Faithlife Sermons

New Wine

Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 3 views
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

New Wine

The bridegroom is here: the preparations of John and the Law have served their purpose; it is time for something new
The bridegroom is here: the old has served its purpose; a new chapter begins.
Preparation’s done and the party’s started

Big application

Jesus has come - don’t let the world steal your joy
You can’t fit the new into the old; Christianity is transformation not tweak
The old might seem good enough - but taste and see the new is better

Outline

Do you have an old, favourite piece of clothing?
Winter is coming to Scotland and I think you can already feel the chill in the air. Time to get out our winter coats again - so I pulled out this, my favourite. The only problem is it’s getting a bit ratty and old. And it’s not really waterproof any more, more kind of water absorbent - so in serious rain I just get like a sponge, really heavy and damp! It’s got a bit of a serious pocket problem over here and even though I’ve been working away on sewing it back together, there’s still a big hole here which I think is going to need a patch.
Truth be told, I do have a new one, a replacement for it. But it’s just not the same. It’s all… new. I’m not sure I’ll really like it. In fact, I wonder if I couldn’t just get a patch for this old one after all. Maybe out of this?...
We humans, we’re just not so good at change, sometimes, are we? We get so comfortable with the way things are, so used to it. It can be really hard for us to move on - even when it’s way past time, when the old really is done.
But something new is happening. And today Jesus is going to challenge us to let go of the old. We’re continuing our journey through Luke’s biography of Jesus, his gospel, and today we come to a bit of a strange section at first glance. If you can find one of these blue bibles nearby, find page _____, that’s Luke chapter 5, and look for verse 33. Big number 5, that’s the chapter, then little 33. that’s the verse. We’ll put the words up on the screen too. Let’s see what Jesus has to say to us today. Leona’s going to come and read.
of the old? worn out leather chair? worn out bed + sore back? Me + my old laptop?
1:45 READING

Question time

2:45 Context
If you’ve been with us before you might remember where we’re up to in Jesus’ story? He’s just started his main active ministry and most recently we’ve seen him at a huge party thrown by Levi, a new follower. Partying with a bunch of questionable characters causes his religious critics plenty of angst but Jesus says it’s people who know they have a problem that he’s come to call, not those who think they’re sorted.
Today’s episode starts with this question about fasting - that is, not eating or drinking - and you might imagine it’s precipitated by that party we were reading about last week, so full of eating and drinking! In Mark’s telling of this same story, over in , we learn that both groups mentioned here were fasting at the time of the question - perhaps it’s a Jewish festival. If so, Levi’s opulent party must be like rubbing salt in the wound for people who are fasting.
Who does this question come from? tells us John’s disciples are at least some of those questioning - so it’s not necessarily as hostile a crowd as we had last week; these really might be genuine questions from people who are properly confused. Jesus does seem to specialise in confusing people!
Their question is how come Jesus’ disciples, his followers, can behave so differently from these two other religious groups, John’s disciples and the Pharisees. So differently from John’s disciples - that is people following John the Baptist, Jesus’ forerunner. Now John the baptist is known for his weird lifestyle out in the desert eating locusts and honey. You can read about him in earlier in Luke’s gospel if you want a refresher but he was sent by God to prepare the way for Jesus. And it seems his disciples must have been big into fasting. The Pharisees are this ultra-religious group trying to dot every i and cross every t of keeping the Jewish law. And though the Jewish law doesn’t have that much to say about fasting if you were to read it through, it seems by this stage fasting has become a pretty core part of being seriously Jewish.
Who does this comes from? indicates John’s disciples are at least some of those questioning - so not necessarily a hostile crowd.

