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.’” – Luke 5:33-39 [ESV]
One of my favorite YouTube channels is Jimmy’s World. Jimmy is a very wealthy man who loves to buy old abandoned airplanes, fix them up and get them airworthy again. He sells them (I think!) after the work is done and he’s gotten them back into the air. His most recent effort is around a Cessna 310. That’s the kind of airplane that Sky King flew in the television program from the 50’s.
Well this particular airplane has been a tale of woe from day one. That seems to be because it sat unattended and unflown and uncared for for 37 years! Added to that – and perhaps even more damaging – was the manner in which it was repaired over the years. Wiring harnesses have been patched together willy nilly. Many wires unlabeled. Many simply cut when some of the initial restoration process began. It is a poster child for putting bandaids on broken arms and tire patches on Formula One race cars. Not wise. Not effective. Not good.
You want to rebuild something? Get to the ground level. Don’t put patches on walls with faulty framing. Don’t try to cover up bad trouble with paint. Don’t put lipstick on a pig!
Jesus is bringing a whole new approach to God to the people of his day. They had strayed so far from God’s intent and desire of and for his people. They were more concerned about their power and position than they were about doing God’s work and serving God’s people.
Jesus realizes this and speaks to them about trying to patch old clothes with new cloth. It may work for a time. But the new will soon be torn away from the old.
Jesus is bringing a whole new way of life to God’s people. No longer centered in law-keeping and ceremonial religious activity. Not cozy with the Romans. Not concerned about self. Not worried about appearances. Concerned with the heart.
In essence Jesus was calling for a heart transplant. He was calling people to a right-side-up view of the world, of God, and of their calling as God’s people. Theirs was a privilege coupled with responsibility. Theirs was a possession to be shared not hoarded.
That called for new wineskins for the new wine of grace, faith, love, and mercy. Maybe you need that kind of wineskin as well. We all do. It may be time to discard the old wineskin of resentment, worry, greed, selfishness, lust, and mannouvering for favorable position. In place of those things, drink in the wine of God’s love. Clothe yourself in Christ’s righteousness. Seek to know and imitate the heart of Christ.
That’s way better than any patch. Or mask. Or bandaid. Or pretention.