The New Wineskins



Matthew 9.17 - Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

The chemistry of this teaching discusses that the bottles are those made of hides partly tanned, and retaining, to a great extent, the form of the living animals. These bottles, as they grew dry with age, became very liable to crack, and were unable to resist the pressure of the fermenting liquor. If the mistake were made, the bottles were broken, and the wine poured out. It becomes more like pouring hot boiling water into a ceramic mug or cup - It would burst out.

When we interpret the parable, we see at once that *the “new wine” represents the inner, as the garment did the outer, aspect of Christian life,* the new energies and gifts of the Spirit, which, as on the day of Pentecost, were likened to new wine (Acts 2:13).

In dealing with men, our Lord did not bestow these gifts suddenly, even on His own disciples, more like He imposed rules of life for which men were not ready. Luke adds, as before, a new aspect of the illustration: “No man having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.”

This means that so far you’re old, you’d still prefer things in your old.

Anyone who’s new would prefer a new.

John was at this time in prison; his circumstances, his character, and the nature of the message he was sent to deliver, led those who were peculiarly attached to him, to keep frequent fasts.

This is the history of the bottles.

Bottles, in Eastern nations, were made, and are still made, of skins of beasts. Generally, the skin was taken entire from a sheep or a goat, and, properly prepared, was filled with wine or water. Such bottles are still used, because, in crossing deserts of sand, they have no other conveyances but camels, or other beasts of burden. It would be difficult for them to carry glass bottles or kegs on them. They therefore fill two skins, and fasten them together and lay them across the back of a camel, and thus carry wine or water to a great distance. By long usage, however, bottles of skins became tender and would be easily ruptured.

New wine put into them would ferment, and swell and burst them open. New skins or bottles would yield to the fermenting wine, and be strong enough to hold it from bursting.

So, says Christ, there is "fitness" or propriety of things. It is not "fit" that my doctrine should be attached to or connected with the old and corrupt doctrines of the Pharisees. New things should be put together, and made to match.

As in the former parable, our Lord exposes the foolishness of the Scribes and Pharisees, in their zealous attachment to the traditions of the elders; so in this, he gives a reason why he did not call these persons by his Gospel, who were settled upon the old principle of self-righteousness, but sinners, whom he renews by his Spirit and grace: *for by "old bottles" are meant, the Scribes and Pharisees.

The allusion is to bottles, made of the skins of beasts, which in time decayed, waxed old, and became unfit for use: such were the wine bottles, old and rent, the Gibeonites brought with them, and showed to Joshua, Joshua 9:4 and to which the Psalmist compares himself, Psalm 119:83.

Now the Scribes and Pharisees may be signified by these old bottles, *being natural men, no other than as they were born; having never been regenerated, and renewed in the spirit of their minds;* in whom the old man was predominant, were mere formal professors of religion, and self-righteous persons.

And by "new wine" is meant, either *the love and favour of God* compared to wine, *that is neat and clean*, because free from hypocrisy in him; to generous wine, for its cheering and reviving effects; and to new wine, not but that it is very ancient, even from *everlasting,* but, because *newly manifested*, in the effectual calling and conversion: or the Gospel is signified by wine, for *its purity, good flavour, and pleasant taste; for its generous effects, in reviving drooping spirits, refreshing weary persons, and comforting distressed minds.*

By new wine, *not that it is a new doctrine*, an upstart notion, for it is an ancient Gospel, *but because newly and more clearly revealed by Christ and his apostles: or the blessings of grace which spring from the love of God, and are manifested in the Gospel*,

such as pardon of sin, reconciliation and atonement, justifying and sanctifying grace, spiritual joy and peace, and the likes.

We had all these, but they were never stemmed from grace.

That is, we had to pay for them. They had to give something to get a pardon of sun, reconciliation and atonement, etc.

But now, we have Grace! The Truth! Glory!😃

But they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

By "new bottles" are meant *sinners, whom Christ calls by his grace, and the Spirit regenerates and renews, who are made new creatures in Christ; who have new hearts, and new spirits, and new principles of light, life, love, faith, and holiness, implanted in them; who have new eyes to see with, new ears to hear with, new feet to walk with, to and in Christ, new hands to work and handle with, and who live a new life and conversation.*

Now to such as these, the love of God is manifested and shed abroad in their hearts; by these, the Gospel of Christ is truly received and valued, and these enjoy the spiritual blessings of it; and so both the doctrine of the Gospel, and the grace of God, are preserved entire, and these persons saved in the day of Christ.

Now, we have been able to explain the new wine and the new bottle (wineskins).

In conclusion, our main focus on earth is to come as new wineskins to God and make others new wineskins so they can take in the new wine.

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