Fasting 101

4:00 So, a question about fasting from people who fast. Before we can really think too much about this we’re going to have to get our head around fasting a bit aren’t we - it’s not exactly normal nowadays. We’ll have to do a little bit of background digging: What’s fasting all about in the first place? Why would anyone give up eating?! What did they understand it to mean, when they fasted?
The main thing fasting is meant to do is to humble us before God; it says “I’m little, you’re big”. It says “I’m powerless, you’re powerful”.
We see that reflected in where fasting shows up in the Old Testament, the pre-Jesus part of the Bible. In the beginning, the most common thing it’s used for is to say “sorry” to God. So, for example, the one day every good Jew was meant to fast was on the day of atonement, a day all about recognising they didn’t meet God’s standards. Or if you know your Bible, you might remember King David, Israel’s greatest king fasts when he is caught in a sin and facing its consequences.
But it takes on a more specific meaning as time goes on: it becomes associated with seeking God’s restoration of his people. After the Jewish people were defeated and forced into exile by Babylon, a new tradition began of fasting on four more days: the day when their Babylon-appointed governor was killed, the day the siege of Jerusalem began, the day when Jerusalem fell, and the day when the temple was burned. Fasting as a people in exile, calling to God for restoration - and after the limited restoration that came with Ezra and Nehemiah, it seems these fasts continued, looking ahead for a more complete restoration.
Also seeking God’s grace and attention or
When the Jewish people were forced into exile by Babylon As time goes on it becomes more and more associated with seeking God’s restoration of his people - so you’d see Jews fasting on four more days: the day the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians began, the day when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, the day when the temple was burned; the day when their governor was killed fasting on the day the which marked the beginning of their exile from their land. That kind of makes sense: not
You can see this hope for something more, for God to keep his promises of restoration, in a number of faithful Jewish people around Jesus: Simeon in is “waiting for the consolation of Israel”; Anna in speaks to “all looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem”; Joseph of Arimathea in is “waiting for the kingdom of God”
Now it seems it had often become an empty ritual by the time of Jesus - and even long before: a way to show other people you were seriously religious. The prophet Isaiah speaks about this hundreds of years before Jesus in , for example.
I think these two big senses of fasting, penitence and seeking restoration, are what’s behind John’s disciples fasting and the Pharisees fasting - even though for many it had just become an empty outward tradition, a mark of being serious about your religion. Some, I expect, would have been sincerely fasting with both senses in mind. And you can see how it wouldn’t compute for them that Jesus and his disciples didn’t join in.

The groom is here

6:00 But with that background we’re also much better positioned to understand Jesus’ response: “can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?”, he says. Bridegroom is just a fancy word for husband-to-be and what he’s picturing is a wedding day, the groom coming for his bride, surrounded by a happy crowd of close friends. He’s saying he’s that guy; he’s here; it’s time.
Isaiah 58:5 NIV
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
mark of external piety for some (though not, one presumes, for John’s disciples)
Of course, if you asked these two groups why they were fasting, they wouldn’t have said that. remember (though not, one presumes, for John’s disciples)
The Bible often uses the picture of a husband and a wife to speak to us about how God relates to His people. To show us how unbreakable his commitment to us is. To show us how exclusive our commitment to him should be ... To show us how He is faithful even when we are unfaithful - there’s a whole book in the bible dominated by this metaphor, this word picture: Hosea.
Bridegroom a common picture of God + his people as husband and wife; the long-anticipated moment has come where the husband comes for his bride.
Big thrust is that something new is happening; time of waiting + preparing is completed.
When Jesus uses this word, when he labels himself as the groom, he’s pulling in this whole picture of how God, as the ever-faithful husband, will come for his bride and restore her - despite everything. And that’s a time for rejoicing not mourning - just like a wedding day!
But more than that, get this: the specific things they are fasting for, penitence and restoration, they’ve both arrived. It’s no longer time to fast and seek them. They’re here. Jesus has come with forgiveness - if you’ve been with us the past few weeks you’ll have seen that with the cleansed leper, the forgiven paralytic, the repentant tax collector; Jesus has come with restoration - you’ll have seen that with his declaration at Nazareth, with his statement of purpose in Capernaum.
So it’s not a time for fasting - but this section of Luke is not really about fasting; it’s really about something much bigger: something new is happening; the time of waiting and preparing and seeking is completed.
Bridegroom a common picture of God + his people as husband and wife; the long-anticipated moment has come where the husband comes for his bride.
Bridegroom a common picture of God + his people as husband and wife; the long-anticipated moment has come where the husband comes for his bride.
This section of Luke is not primarily about fasting; it’s really about something bigger
Big thrust is that something new is happening; time of waiting + preparing is completed.
Things are different for disciples of Jesus because the long-promised rescuer has come

