New Wine and New Wineskins

Last month I preached on a text from Luke 5:36-39. In his first parable recounted in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus told his followers that no one puts new wine into old wineskins.

Goatskins were used to hold wine. As the grape New WInejuice fermented, it gave off gas. The skins had enough elasticity to expand with the wine before hardening into their final shape. New wine poured into old wineskins would burst the container, leading to the loss of both the wine and the wineskins.

Jesus said that new wine must be poured into new wineskins. Then the container can provide a context for the contents. The Holy Spirit blows into our lives with a tornado force that disrupts our lives. The resulting chaos gives us the opportunity to experience God’s new order.

We forget that change can be a positive experience when we embrace the new. For example, our daughter, Katie, is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who works with the General Surgery Team at Egleston Pediatric Hospital.

If you and yours have ever undergone surgery, you know the drill—no food or drink for 8 hours prior to surgery, massive use of narcotics during and after surgery to control pain, and no solid food for a day or two after the procedure.

Everyone KNOWS this is the best way to care for children during surgery. Except maybe it isn’t.

Katie was recently part of a team that developed a new protocol with the catchy title of Enhanced Recovery after Surgery  or ERAS for short. Children receive a loading dose of pain killers along with a high carbohydrate clear liquid two hours prior to surgery. After surgery, children are allowed to eat whatever they want as soon as they want. Most will eat a full meal on the same day of surgery and be up walking around.

The results from the study have been amazing. Children’s postoperative hospital stays have shortened. Use of narcotic drugs for pain control have significantly decreased. And most important of all, the boys and girls are recovering more quickly.

Everyone KNEW the old way of doing things was best . . . until someone showed it wasn’t.

However, you know human nature. People cling to the old even when the new is better. The result is countless children will not benefit from the proposed changes which are demonstrably better for all involved. It will take years for this new protocol to become the accepted way of doing things.

The Holy Spirit calls us to be pioneers, embracing the new through the holy chaos of change. Cast off the old ways of doing things and be open to God’s fresh wind of transformation. Put on the new clothing of holiness and be intoxicated by the new wine of grace.

4 thoughts on “New Wine and New Wineskins

  1. I hear this message loud and clear, I of all people should know this given that every heart procedure I have ever had (all 3) were considered experimental when I had them. Praise God for new ideas and innovations even in the church!


  2. Thanks for your thoughts. I suppose the older we get we realize how important it is to keep focused on the Cross and the Living Word. There will always be change, accept that God is in charge and He will lead us.


  3. Thank you Bill for sharing this wisdom from God’s Word. May we continue to search the Word for wisdom and direction in our lives. As we trust God and seek to grow in Him, may we receive godly wisdom and encourage others to be open and receptive to opportunities to serve Christ in our world. We are blessed.

    Margaret Adams


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