28 Jan. Mark 2:21-22

28 Jan. New wine needs a new container

"No one sews a patch of unshrunken cloth over a hole in an old coat. Otherwise, the patch will shrink and pull away - the new patch will pull away from the old coat. Then the hole will be worse."

"Also, no one ever pours new wine into old leather bags. Otherwise the new wine will break the bags, and the wine will be ruined along with the bags."

"So new wine should be put into new leather bags."

          (Mark 2:21-22)



Today's passage from Mark's gospel sounds like an article from 'Good Housekeeping' - 'Household tips from Capernaum celebrity chef', or something similar.

In our 21st century 'throw-away' society, few of us think of patching up old clothes that have holes in them; but in Jesus's day (and in many parts of the world today), no sensible person would ever think of discarding a good coat just because it had a small hole in it!

Darning holes in old socks (or patching up old clothes) has become a thing of the past for most people in our modern 'consumer society'; but it actually makes a lot of sense - it reduces your carbon 'footprint', and it ensures less waste goes to landfill.

But this wasn't, of course, what Jesus was talking about. He was making the point, using everyday household tasks, that 'new people' - like new wine - need to live in 'new containers'.

Unlike the glass wine bottles we use today, leather wine skins used in Jesus's day weren't recyclable. The leather hardened in time and became inflexible; so new wine - which was still fermenting and expanding - needed new wine skins, or it would burst out of the container and be wasted.

It's the same when we get to know Jesus personally, and he transforms our lives by forgiving our past, and filling us to overflowing with the 'new wine' of the Holy Spirit. New wine can't be contained in old wine skins, and new lives can't be contained in 'old bodies'.

Of course, we can't change our physical bodies, but our whole lifestyle changes if we start to follow Jesus, and people can see how we've changed. A life renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit can really rejuvenate us, and we might even look 'ten years younger'.

So don't try to live your 'new life' within your old lifestyle. Jesus loves us as we are, but he wants to change us to be like Him - and that involves a completely new lifestyle, putting others first and radiating the love of Jesus to all we meet.

The photo shows a watchtower in the reconstructed 1st century vineyard at Neot Kedumim in Israel.

You can read more about vineyards in Jesus's day @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/the-parable-of-the-sheep…/

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