Stretching Out for Jesus

Today’s passage comes from Luke 5 but is also found in Matthew 9. Jesus was speaking in parables to help the disciples and crowds to understand biblical concepts. First, Jesus started with the idea of patching clothes with using new cloth to mend and old garment. They would not match and be out of place. Next, Jesus talked about the custom of putting new wine into new wineskins. The reason you did not want to put new wine into old previously used wineskins was that when the wine fermented it expanded. Old wineskins are not as flexible as they were when new and are already stretched to their limit. New wine in them would cause them to burst as the wine fermented and expanded.

Here are Jesus’ words from Luke 5:36-39: Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment. 37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. 38 New wine must be stored in new wineskins. 39 But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.”

What biblical concept was Jesus trying to convey? Why would they need to know about putting on new patches or using new wineskins? The religious leaders of the day were not open to the light of truth Jesus was bringing to the world. They wanted things to stay the ‘same’ and for all things religious to be under their control. They had so perverted the laws and requirements that it had become burdensome for living and had strayed away from the truths of God. They rejected Jesus as they did not want to give up their control over the people. Jesus was trying to tell his disciples that His was a new way, a new wineskin, a new patch, and needed to be presented and used in a new way. The old way was not ‘just fine’ like the religious leaders wanted. Jesus repeatedly said He was a new way. Jesus’ new way would lead them to eternal life and light in Him. John 8:12  “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 17:3  “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.” Jesus wanted them to see a new way that would lead to a new life. As his parable illustrated it could not be done using the old or comfortable ways.

What truth do we learn from this for our lives? Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can be new in Him shedding the baggage of my old self and be ready to expand and live productively for Jesus. Is it easy? No, with new ways come stretching and growth, but Jesus promises to be with us and in us all the way. Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Don’t be afraid to stretch out for Him, He is always with you!

Linda