I think you and I have a problem with Jesus and new wine. At least, I do.
I’ve heard (and preached) dozens of sermons about the new wine of the Spirit, always ending in a call for revival. But a revival of what? Our old wineskin?
Too often the cry for revival is a plea for God to breathe life into a dead horse. The church is usually shocked and repelled by a genuine revival because it upsets old paradigms and invalidates old leadership. And it usually brings in a bunch of unsavory people.
But I think those “sinners” who sat at Matthew’s table in three gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke) were the new wine Jesus was talking about.
Think about it. Those people already didn’t fit into the old wineskin of pharisaic religion. Jesus was taking the Kingdom of God to them as it had already left the building belonging to scribes and Pharisees.
Where you go, the Kingdom goes, because Jesus is in you. So, Jesus mostly gets to the people who need him most when you intentionally spend time with them. They are the new wine.
As to wineskins, when we begin to harvest new wine, we’ll need new wineskins to replace the brittle, preachy, data-driven, perfection equals excellence programs we’ve been offering.
I recently read a fascinating book called The Other Half of Church. It gets into the right-brain/left-brain argument and makes a lot of sense. Turns out that while our church efforts mostly focus on the left, and oh so logical, side of our brains, people mostly change when the art and music-loving, relationship-oriented right side of their brains are stimulated. You become like those people who offer you love and acceptance.
This would help us understand Acts 2:42-47 where stuff happened in the temple courts and in homes. In fact, they shared meals on a daily basis doing church things in tiny groups. Food in homes reminds me of Revelation 3 where Jesus promises to come and dine with us. The tagline to that Acts scenario is that they enjoyed favor with all the people (something sadly missed by today’s churches) and the Lord added to their number on a daily basis.
The upshot of all this is that the new wine is out there and not about to make its way into our old wineskins. The Kingdom needs to engage those most in need through you and me long before we even begin to think of fabricating new wineskins.
BTW, I’d really feel appreciated if you’d leave a comment for, or against, what I’ve written. I don’t get paid to do this other than comments and shares. So if you would…