Old dogs and wineskins

A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels  2/26/2013


     Have you ever tried to put new wine into old wineskins? Probably not. Sewed any new cloths on to old garments lately? Well maybe our quilting ladies have but then again they would be too smart for that.
Old dog new tricks was a line used in the latest James
Bond movie, but he was actually a new dog
using old tricks, like the Aston Martin DB5

     How about trying to teach an old dog new tricks? That would probably still be a no, but at least that is a little more something we hear and understand and relate to.

     Today’s reading is a lot about the Sabbath and the legalistic approach to it. But today’s devotional has to deal with change. Few except maybe the babies in the nursery like change. How many Baptists does it take to change a light bulb? Hey, what do you mean change?

     I don’t care for change and I like traditions. But when times change, we need to know how to take the timeless truths of God’s Word and apply them to the ever changing times. But we need to be careful and Jesus said if we try to change something in the wrong way, it may ruin both.

     More than the Sabbath, however, Jesus was addressing the question of fasting and why His disciples didn’t. Whether it is fasting or legalism or any of the new issues that have popped up and into the church, we need to ask ourselves a very important question: is what we want to do a new wine that we are trying to put into an old wineskin.

     I don’t think Jesus is saying there’s anything wrong (or necessarily right) with the old or that there's anything wrong (or necessarily right) with the new. There’s just a right time and a right place and a right way for change.

     So which one are you? If you or your ways are the new wine, are you trying to force it into a wineskin that cannot handle it? If so, Jesus said you are heading for trouble. Are you or your ways the old wineskin and are you seeing that things are just not the way they used to be? If so, and new things are coming, Jesus said get ready for a burst, a rip or a tear.

     Change? It’s inevitable. No matter how much we may long for the ways of old, we need to see what benefits and good things come with the ways of new.

Pray: Thank you Jesus that with your arrival, we are no longer under the law but under grace. This world is in desperate need of a change, and perhaps nothing but Your glorious return could ever usher in the change that needs to happen. Until then, grant us the grace to adapt and grow to our ever changing circumstances.

For more on today's reading from John 5, go to Do You Want to Be Made Whole and Past, Present, and Future

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