Put new wine into new bottles
And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.” – Mark 2:22
The month of December ends the year with the season of Advent heralding meaningful carols, songs, and hymns, and replicas of the Christ child in the manger attended by his mother Mary and father Joseph and witnessed by quiet animals.
Indeed, everything is about the birth of Christ, and in many instances, we go into a new year never going beyond the beautiful child.
We are living in times when anything can happen. These are times when the Christ child has grown in stature and in favor with God and man. These are the times when we heed to the reason for his birth on earth, and not only revel in festivity, but dwell in divinity.
Our text is giving us directives for the moral, social, and spiritual success of our lives – when we have a nation to build, an environment to maintain, rules to obey, heights to climb, crooked paths to be straightened, light to chase away darkness, and souls to be restored.
Jesus is returning to Capernaum from preaching in other towns in Galilee, the place from which he chose most of his disciples. Many of the incidents recorded in the second chapter of Mark introduce the element of conflict in response to Jesus’ ministry. People with afflictions and disturbed minds more readily accepted Jesus’ healing power because they were in serious need of help. They rejoiced when they received a clean bill of health.
But there were some who were soul sick and were not prepared to accept this new Jesus teaching. They were steeped in Judaism and would hear of nothing else, thus attacking Jesus for what he was doing and believed. Because the room where Jesus was, was filled to capacity – four friends of a paralytic man brought him through the roof before Jesus, and he was healed much to the anger of some of the scribes who wanted to know who gave him permission to forgive sins and make people whole.
Jesus left there and saw Levi the son of Alpheus sitting at the receipt of custom and said unto him, “Follow me.” And he arose and followed him.
“Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, ‘How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?
“When Jesus heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.’
“The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, ‘Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?’
“And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” (Mark 2:15-22)
The words of Jesus are more relevant today than when they were spoken then because of the hardness of men’s hearts, the injustices, the lawlessness, the rebellious and contrary spirits and the lack of love for God, country and the brotherhood.
God’s word speaks to us today and is telling us that it cannot work for any organization, country, home or whatever in the area of education, health, social services, law enforcement, immigration or whatever, if new laws, plans and recommendations are put in place and there is a continuation of the same old thing.
Now is the time more so than ever, for us to advance forward, onward, upward and together as a people. We can ill afford to disband ourselves into selfish groups for selfish gains at the expense of losing the grip on our nation. The enemy seeks to destroy us and take away from us what God has given to us.
Thanks be to God that the baby in the manger is the savior of the world and by his example, his teachings, his redemption for mankind, we can joyfully and truthfully sing “Joy to the world, the Lord is come! … Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns!”
And that he, not man, rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love.
Father God, we are resolved in this new year to put new wine into new bottles and no more let sin and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground for you have sent your only begotten son to make his blessings flow far.
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