old clothes. sour wine.

No one uses a new piece of cloth to patch old clothes. The patch would shrink and tear a bigger hole. No one pours new wine into old wineskins. The wine would swell and burst the old skins. Then the wine would be lost, and the skins would be ruined. New wine must be put into new wineskins. Both the skins and the wine will then be safe. [Matthew 9:16-17 CEV

Why do you think Jesus compares old and new clothes or old wineskins with new wine?
Is it to illustrate how there are differences in the old and new covenants?
Is he saying that the religious practices of the Pharisees have no place in the new covenant?

Firstly, I think that he is not saying that disciplines like fasting are irrelevant.
But he does seem to be saying that ritualistic rites like fasting are a part of the old covenant.
It speaks to me of how the new covenant is not a patch for the old but a replacement of it.

On a very personal and practical level, I understand the challenge of new things.
Many of us really love our old clothes and are not happy when fashions change.
So it is when new music or new liturgies are introduced in worship services.

In reality, I think that we can be as stubborn as the Pharisees when it comes to change.
We are happy with our old clothes and old wineskins and do not want new things.
We find ourselves fighting the Holy Spirit's work in our lives instead of embracing it.

In the end, God wants to proverbially pour new, fresh and delicious wine into our lives.
The old wine has gone sour. Our old clothes are worn and faded. It is time to change.
In this sense, the blessed New Covenant can be new every new day.

Lord, help me to recognized those old wineskins in my life.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.


  1. Great thoughts. I have been thinking about the old and new wineskins since reading it the other day. I came to the same idea, that when the new has come (the Christian age), the old is no longer used. I mostly realte this to the new heart that we are to have. The old heart depended on the law and my righteousness, the new one depends on Christ and His righteousness. Going back to the old ways will only spoil the wine.

  2. Excellent devotional, and I'm so glad you always add a personal application to the passage.

    If we don't apply the Word, it doesn't do us much good.. Knowledge without practice, dead.


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