In Luke Chapter 5 we see an incident where certain Pharisees and scribes start questioning Jesus’ disciples. Jesus and his disciples had been breaking the social protocol and violating much of what had come to be viewed as acceptable Judaism. In particular this crowd took issue with the fact that Jesus’ disciples did not appear to fast and pray as often as the other religious groups of the day.
In this context we see Jesus begin to tell a parable. First, his defense of his disciples is that while the bridegroom is present no-one in the bridal party is allowed to fast. From this point he publicly begins to prophecy that the bridegroom [Jesus] will soon be taken away and then the bridal party [disciples] will fast and pray.
From here Jesus begins the parable that we want to focus on today. On the heels of prophesying the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension Jesus begins to show us that a change is about to take place in the religious order of the day.
Luke 5:37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined.”
Let’s take a moment to review the dynamics of wineskins and wine making to help us understand this parable. To start with, a wineskin is a device used to carry a liquid. In Jesus’ day it was typically made from goat skin. After being cleaned the skin is soaked in water to make it moist and then it is rubbed on the inside and out with fresh oil. The wine is then put into the wineskin and begins to ferment. The process of fermentation causes the skin to expand and stretch. If the skin becomes dry the fermentation process will cause it to crack and burst.
Luke 5:38 “But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.”
Here Jesus was saying that the old forms of Judaism were not suitable to contain the new force of the Gospel. In every visitation the wineskin has to go through change. Before the promise of change comes there is a choice to let go of the old and receive the new. During one visitation Moses struck the rock and water came out. Upon the next visitation he was commanded only to speak to the rock! Because he struck it instead he was prevented from crossing over into the promise land.
Over time animal skins for water and wine would become dry and wear thin. You had to treat them with water and fresh oil to keep them pliable. You soak the skin and then rub it with oil so that it can be used again. The skin that is hard and lacks flexibility will burst. Likewise, If we are not flexible and we don’t soften our spirits then we will break trying to receive the new wine of the Lord.
In worldly terms of winery ‘old wine’ is preferred because it is smooth, mature, predictable, familiar, and sophisticated. You can recognize it, name it, and label it! This has spiritual overtones for us. People get comfortable in their denominations and traditions.
Luke 5:39 “And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.”
The Pharisees were steeped in the old wine of their own traditions. They preferred their ideas and cultural heritage over the current voice of the Lord. Jesus was warning us that anyone rigidly or proudly brought up in a past move of God will usually miss the new thing that God is doing in their day. They become rigid, carnal, and begin to crack up like an old wineskin or outright refuse new wine saying “the old is good enough.”
In the natural sense of things aging may improve the taste of natural wine, but In God’s economy the time had come for change. The old system of the law served a useful purpose [Galatians 3:24] as a school master to bring us to Christ, but now a new and living way was to begin providing direct access to God and to the power of this indwelling spirit to enable us to follow in the steps of Christ.
For anyone who has been drinking old wine it can be a challenge to trade it for the new. New wine is bitter, strong, sharp to the taste, unfamiliar, unpredictable, and highly volatile. Again, what is true in the natural has spiritual resonance with us.
But it is critically important that we desire and embrace the new wine! If we are to continue in possessing the promise land we must learn from Moses’ mistake and hear the voice of God for today! In order to receive new wine we must keep our wineskin new.
How do you keep a wineskin new? The course of time will cause all wineskins to start to dry out. The first thing that you do to restore a wineskin is to dip it in water to make it moist. For us we have to be soaked in the water of the word of God. We have to take time to meditate on the gospel and to read the scriptures, especially the Epistles of Paul!
The wineskin then has to be rubbed with fresh oil. The oil has to cover the inside and the outside of the skin to keep it flexible. The fresh oil represents the newness of the anointing in our lives which gives us the ability to move forward in God. This enables us to walk out the experience of ‘joy unspeakable and full of glory.’ The oil represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
The word anointing means “to smear” or “rub” with oil. At times God will send anointed people like prophets to rub you to keep you flexible. They may step on your toes and put pressure on you. It’s important to note that an old wineskin is someone who refuses to change. Being old [in age] doesn’t make you an old wineskin. In the OT the widow had no fresh oil which spiritually speaking means she had no anointing. It took Elijah’s ministry to get the oil flowing again.
