?” No. Not here. It doesn’t match what we do. “Can’t we add what Jesus said about the kingdom of God to traditional dispensation?” No. It doesn’t MATCH.
Let’s look a little deeper. I watch people attempt to take their ripped up, “old,” lives and attempt to patch it with a new piece of Jesus. Some of you do that. “I’ll go to church and maybe God will ‘patch’ me up.” Jesus said that won’t work. He’s not going to let you take a piece to patch your life. A piece won’t match your life. You’ll need to take all of him if you truly want him to help you. He will help you, but he won’t patch you.
Luke 5:37-38 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine MUST BE poured into new wineskins.
New wine is wine fermenting. A wineskin is an animal skin, usually goat, removed by cutting around the neck and hoofs enough to peal the skin off, partially tanned but pliable. All openings were sewed to seal except the neck. Grape juice was poured in to ferment then the neck sewn to seal. It was their wine barrel. As the wine fermented, the skin must flex to accommodate the fermenting gasses. If the juice was placed into an old wineskin, it could not stretch creating a wine bomb. Both the wine and the skin were lost.
Jesus wasn’t teaching about making wine. Judaism can not contain Christianity. Trying creates wine bombs. Today “Messianic Jews” attempt to keep the feasts, laws, and traditions while believing Jesus is the Messiah. They ruin the Law of Moses and lose the New Covenant. That’s like being an Islamic Christian. “Let’s put Mohammad and Jesus together and come out with something good.” You’ll come out with a wine bomb! Attempting to combine Christianity with the Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Science, etc all create wine bombs. They create doctrines of demons blowing people up losing the gospel and sending people to hell. That’s a wine bomb!
How about you? Do you attempt to put Jesus into an old dried raisin-like skin? What has changed and stretched in you concerning your Christian faith in the last few years? Have you stretched as the kingdom ferments in you? Have you stretched in worship, praise, giving, prayer, reading the Bible, ministering, anything? What is your ministry anyway? We all have a tendency to get wrinkled and ridged. If we do, we become wine bombs. Make yourself remain pliable.
Luke 5:39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.'”
Luke is the only gospel writer who includes this statement by Jesus into the story. At first glance it doesn’t make sense and seems backward. Why would Jesus say, “The old is better”? It’s because they are familiar with the taste of the old, smell of the old, feel of the old, look of the old. People do not like the “unknown.” The old seems safe. The new is a risk, but change requires risks. They drank Judaism for so long they had no interest in the new, even if it was God himself. It’s the way they always did it. Jesus basically said, “You guys will never change. You’re addicted to your old wine. You are convinced your old wine is better.” However, their loving the old caused them to miss the new. That’s the warning. You miss the new if addicted to the old.
Religion is that way. People cultivate their taste for religious traditions. Very few people who experienced religion a long time will change. I’ve watched them visit Life Gate and walk out when the music started. I’ve attempted to teach many people new wine truth and they exploded. Their religious ideology has become so woven into the fabric of their being they refuse to see anything else. Thus they refuse to receive anything else and miss expanding in God.
I want to simply mention this and then move on. Perhaps one day God will help me develop it. My children left this area with their families because there is nothing here for their children or for them. Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. My point is even an area can become an old wrinkled wine skin deficient to the new and growth because of religious grips and dogma. Instead of ministering to people, it pushes people away. “The old is better.”
What about Life Gate? I’ve pondered and prayed about this thought. At one time, we were the new wineskin in the entire area. Today, I don’t know. Have we wrinkled and dried? Does God want to do something new at Life Gate? I believe church over all is changing, especially churches our size. What worked yesterday doesn’t work today. What excited a person about church and Jesus yesterday doesn’t excite them today. In fact, it seems to push them away from God.
I believe one thing God is about to do is take church to people and not expect people to come to church. To that, most of us say (including me), “The old is better. I want people to come here.”
I know something is changing about church. The kingdom of God is advancing. We must remain open for change and take risks. What God did yesterday was good and new, but eventually every day ends. The once new day becomes yesterday and a new day begins. What does God have planned for tomorrow? Will we miss it, or drink it up? Are we flexible wineskins or a dried up unusable raisin skins? I don’t know about you, but I want to stretch with new wine in me.
What about you? How fun is church for you? Is it a party, or a funeral? Do you just keep trying to sew on a piece of Jesus here and there to patch your life? What has changed and stretched in you concerning your Christian faith lately? Have you stretched in worship, praise, giving, prayer, reading Bible, anything? What is your ministry? Is the old better, or do you really want some new wine?
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