27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
33 And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” 34 And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”36 He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”
Older wine is often seen as worse than old wine because it is not properly aged. As a wine ages it matures but if it is stored in a sheep or goat gut wineskin the skin will have to expand as the wine effects it. Unfortunately it can only expand so far and then if it is reused it will try and expand again and it will split, releasing the wine and spoiling both the skin as a container and the wine that is spilled. Old, rigid people will not allow themselves to change and so the changes are wasted on them. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Followers of Jesus are not just called to a one-time change. They are called to a one-time salvation that leads to a life of change. They are constantly adjusting to the effects of the new wine that is within them. Even pastors can buy into a life-draining idea that they must show they have arrived and teach others to do the same. However, their attempts to portray perfection will result in a charge of hypocrisy from the present generation.
If a life of constant change sounds draining, a life of maintaining a facade is more so. However, many people are miserable without being fully conscious of those things that hold them back. An open conversation with Jesus will change that. We should pray the ‘examen’ prayer where we ask God to examine our hearts and reveal how the wineskin needs to change.
Examine my heart, O God. Let me continue to grow into the healthy individual you wish me to be.
- Who is changing in the passage?
- Who is resisting change?
- Why does Jesus ask others to change when he does not change himself?
- How do you resist change?
- How do you embrace change?