“He told them this parable: ‘No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, The old is better.’ ”(Luke 5:36–39, NIV84)
Jesus was at odds with the religious leaders continuously. He won the hearts and minds of the average Jew, but the religious hierarchy just couldn’t seem to get Jesus to fit their mold. Twice now Jesus had done something on the Sabbath that was prohibited by the Pharisees. Most recently, Jesus’ disciples were eating grain as they were walking on the Sabbath. Jesus was confronted, “Why do your disciples do what is unlawful?” Jesus corrected them and said that the “Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Jesus finally confronted them with this strange parable about patches on clothing and wine in wineskins. For years I have tried to understand this parable in relationship to its context. It’s strange how it takes time for my mind to be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading. But this is what I have been led to understand about this parable. The religious leaders are the old garment and old wineskins. Jesus is the new patch and new wine. They are trying to figure out how to fit Jesus into their religious framework. Jesus is telling them that will never work. The new patch will tear away from the old garment, and the new wine will explode the old wineskin.
In order for them to properly accept Jesus, they have to be willing to give up their religious framework, repent of their sins, and be born anew. Only by being born again by the Spirit can one properly receive Jesus. He is the way, and the truth, and the life. He will never allow Himself to be merely a link or somehow attached to some other religious teaching.
So we must ask the question: “How have we received Jesus?” Are we trying to attach Him to something already set in our minds? If so, it will never work. We, too, must be willing to die to our current worldview and principles and accept Jesus for who He is. We must be willing to die so that we might have life. Remember, Jesus will never be an add-on. He is the Way, Truth, and Life!