“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”
Jesus says these words in response to religious leaders who were questioning him because Jesus’ disciples were not fasting like other people were. They wondered why not, why are you different, why this new way of doing things? Why can’t you just be like everyone else?
But Jesus and his followers understood something others did not. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) To follow Jesus meant all was new. Most people struggle with new, we are much more willing to compromise, to take a little new with a lot of the old. We like to add some new things, but keep all the old stuff too. But Jesus anticipates this, and makes it clear, you don’t combine the two. New life in Jesus is new life. It does not mean you add a few new things like a patch or another layer to your life, but that all things are made new in Jesus.
2012 is a new year. It will be unlike 2011, and different than any other year you have lived before. We can handle this new reality in one of two ways. We can dig in our heels, and try to go back to the way it was, to complain about all that was, which is not very constructive, or we can explore the new reality of today. We can try to live in the past, or we can live in the present God has placed us in. We can think about what was, or we can live into all that God has blessed us with new.
Second Corinthians reminds you that the moment you say yes to God, you say yes to new. Yes to transformation, yes to change, yes to things not being like they always have been, and yes to life to the fullest in Jesus. Yes to new opportunities, new friendships, and new growth.
- What new has God placed in your life as we begin 2012?
- How might God be stretching you in a new way?
- What makes new most challenging for you?