Reading Mark 2:18-22 is a window into what happens to one’s soul when religious duty becomes the goal rather than open-hearted relationship with the Heavenly Father. In this passage we see 1) the priority of Jesus’ table fellowship with sinners, and 2) the futility of religious practices apart from becoming a new creation through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Here is the account of Jesus addressing a question about fasting that as it turns out was really a question about salvation.
Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”
If you Wonder What the Dominant Cultural Views Were at Jesus’ Time, Just Look at the Things Jesus Regularly Resisted and You’ll See Them
In this account we see some of the core dominant views of the Jews of Jesus’ day, in particular the teachers of the Law. As we consider the ways Jesus resisted them, we begin to understand more fully just how problematic their practices were. If you ever want to know what the dominant and wayward cultural philosophies of Jesus’ day were, look at the things He regularly resisted.
For example, in the parable of the new wine, Jesus shows how silly it is to think that adding moral behavior or religious practices to someone’s life who has not yet put their full trust in Him will only create a real mess in their life, and extreme confusion over what it means to belong to Christ through the sufficiency of His grace alone: “No”, He says, “pour new wine into new wineskins.”
Good to the Last Drop
Before surrendering to Jesus Christ fully, a person is an old wineskin. His old nature is full of himself which isn’t really fulfilling at all as it turns out. But the person who humbles himself and says to Jesus Christ, “fill me with Yourself” will in fact be filled with the “new wine”… and he will have begun a journey with Jesus similar to the process wine goes through when it is poured into its new skin. The people of Jesus’ day would have gotten the point, that the narrow way of Jesus Christ is good, better, and best all the way around… down to the last drop.
- What do you think Jesus would resist or speak out against today in your world?
- Jesus used an analogy from creation about how wine ferments and bloats a wineskin to explain the reality of becoming a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and entering into relationship with God. Consider what dominant cultural views you think should be confronted today and go outdoors like Jesus did, and look for an analogy from nature to explain what you want to face.
- Try sharing your creation analogy with someone you trust and get feedback. How might you use an awareness of the dominant cultural values and an awareness of object lessons in God’s Creation to improve your ability to teach others and communicate biblical truth?
- Please comment below and send me your ideas you come up with. Thanks!