Mark 2:18-22 (NIV)
Jesus Questioned About Fasting
18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?” 19 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. 21 “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. 22 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.”
How has the new wine of Jesus burst some of your old wineskins?
Lord, I have never really had an appreciation for the spiritual discipline of fasting. I know that fasting with the right motives can result in a deep connection with You. But any spiritual discipline is ineffective when it is part of a legalistic, self-righteous, ritualistic religious practice. Your example of the wineskins made me think about what wineskins had to do with spiritual disciplines. When wine is new, and still fermenting, it bubbles and expands as gases are released. A fresh, pliable wineskin can absorb the expansion and slowly age with the wine until the fermentation process is complete. The old wineskin has assumed a definite shape and is no longer pliable. It is fixed and somewhat brittle. The activity of new wine will stress it beyond its ability to yield. And so both the wine and the skin are lost. In the above passage, the “new wine” represents the new covenant of Your resurrection power. It broke the traditions of the law. The Pharisees were stuck in traditions, customs, rituals, and biases and held onto their old understanding of the Law that was unpliable. Lord help me to get rid of any legalistic and self-righteous thinking and start fresh with Your gospel of grace. I pray that as Your Spirit bubbles up inside of me I continue to expand and grow in my faith and witness. Help me to replace old patterns of behavior with new ones and use them to permanently transform my life. Help me to recognize when You are wanting to do something new in my life, in my church, or in the world. Help me to not cling to my old comfortable ways of doing things and be locked into what my ideas of what my life should look like. Instead, let me be willing to let go of old ways of doing things so that You can stretch me and grow me into the vision You have for me. Use me for Your Glory. Amen.