Out with the old

7:30 Jesus gives the assembled crowd two short parables to reflect on, two pictures to help them think through what he’s saying. Let’s take a little time looking at these pictures along with that crowd, exploring what Jesus means by them. So what have we got?
Two old things. First, an old garment, so well used it needs a patch. Sound familiar? Second an old wineskin - that is, a bag made out of skin that you’d store wine in and then seal while it fermented and bubbled away. Sounds seriously icky but that was the way they did things back then. You needed the “stretch” from the skin so the bag didn’t burst as the wine fermented - because, as any chemist worth their salt could tell you, converting sugars to alcohols gives off gas [students, care to name the gas in question for bonus marks?]
What should we notice about both of these old things? Jesus isn’t making a negative comment about them - he’s not saying it was a badly made coat; he’s not saying it was a poor quality wineskin. They are just things which were good in their time but now that time’s passed. Things which have served their purpose.
When Jesus is talking about old things I think we can be pretty confident he has John’s disciples and the Pharisees in view. There’s something about both of them that is paralleled in the old: that old wineskin, that old garment. So what is it?
John’s disciples are waiting, watching, preparing.
Pictures of things which have served their purpose: old garment; old wineskin
8:45 Let’s take those groups one at a time: first, John’s disciples. If you’ve heard about John the baptist much before, you might associate the phrase “prepare the way” with him? Back at the beginning of our series in Luke we spent some time getting to know John and taking a closer look at what he was up to - and this would be a good way to summarise his role: he was to prepare the ground, to prepare the way; to make people ready. You can see that back in Luke chapter 1: “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” is part of what the angel says about him before his birth; “you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him” is part of what his father prophecies about him at his birth. I think we can safely assume John’s disciples felt they were picking up and continuing and sharing in this same mission of preparing the way.
So what about the second group, these Pharisees? Well, at the centre of their life was the Law of Moses, the rules and regulations that governed and defined Jewish life. But as Paul, one of Jesus’ first followers, would go on to tell the church in Galatia, the Law was preparation for something more, something to follow: “so the Law was our guardian until Christ came...” - and Jesus himself will later on tell us that he has not come to abolish the law, but to fulfil it.
They were good in their time; they’ve served their purpose; they’re worn out now.
John and his disciples preparing the way. The Law acting as our guardian. But both now have served their purpose; all the preparation and waiting is done and now the groom is here. The promised rescuer, the Messiah has come. These old things - garment, wineskin - these old things, John’s preparation, the Law’s guardianship - they’ve served their purpose. The way is prepared. The Law is fulfilled. Something new’s happening.
Jewish people too - Simeon “waiting for the consolation of Israel”; Anna speaks of “all looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem”; Joseph of Arimathea cf prominent member of the council “waiting for the kingdom of God”
First, let’s John’s disciples are waiting, watching, preparing.
John’s disciples are waiting, watching, preparing.
Jewish people too - Simeon “waiting for the consolation of Israel”; Anna speaks of “all looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem”; Joseph of Arimathea cf prominent member of the council “waiting for the kingdom of God”
But the Law and the preparations of John have served their purpose: Messiah has come
9:45 The Law is not abolished - Jesus comes to fulfil it
The Law is not abolished - Jesus comes to fulfil it

In with the new

9:45 So we have two old things that have served their purpose; what else is going on in Jesus’ parable here? Take a moment to think about what he’s describing next in each case:
Say you have an old coat that needs a patch and you have a perfectly good new one. What’s the logical thing to do? Put on the new one! Who would cut up the new to patch the old? That’s just silly
Say you have some new wine which looks to be a corker. Who would risk it by trying to keep it in that old, crusty, inflexible wineskin? Particularly when there’s a new wineskin to hand?
Both seem silly - but we’re humans. We have to recognise that humans fundamentally don’t like change. We like the comfy well-worn ruts life falls into, the ways of doing things that we’re used to and familiar with.
new garment (replacement) -
Pictures include something new: new garment (replacement); new wineskin (content)
Or perhaps it’s not quite true to say that we like them, but we certainly default to them without thinking; change takes effort. Life has a certain momentum. We’re more likely to keep on blindly doing what we’re doing than to sit up, take a look around, and start out in a new direction.
How does that play out for the two groups in view here? The preparation and waiting is done - but it’s hard for people to give up the patterns of life which they have become used to. John’s mission was preparation. The Law was preparation. Now the new has come, the challenge is for both groups to let go of the old and to embrace the new. The danger for both groups is that they try to mix it instead.
new wineskin (content) - who would risk the new by trying to keep it in the old?
And one thing we can see for sure in Jesus’ pictures is that mixing doesn’t work. In the first picture, the new garment now has a hole! It’s as broken as the old one! In the second picture it’s worse still: both the old wineskin is ruined and the new wine is lost. What’s Jesus point? Christianity doesn’t mix well. It doesn’t fit as just a patch, a small new part sewn into something old. It’s a whole new thing. It can’t be contained in something already stretched and stiff. It has too much power and dynamism for that.
11:15 Are you with me? Do you see what Jesus is picturing? Mixing doesn’t work. But let’s be honest, this is all a little abstract, right? I mean you’re not John’s disciples. You’re not Pharisees. Mixing wouldn’t work for them, sure. But what does that mean for us? Does it mean anything for us at all?
As I’ve thought about this through the week, I’ve become increasingly convinced that it does. That actually it’s surprisingly relevant despite what we might say.
Both seem silly - but we’re human. Recognise humans fundamentally don’t like change.

