May 4 - New Wine

Friday, May 3, 2013

Matthew 9:17

“Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Just like sewing a new piece of cloth on to well-worn cloth, pouring fresh wine into old wineskins is another metaphor for Jesus’ proclamation of his fresh look at the Law. New wine in early stages of fermentation required bags that were more pliable, as opposed to older containers which would destroy both the wine and the container.

It is difficult to see myself as a person growing older. So much of who I am comes from the life I built as a young person.  My memories of childhood and as a young adult are much stronger than those from the last ten to fifteen years, because those are the years I learned how to learn and I came to understand what my life looked like in relationship to the world.

I knew that there was nothing I couldn't do, if I chose to work hard enough, learn and apply myself. I believed that everything was possible; all I needed to do was desire it enough and I could make it happen.  I had a lifetime which stretched out in front of me and there were no limits.

In the last five years, I have returned to the classroom and rediscovered the joy of learning.  One of the things I had always wanted to achieve was getting a Master’s Degree. So, when life finally handed me that possibility, I grabbed it.  There were days I felt like I was pouring new wine into an old skin and that I might burst if I didn't slow down, but I forced the old wineskin to be flexible again.

However, there are many of those things I considered doing as a young person, that I now realize I will never do.  I don’t know that they are as important now as they were when I had all the time in the world ahead of me.  Now, I focus on things that are much more important to me and allow other things to pass by with only a little attention.

Do you notice that in this metaphor, the old wineskin was as important as the new wine to Jesus?  Both were important.  It was simply a matter of not pouring new wine into old skins.

I know what was important when I was young and I know what is important now that I’m not quite as young.  They’re very different.