By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
“Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you”
– Oswald Chambers
Jesus used some pretty original parables. All of them, in one form or another, would have been relatable to the people of the day. They would have understood the face value of Jesus’ stories, but many times they failed to see the deeper meaning. After all, Jesus told parables to fulfill the prophecy, “For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.”
But the fact of the matter is that I feel like today we can be at a disadvantage when it comes to understanding parables. Not only do we miss the deeper meaning, but sometimes we find it difficult to understand the historical context because we view it through modern lenses.
But parables were never meant to be easy to comprehend.
One of the parables that used to confuse me comes about in Mark 2. People came to Jesus and condemned Him with the question, “How is it that John’s disciples and the Pharisees are fasting right now, but your disciples are not?” It doesn’t seem right! How is that fair? Here we are trying to be righteous and fast and yet these people claiming to be people of God are feasting?
But Jesus responds with a short parable.
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins” (Mark 2:21-22).
What is Jesus saying here? He is saying that you wouldn’t want to put a patch of new cloth on an old piece of clothing. Because when you wash it, the patch will shrink and fall off, leaving an even bigger hole. And you don’t want to pour new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will bust open the skins and everything will be ruined.
He is saying, when Christ enters the picture, things are made new. Nothing is the same. When Christ enters someone’s life, they are a new creation. How can you try to hold them to old ideas or old perceptions? They are made new!
Even the worst of sinners is able to find new life in Christ. But sometimes we are guilty of pouring their new life into old wineskins. We know how bad they were. We know what they did. Maybe they hurt us or betrayed us. It’s hard to comprehend that Christ has made them new. But, we have to allow God to change our hearts to see them as He sees them.
God poured new wine into our old, tired, groaning wineskins and gave us new life. Give Him the liberty to do the same for other people and be thankful.