Very often when Christ begins to stir hope for a fresh move of the Holy Spirit, certain things happen. Believers seem to have an unexplainable expectation of something beyond the norm. God prepares hearts and reveals the new things needed to facilitate all He wants to do, and then the wrestles begin. As the Spirit moves to impact a generation He will, almost always, use new methods, structures, and groupings. This often causes tension between those who treasure the traditions that have served their generation well, and those who are excited about the new thing God is preparing them for; the two are rarely compatible.
Jesus taught this using the example of ‘new wine’. Picture the scene in Luke 5 where people are suspicious of Jesus because He seems to do things differently. He isn’t fasting like John the Baptist’s disciples or the Pharisees. Jesus answers, why fast when the Bridegroom is still here being celebrated? The time for fasting will come but this isn’t it! He’s simply saying that a new era demands a new dynamic and a new approach. The traditions, structures or methods of the previous generation may not be suitable to achieve God’s purposes at this moment.
Jesus then shares about new wine, meaning He is doing a new thing, but He then shares about the danger of trying to make the new to fit within the old. The old is damaged and the new is wasted!
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins.” (Luke 5:37–38, NLT)
So, Jesus was offering new wine (a new way of thinking/doing) but most struggled to accept the new because they were still enjoying the old. The new way was a plan of salvation for the whole world, healing, deliverance and an offer of eternal life for all. But most couldn’t receive the new because they couldn’t see past what they’d always known.
“But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.” (Luke 5:39, NLT)
This mindset comes from a consumeristic desire to ‘enjoy’ a nice vintage of choice, to continue having personal tastes satisfied, probably with selfish desires at the root. But old wine, while pleasant at the time, rarely caters for the needs of the next generation, only today’s new wine can satisfy now and bless future generations too. So rather than simply ‘enjoy’ the traditional vintage of your preference, let’s get to bearing good fruit, being hands-on in the harvesting, willing in the crushing, and being a vessel for new wine to flow freely.
Father, please help me to look beyond what I desire personally at this moment! Help me to open my heart to the new things You are doing today, even if it is a new untested and unproven method or approach. Do all that is needed for this and future generations and lead me to be a blessing to it! Amen