Today we have a church that seems so dry, caught up in the traditions and ideas of men. We need a new wine experience again. I remember in the 1990’s we had so many long revivals full with the Joy of the Holy Spirit. We have to return and awaken to the Joy of the Lord for that is where our strength comes from.
There are many changes that must come into place in our hearts and lives. We must prepare to receive for ourselves these changes and trust God that it’s not “by might or power” but by His Spirit. We need to leap into that which is new in God. The new wine goes into the wineskin and the wineskin has to be flexible. It’s got to be able to handle sudden extreme movements without cracking.
The only way to be flexible is to stay rubbed down with oil on the inside and out. As often as the skin is washed, it was then covered in fresh oil. You need fresh oil rubbed into your raw hide so that you can become flexible, durable, and pliable to the Holy Spirit! Many people are in desperate need of an oil change. They’ve gone too many miles without a refreshing.
It’s not enough to just pray in the Spirit we have to also pray in the understanding. We have to study, we have to re-examine the scriptures! We have to keep ourselves before the Lord and listen to what He is saying in the now!
There are churches that used to see miracles and used to see people coming to God but now it’s like they’re stuck. The last 7 words of a dying church are “ We have always done it this way.” We go through these ruts when we loose our joy and we loose our joy when we are not washed in the water and rubbed with oil.
What God has for the church is going to take us being flexible. We need to be able to withstand a strong drink, not a mild one. It’s high time to get into the deeper revelation of God. If you are having trouble digesting what God is speaking today you better start drinking deep. In the natural Paul instructed Timothy to “take a little wine” for his digestion problem. The new wine will help you to digest the deep things of God! Belly up and start drinking heavy.
The anointing does more than just speak in tongues, it is the oil of gladness and joy [Hebrews 1:9]. So many people are drowning in pity, sympathy, sorrow, and so on. We are called to rise above such things and learn compassion to release the miraculous like Jesus. Alcohol cannot drown your sorrows but the wine of the spirit will do far greater good!
Isaiah 51:3 “Indeed, the Lord will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the Lord; Joy and gladness will be found in her, Thanksgiving and sound of a melody.,”
Isaiah 51:11 “So the ransomed of the Lord will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
Isaiah 61:3 “To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called [a]oaks of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Have you ever seen someone stagger or fall down when they are drunk? A drunk person will laugh and sing without embarrassment or even pick a fight without a second thought. God is in the spiritual winery business whether we like it or not. Have you had enough wine to cause you to sing or dance or to stand up to someone without thought of the consequences? Joy is an evangelistic force!
Are you shy? God has ordained that you get drunk and saturated with the new wine of the Spirit so that you would not be inhibited by people. When a man gets drunk he steps out of the way he normally is. Likewise in the spiritual when you are drunk on the wine of the Spirit you lose your inhibition. Fear, timidity, stiffness, and anxiety all leave you.
You need a good strong drink. Not of the imitation, but of the straight undiluted wine of the Holy Spirit! We need to buckle down and get into the joy of the Lord. There are a lot of things that I do that may not make me happy but there’s a difference between happiness and joy.
Olives are gathered and put under 68 tons of pressure and crushed to produce fresh oil. This is a beautiful picture of the anointing. This speaks to your attitude towards trials, persecution, and pressure. How can you respond with the right attitude without joy? Kenneth Hagin once said “I have been criticized by the best.” Don’t criticize someone unless you have done equally or more than what they are doing. When you criticize them you are touching that same anointing that you are seeking God for yourself. Don’t get caught up with that. Let the olives be crushed and let the Lord wash you with the word and rub you with the fresh oil on the inside and the out. Let the Lord keep you flexible and prepare you for what He is doing in your life!
I Declare breakthrough in your life. You are able to pray in the spirit. You are able to increase your time with the Lord. You are able to study the word. You are able to drink deep from the Holy Spirit! You can choose to laugh anytime you want because God sits in the heaven’s and laughs and holds all his enemies in derision [Psalm 2:4]. You can drink from the new wine anytime!
I speak joy over you today, that you would be overwhelmed with the Joy of the Lord. You are full of the Holy Spirit today. You rejoice in the Lord. I declare today that God floods you with his joy and you get so drunk in the Holy Spirit that you are able to download any revelation that comes your way. You recognize what is true and what is false. You can perceive and receive the fullness of God and enjoy every moment in Him!