NEW WINESKINS AND OLD WINESKINS
Key Verse: 9:17
"Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do,
the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins
will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins,
and both are preserved."
1. How did Jesus reveal his compassion and authority in verses 1-13?
Read verses 14-15. Why and how were John's disciples different from
Jesus' disciples? What did Jesus teach them about himself? About his
2. Read verses 16-17. Why don't the new and old mix? Who are new and
old wineskins? What do each of these parables teach about the nature
of the Christian life? How can we avoid becoming old wineskin
3. Read verses 18-26. What was remarkable about the ruler's faith?
What happened on the way to his house? What can we learn from the
woman? How did Jesus deal with the crowd? With the girl? What can we
learn from Jesus through these events?
4. Read verses 27-34. How did the blind men show their faith? What did
Jesus do for them? What further amazed the crowds? Why did the
Pharisees not see God's glory?
5. Read verses 35-38. How is Jesus' ministry summarized in verse 35?
What did he do instead of despairing at the sinfulness of mankind?
How did Jesus see the crowds? The sinsick world?
We have learned that Jesus' compassion is indeed great. Jesus'
compassion had power to heal the paralytic from his paralysis and make
him a new man. Why did Matthew talk so much about a paralytic and a tax
collector in his gospel? When we study the Bible carefully and we study
humanity through many books, we find that the paralytic and the tax
collector are representative among many sinners. A paralytic is a
representative sinner with his laziness and selfishness and habit of
complaining, while tax collectors are powerful and active and inhuman
sinners. But we cannot say which one is a worse sinner. They were
disgusting and nauseating to all people in every time. But Jesus healed
them with his compassion so that they would be normal people. Jesus
also healed ordinary sinners like the blind and the mute. They were not
ugly sinners, but they were also sinners because they could not be the
normal people that God had made them to be, and they could not be a
blessing to others. They burdened others whenever they appeared. The
Pharisees despised and rejected Jesus because he healed these social
outcasts and had compassion on them instead of making an offering to
their synagogues. Jesus did not come to this world to make an offering
to the synagogue but to heal the sick. One of the Pharisees asked his
disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and
'sinners'?" But Jesus, on hearing this, said, "It is not the healthy
who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I
desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the
righteous, but sinners." Jesus is the God of mercy. Jesus is the God
of compassion who heals those who are useless because of their
sickness. We feel empty and meaningless whenever our souls are empty of
God's mercy and compassion. We are very happy when we are full of God's
mercy and compassion in our souls. In today's passage Jesus continues
his healing ministry.
First, John's disciples and Jesus' disciples. Some of John's disciples
came to ask Jesus: "How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your
disciples do not fast?" (14) The disciples of John the Baptist asked
this question not for the sake of questioning, but to express their
unhappiness. John was very popular, so much so that he was thought to
be the Messiah by many Jews. And his ministry was so crowded by people
that it was like a stormy sea. But now Jesus' ministry was even bigger,
and John the Baptist was imprisoned because he had rebuked Herod the
Tetrarch that he stole his brother's wife. Now the morale of John's
disciples was nothing but a pretense. On the other hand, Jesus'
disciples' morale was like a roaring lion. When John's disciples saw
Jesus' disciples, they looked presumptuous and arrogant, as though they
were flying high in the sky above the clouds. But the disciples of John
looked at them carefully. They were not keeping traditional rules. They
were eating a huge amount, making a lot of "chop, chop, chop" crunching
The disciples of John did not know the flow of the history of the
world ruled by God. John the Baptist came to this world as the
forerunner of Jesus, and they were disciples of John the Baptist. Their
time came; they enjoyed it and it passed away. Now the time of Jesus
the Messiah came; he was healing the sick and his disciples were busy
to help him line up the crowds, and sometimes, to prepare huge amounts
of food for the crowds to eat together. If John's disciples had known
the flow of God's time and had had a sense of history, they would not
criticize Jesus' disciples for not fasting and not praying or wearing
long robes. Anyway, they were sorry that time passes and history moves
to someone else; it passes away and goes from this person to another
person. Their real problem was that they did not know who John the
Baptist was and who Jesus Christ is.
So Jesus kindly answered them, "How can the guests of the
bridegroom mourn while they are with the bridegroom?" It meant that
John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus and finally our Lord Jesus
Christ came as the bridegroom. As long as they were with the
bridegroom, they didn't have to mourn with long faces and a stony
Second, new wineskins and old wineskins. Jesus teaches the disciples of
John the Baptist and all the others who were there with two more
parables. The first one was a sewing parable. The second one was an
old wineskin and new wineskin parable. These parables teach us a sense
of history and that a man must remain always young and fresh, even
though his earthly body is getting old.
Let's first think about the parable of sewing a patch. "No one
sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will
pull away from the garment, making the tear worse" (16). In other
words, if a man goes to the Salvation Army and buys a 50-year old
Soviet General's army uniform with many medals, outwardly it looks
good. But there are several holes in the army uniform. So the fancy guy
bought a new patch of unshrunk cloth and sewed it on the old,
gorgeous-looking Soviet General's clothes. He tried it one time. Then
the new patch and the old army uniform were all torn and the newly
sewed places had bigger holes. Thus the uniform became useless. This is
an illustration that new cloth cannot be sewed onto old clothes in
order to make a new army uniform. If anybody sews an old army uniform,
which has many holes, with new cloth, it will be completely ruined.
Briefly speaking, with new cloth we should make a new suit and an old
suit should be sent to the Soviet Salvation Army.
