WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 5TH, 2021
TOPIC: THE NEW COVENANT AS THE NEW WINE
BY T. O. BANSO
“And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better’” (Luke 5:39 New King James Version).
Relatively, some things get better with age. In other words, the older they are, the better they become. For instance, all things being equal, the older someone becomes, the wiser and more experienced he should be in life and his field of endeavor. It is often said that you cannot buy experience; you can only acquire it. Even if you pay for someone’s experience by buying his materials or pay him to teach you, he first acquired the experience.
One of the things that get better with age is wine. It is said that old wine is better than new. Jesus Christ quoted this saying. They were not His original words. He merely expressed the general belief of people of His day. He said in Luke 5:39, “And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better’” (New King James Version).
Jesus’ concern was not really about wine. He was only speaking a parable to respond to the question of the scribes and the Pharisees. They had asked Him why the disciples of John and those of the Pharisees fasted often and made prayers, but His disciples ate and drank. Jesus asked them if they could make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom was with them. He said that the days would come when the bridegroom would be taken away from them and they would fast (Luke 5:33-35).
Jesus then followed up with this parable to illustrate His point: “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 torn, and the patch wouldn’t even match the old garment. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. The new wine would burst the old skins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be put into new wineskins. But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the fresh and the new. ‘The old is better,’ they say” (Luke 5:36-39 New Living Translation).
Jesus was saying that people always liked what they were familiar with. They often didn’t want to try something new. People believed that the old wine had a better taste than the new and, thus, didn’t want to taste the new. He likened the attitude of the scribes and the Pharisees to this.
The enemies of the new move of God could be the protagonists of His previous move. They are used to the old order and would not embrace the new order. One is not talking about an error that is being spread as if it is a move of God.
The old wine was once new. The scribes and the Pharisees forgot this. God does not want us to be a slave to anything but be pliable or flexible in His hand. In my study of the Bible, I saw that God always talked about the new wine. Throughout the entire Bible, including the New King James Version, American Standard Version, and the New Living Translation, reference is made to the old wine only once. And this is as regards Jesus’ reference to it in Luke 5:39. But the Bible makes many references to the new wine.
For instance, Deuteronomy 11:13-14 says, “And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil” (New King James Version). Part of what the people were to gather was the new wine.
Physically, the old wine may be better than the new wine. In the context of this message, Jesus was alluding to it in a spiritual sense. In the spiritual context, those who preferred the old wine to the new wine were wrong. The scribes and the Pharisees preferred the old wine, which they were used to. The old and the new wine represented the old and the new covenants. They represented the old religious order and the new spiritual order Jesus came to inaugurate. The new covenant that Jesus came to establish represented the new wine that, unfortunately, the religious leaders were not receptive to.
John 1:11-13 says, “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (New King James Version). They were in a way saying the old wine was better.
They refused to accept and follow the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). They held on to the Old Covenant which they had even perverted and were not receptive to the new covenant. God says in Jeremiah 31:31-32, “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD” (New King James Version).
That day that God spoke about came but the scribes and the religious failed to recognize it. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Mediator of this new covenant. “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15 New King James Version). But those under the old order said the old wine was better, the Old Covenant was better.
But what does the Scripture tell us? “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6 New King James Version). Also, Hebrews 7:22 says, “Because of God’s oath, it is Jesus who guarantees the effectiveness of this better covenant” (New Living Translation). The new covenant is a better covenant established on better promises. In this case, the new wine is better than the old wine.
Matthew 9:14-17 says, “Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved’” (New King James Version).
In the passage, the disciples of John asked the same question the scribes and the Pharisees had asked. Mark 2:18 records that the disciples of John and of the Pharisees came to ask the question. What Jesus said in Luke 5:39 is peculiar to Luke. The verse is not recorded in Matthew and Mark.
Jesus is the author of a better covenant that He ushered us into with His blood. According to Hebrews 9:17, a testament or covenant is in force only after men are dead; it has no power at all while the testator is still alive. The blood of Jesus is superior to the blood of animals. Therefore, Christianity is superior to Judaism. Under Judaism, the high priest offered the blood of animals to atone for his sins and the people’s sins. But Jesus offered Himself; He gave His life; He shed His blood (Hebrews 9:6-27). Judaism was the old covenant and the old wine. The new covenant is the new wine; the doctrine of Christ is the new wine; Christianity is the new wine.
What the law could not do, God did it through Jesus Christ. Romans 8:3-4 says, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (New King James Version).
New wine; new life! Receiving the new wine that the new covenant gives ushers you into a new life, which the law cannot give. 1 Peter 1:23-24 says, “For you have been born again. Your new life did not come from your earthly parents because the life they gave you will end in death. But this new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God” (New Living Translation).
The Bible says, “But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:6 New King James Version).
The new wine is better than the old wine! What Jesus offers is better than what the law offered, just as the wine He miraculously provided at the wedding of Cana in Galilee was described as the good wine. It was better than the wine they had drunk before then (John 2:9-10).
The new wine is better. Even as regards blessing or prosperity, God’s blessing is always better. The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it (Proverbs 10:22 ). Quit the old wine; go for the new wine. It is freely offered to you. Jesus has paid the price.
Isaiah 55:1-2 says, “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance” (New King James Version).
Don’t mix together the old wine and the new wine. Avoid hybridized Christianity, which is not Christianity. Salvation is not by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. New wine must be put in a new wineskin, not in an old wineskin, to avoid a disaster! The new wine is better.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Thank you Father for the new wine. Thank you for the better covenant, which was established on better promises. I shall not mix grace with the law. Holy Spirit, help me to practise pure Christianity, not hybridized Christianity. Empower me to serve the Lord in the newness of the Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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