Build An Ark: Letters From the Ranch
Nor do men put new wine into old wineskins;
otherwise the wineskins burst,and the wine pours out, and the wineskins
are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.
The entire Bible is one account after another of the eternal God stepping
into the affairs of men and busting wide open our cultural and natural limitations.
There is bound to be a clash when the Infinite invades the finite. He is
always stretching us. Often the point at which this stretching occurs is
in the area of compassion. This is one of the ways He opens the eyes of
our understanding to see our need for Him.
The Pharisees couldn't handle the fact that Jesus would hang out with sinners.
His disciples couldn't understand why Jesus would talk with a woman or take
the time to be with children. Those in the synagogue couldn't bear to hear
Jesus retell the story of how Gods compassion had been extended to
the "despised" Gentiles (see Luke 4:23-30). Peter had to see the
same vision three times before God was able to get through to him that the
gospel was not just for the Jews. How many times have I found it difficult
to reach out to someone who was different from me? To see him or her through
the compassionate eyes of Jesus rather than my prejudice or self-righteous
Immediately before Jesus talked about wineskins, he said this:
But go and learn what this means, I desire compassion, and not
sacrifice, for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
(Matthew 9:13) In other words God doesn't give a hoot about my religion
if it fails to include loving other people and demonstrating to them the
abundant mercy and compassion so freely extended to me in Jesus. And it
is at this point where I will see my utter inability to do this. I must
always seek to have the love of Jesus be perfected, ever increasing and
maturing in me. If I'm putting limitations on how God can work, how He can
use me, and to whom he can send me, my heart becomes like an inflexible
old wineskin that will be unable to receive the new wine
of His presence that is always bubbling, growing, expanding, and seeking
to bring new life to thirsty souls. Jesus says,
you received, freely give. Matthew 10:8.