Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Rich Man, New Wine, and Old Wineskins

In our small group Bible study last week we were discussing Mark 2.  We came to verse 17 where Jesus makes a few short observations regarding new wine and wineskins. 

“No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”  (Mark 2:22, NASB)

Over the years many people have discussed the meaning of this simple parable.  In fact, there are more than 100 books listed on written about this teaching on wineskins.  Much of the discussion is centered on the meaning of new wine and old wineskins.  And, many people try to explain the implications of new wine and old wineskins in modern times.

While I was reflecting on this verse during the week it occurred to me that there is a great real-life example of this parable in an encounter Jesus had with a man who “owned much property.”  During their conversation Jesus presented the man with a significant challenge.

Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  (Mark 10:21, NASB)

Unfortunately, the man rejected the challenge and “went away grieving.”  Do you see how this event demonstrates the danger of trying to put new wine into old wineskins?  How do the teachings of Jesus represent new wine?  How do the possessions of the man, and his refusal to give them up, portray  people who try to put new wine into old wineskins?

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