For thousands of years men have been picking grapes and allowing them to ferment into wine. The first step in the process is picking the clusters and hauling them to a spot where they are crushed. The resulting “must” is then allowed to go through a violent fermentation process that can last from 14 to 21 days. At the end of this primary fermentation most of the sugar has been used up to produce carbon dioxide and alcohol.
Now as fermentation process begins to slow down, the skins, seeds and yeast all settle out onto the bottom as “lees”. It’s at this point that the sediment-free, clear “new wine” is racked off the lees and stored in secondary fermentation vessels. The wine at this stage is the wine that Jesus was referring to in the gospel of Luke 5:36-39.
“Then He spoke a parable to them: "No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, The old is better. "
So in this analogy, Jesus, uses the “old wine skins” to represent Judaism and the law. The “new wine skins” represent the new covenant that Jesus graciously came to the earth to make. After thousands of years of trying to keep the law and endless animal sacrifices now Jesus comes and sets all sinners free! It must have been difficult for Jews, living under the shadow of the law, to listen to Jesus discuss God’s grace and mercy.
Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it perfectly. In fact, He paid the sin debt that the law demands, for every man, woman and child ever born and who will ever be born. The joy that this truth produces cannot be contained in our old wine skins. You see, in the times that Jesus lived, it was the practice to use animal skins for holding and storing wine and other liquids.
As wine is moved into the secondary fermentation vessel, the new container needs to be flexible and able to expand to compensate for the carbon dioxide that will be given off. Putting new wine into old wine skins was a bad idea and would end up in disaster with all the new wine spilled out onto the ground.
Jesus actually begins developing this idea in Luke 5:12 where Jesus reaches out to touch a leper in order to heal him, which was forbidden by the law. Then in Luke 5:17 Jesus forgives a man his sin, in order to heal him, which was blasphemy and also against the law. The religious teachers of the law are now watching very closely as Jesus dines with sinners, which was something the religious upright would never consider doing.
It’s actually at this point in time that some of these religious leaders begin plotting on how to get rid of Jesus. He is bringing new wine but their old skins are just not able to contain the power of the Holy Spirit. The new wine of God’s grace and mercy is too wonderful; it’s too joyful to be shackled by law and what Judaism had made of it.
In Luke 6:1-5 the religious leaders watch as Jesus and His disciples pick and eat grains of wheat on the Sabbath. They accuse them of breaking the Sabbath law by harvesting and winnowing wheat in the palms of their hands. However, they actually got this one wrong, as it was permitted and allowed for in the law listed in Deuteronomy 23:24-25. Jesus doesn’t argue with them but reinforces His point “The Son of Man is also the Lord of the Sabbath.”
What’s so amazing to me is that these are the same men who prided themselves on knowing the law and didn’t recognize the One standing in front of them was the very One who wrote it in the first place. They held the law higher than the sufferings of people.
Jesus was proving to the world, by touching a leper, forgiving a man’s sin and eating with undesirables that the grace and mercy that He was giving to the world was a far better way to live then by the letter of the law.
The King of Glory left us with a gift, the Holy Spirit, who now lives inside of us, although, He can’t be contained in our old vessels. http://newwineoldwineskins.blogspot.com