“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”
Sometimes I think that people are fundamentally conservative creatures; we don’t like change, and are keen to avoid it. At work recently, an experienced and well-respected Head of Year retired, having been in the position for many years. His replacement, a good friend of mine, was considerably younger. She had lots of new ideas, and was keen to start making changes as soon as she started in her new role. I was a member of the Year Team, and it was really exciting to have someone so vibrant and energetic leading our group of tutors.
There were many in the school, however, who were wary of this new person. Things had always been done in a certain way, and they were happy with that. Life had continued smoothly for twenty or more years, and there was no need for change.
When Jesus appeared on the scene, there were plenty who were wary of him. The Jewish traditions had continued unchallenged for centuries, and now, here was someone who was telling them that things had to change – there was a new order. Whilst this was exciting for many, and attracted plenty of new people, the traditionalists felt that it was not right to change things.
Jesus, in today’s verse, makes it clear that things are going to have to change. He is like a new wine, he says. You can’t put new wine into old skins, because they’ll simply burst. In the same way, you can’t simply put Jesus’ teachings into the same old pigeon holes, because they are radical, exciting and new. Those conservatives have to recognize that things are going to have to change, whether they like it or not.
Be excited by what you read in your Bible, especially as we continue to study Mark together. Be prepared to be challenged, however. Don’t try to fit Jesus’ message into your view of the world – it won’t fit. Instead, you will need to build a new view of the world, based around Jesus’ words.