Jesus' second parable about old wineskins and new wineskins is
revolutionary. New wine must be put into new wineskins and old wine
into old wineskins. As we know well, new wine has expanding power. As
we know well, new wineskins have elastic character. Therefore, new wine
must be put into a new wineskin which has expanding capacity. If anyone
puts new wine into an old wineskin, the new wine will burst the old
wineskin with expanding power and both will become useless. So new
wineskins must not make any compromise with old wineskins. New wine
should be put into new wineskins which can endure the exploding power
of the new wine. Here we learn several truths. We should not be old
wineskin Christians. We must remain as a new wineskin Christians.
In order to become new wineskin Christians, we must pray every
morning that God will give us a new heart and new spirit and new
compassion of Jesus Christ. We must pray that God will renew our
mission daily to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily and follow
Jesus. Most of all, we must overcome our mentality to remain as old
wineskins. Old wineskins look good outwardly. An old wineskin contains
older and sweeter wine. But it doesn't have any power and spirit to
expand. So it is useless in history.
When we look back, there are many stories about new-wineskin-kind
of churches that became rotten, old wineskin churches. One of the
organizations which still exists was a Bible study institution. They
only studied the Bible. They only tried hard to live up to the
teachings of the Bible. So people of the world recognized them as an
outstanding Bible institution. But one of the old-wineskin-kind of
people took over this organization and wanted to make it a more rich
organization. So he started a new program so that he could attract many
worldly people. Immediately this organization became a game-centered
organization and Bible students were rejected and cast out. Now this
organization completely changed its character and activity and has
become a secular organization. It has many exercise tools and swimming
pools and weight control facilities. Those who go there to lose weight
never lose weight because after taking a little exercise to lose weight
they eat a double portion of food.
It is surprising that Harvard University was founded as a Bible
school. When God blessed this school as a Bible school they did not
know what to do with God's blessing. So they added several departments
for humanity study. Because of God's blessing, it became a rich and
famous university. And mostly children from rich and renowned family
backgrounds can enter the school. But now one of the most difficult
places to evangelize in the world is Harvard University.
When we study the Bible carefully, we learn that man is made from
the dust of the ground and with the Spirit of God. And a man is like
grass and his glory is like the flowers of the field. These days, due
to the remarkable development of medicine, people live long. America
seems to be covered with people more than 80 years old. Commonly,
history tells us that 60 years is the full span of life for a man. But
there are many who are 70 or 80, and some more than 80 years old. They
are getting old but their spirit must be new by seeing the kingdom of
God and repenting of their sins.
When we accumulate worldly knowledge and our hearts are not
renewed every day, we become old wineskins which are completely useless
to God. When we study the gospels, we find that Jesus is the God of
compassion and mercy. He healed all kinds of people and taught the
kingdom of God to all kinds of people equally. But Jesus clearly
refuses to compromise with old-wineskin-kind of people. Our Lord Jesus
Christ wants us to remain as the new-wineskin-kind of people.
Third, Jesus raises a ruler's dead daughter (18-26). "While he was
saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, 'My daughter
has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live'"
(18). A ruler was a pillar of Jewish orthodoxy. But this ruler could
come to Jesus when he curbed his pride and prejudice toward Jesus. He
came to Jesus and said, "My daughter has just died. But come and put
your hand on her, and she will live." Though he was one of the bigoted
Jews, he had marvelous faith in Jesus; he believed that Jesus could
raise his daughter, who had already died. On the way to the ruler's
house, a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came
up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself,
"If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed" (21). She was a smelly
woman because of her bleeding, and her bleeding was incurable. But she
had "If only" faith. Look at verse 22. "Jesus turned and saw her. 'Take
heart, daughter,' he said, 'your faith has healed you.' And the woman
was healed from that moment."
When Jesus entered the ruler's house, a noisy crowd was mourning
and wailing (23). What did Jesus do? Look at verse 24. "...he said, 'Go
away. The girl is not dead but asleep.' But they laughed at him." Jesus
raised the dead girl (25). This event demonstrates that Jesus not only
forgives men's sins, but also raises the dead. Jesus is the living
Fourth, Jesus heals the blind and mute (27-34). As Jesus went on from
there, two blind men followed him, calling out, "Have mercy on us, Son
of David!" (27) What did Jesus do for them? "When he had gone indoors,
the blind men came to him, and he asked them, 'Do you believe that I am
able to do this?' 'Yes, Lord,' they replied" (28). Jesus touched their
eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you." And
their sight was restored (29,30). In history, Jesus is the only one who
restored sight to the blind. While Jesus and his people were going out,
a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus
(32). Jesus healed the man so that he could proclaim the good news of
great joy (33).
Fifth, pray to send out workers (35-38). The world looked hopeless. It
was too sick to be healed. But Jesus did not think so. "Jesus went
through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues,
preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and
sickness" (35). In this verse we learn that Jesus worked hard to preach
the good news of the kingdom of God and heal the sick. There is no
despair in Jesus. When Jesus saw many people who were hungry and wild,
he did not think they were no good. He saw them with a shepherd's
heart. Jesus thought they had only one problem--they had no shepherds
to take care of them.
Jesus saw the world not as a battleground for survival of the
fittest, but as a harvest field. Look at verse 37. "Then he said to his
disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.'" So
Jesus tells his disciples to pray that God may send out many workers
Today we learn that we must remain as new wineskins. We should
never be old wineskins.