Mixing doesn’t work

If you’d call yourself a follower of Jesus here today, I think this is actually the single biggest application of the passage for us: mixing doesn’t work. And much as we might think we’re not the mixing types, underneath we really are. Underneath, we’re more like these people we’re reading about than we’d like to admit - more like them than we’d ever imagine, in fact.
You see, fundamentally, our default operating system is surprisingly similar. The ruts in our thinking that we keep falling into lead in surprisingly similar directions. Fundamentally, we understand law much better than grace. We’re more comfortable with it. It’s like … a worn out coat. And old wineskin. One that we keep going back to anyway.
Jesus point: Christianity doesn’t mix well
Here’s what I mean: much of life, on the surface, is just social contracts. I scratch your back, you scratch mine, right? Life’s full of social contracts like this; I perform X for you, you perform Y for me. I hand over the cash; you hand over the coffee. I do my homework, the teacher treats me well. Life seems to be made up of “deals” like this. I come to the office and type away all day looking busy, you pay me. I take out the bins for you, you cook for me. These deals are so everyday that it’s become second nature to us to expect them, to think in everything there’ll be some scratching of my back and some scratching of yours.
And that, at it’s heart, is law: I perform for God; God performs for me. I keep my side of the bargain, he keeps his. I’m diligent in showing up at church; I’m a decent guy to others; I even read my bible and pray sometimes. Time for God to scratch my back. And, conversely, my prayers are squished into spare moments; I’ve been pretty shabby towards my friends; I’m lazy about church - God’s gonna’ be mad.
That’s law. That’s our old coat; that’s our old wineskin. What’s the new wine? The gospel. The gospel says something quite different: It says God loves you so he gave Jesus to save you - believe it! End of. There’s no deal. There’s no performance. There’s no back-scratching required. It sounds just too good to be true. It’s so counter to our everyday experience, so different from the ruts of life, that we’re simply more comfortable in the old coat of the law.
And so we end up mixing. Yep I’m saved through Jesus, through what he’s done. End of. Got that patch in place. But I’m also driven to perform, to deliver for God. Still got that comfy old coat on.
14:15 A thought experiment for you: say this week you just dropped the ball on every single God thing. You didn’t tick a single one of the “good Christian” boxes all week, whatever they might be for you. Just imagine inside your head you had a week like that… PAUSE... Where are you thinking you’d be with God by the end of the week? At least on the naughty step, right? It’s so hard to get our human heads around the idea that our standing with God is not based on our performance - but that’s the gospel: it’s based on Jesus’ performance. And it was an epic performance, perfect in every way.
And Jesus warns us here when we try and mix up the old and the new, we don’t get to enjoy the new. Law + gospel is law not gospel. Worse than that, we break the old and lose the new. Law + gospel is us broken by the law, crushed by our failure, and losing sight of the gospel, God’s free embrace of us through Jesus.
Does that make sense? Mixing doesn’t work, Jesus says; the old is done. The new has come. Mixing doesn’t work. So this week try and watch yourself; try and catch yourself each time you notice you’re slipping back into that old comfy coat, thinking and acting like you’re doing just one more deal, one more social contract with God. How about this: imagine how pathetic it is for us to think we could ever begin to scratch his back.
Christianity doesn’t mix well
Where we try to rehabilitate the old - at the cost of the new
with our previous worldview
what’s right + wrong?
purpose of life: “Enjoy life. Have fun. Make memories. Die knowing you made the most of it.” “have fun, be nice to people, try to make a difference, don't be a bell-end.”
Enjoy life. Have fun. Make memories. Die knowing you made the most of it.
Where we try to rehabilitate the old - at the cost of the new
Jesus finishes with a warning: don’t be too easily satisfied; “the old is better/good/good enough”. Recognise humans fundamentally don’t like change.

Taste and see

15:45 But that’s not all this passage has to say to us. There’s one more thing I want to bring out here: Jesus finishes with a warning.
don’t be too easily satisfied; “the old is better/good/good enough”.
The picture is of someone who won’t even try the new - the old is enough for them
What’s life about for you? “Enjoy life. Have fun. Make memories. Die knowing you made the most of it.” “have fun, be nice to people, try to make a difference, don't be a bell-end.” is that enough for you? what if there were something more? More of a point for anything and everything. Would that be worth trying?
Have you tried the new wine?
What’s new, what’s good about it?
What’s new, what’s good?
What’s new, what’s good about it?
God made everything good but we messed it up
God has come to his people to rescue them
at great cost - Jesus will be taken from his disciples
perhaps that’s why he illustrates with wine: in the celebration of Communion, it represents his blood.
on the one hand, in the celebration of Communion, it represents his blood.
on the other hand,
God has come into his creation to renew it
like a fresh coat of paint; a fresh coat! new wine. Back to what it should be again
Time for change, time for celebration
Taste and see
Notice the human desire to not even explore, but be too easily satisfied
Related Media
Related Sermons