He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”
- Luke 5:36-39
Wineskins were made of animal skins and naturally had some elasticity, some give. As the wine goes through its fermentation process, yeast breaks down the sugars from the grape juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide (which is a gas), increasing the volume. So as the wine expands, so does the wineskin. Then, once all the sugars are fermented it stops expanding, just in time because the wineskin gets full and no longer elastic. So if you were to drink all the wine in a skin and then replace it with new wine, well, you’d make a mess - because the skins wouldn’t be able to stretch as it expanded, so it would explode!
Jesus is teaching about what happens when he shows up in people’s hearts. They expand! And if you don’t have any flexibility left in your heart, then as Jesus teaches you new things and more things, it’s going to be messy - because you’re not going to have space in your heart for him. The one thing that Jesus confronts over and over in the gospels is ‘hardness of heart’ - which is just another way of saying that people’s hearts weren’t soft enough to expand in response to his teaching.
How do you get a soft heart? That’s the real question, isn’t it! Talk with Jesus today about having a soft heart, a new wineskin, so that you can drink in more of the wine of his teaching and his power into your life.