New Coats and New Wine -- Dr. Robert Richardson
A brand new year started this week. And for most of us, we began the year with resolutions regarding what we plan to do differently. We want to begin again.
Included in the Good News of Jesus Christ is a continuing story of beginning again. Jesus frequently invited individuals to start their lives over again. Some did. The disciples were examples. Many others did not. The rich young ruler and the Pharisees were not interested.
The question is, “Why?” What was the problem with those who did not want an opportunity to begin again? Perhaps the answer can be found in a story recorded in Luke 5:33-39.
Some people wanted to know why Jesus’ disciples were not as religious as John’s followers nor as the Pharisees. The contrast was prayer and fasting for the traditionally religious versus eating and drinking for the disciples of Christ.
Jesus responds with how difficult it is to discard an old, torn, and unusable coat. An old coat does not need a new patch. Not only will the patch not fit, it will not look right. The owner needs a new coat.
He illustrates further by referencing new wineskins for new wine. The problem is not the newly fermenting wine. It is a conscious decision to pour the new wine into old, dried up, and fragile wineskins. In so doing, both are lost. New wineskins are needed.
Now we have our clue. For some in Jesus’ day, the old way of religious practice is not only better, it must be continued.
Jesus' parables about trying to sew new cloth onto an old coat, and putting new wine into old wineskins are most relevant to our venture into a New Year.
This year is going to be new and different in many ways for First Baptist. Already a transitional lead pastor is in place. The church has just decided on an interim preaching minister. And most likely, we will call a new pastor to serve First Baptist sometime this year.
Along with these changes will come new ideas, new programs, new emphases, perhaps some new organizational structures, and maybe new committees and servant teams.
The key concept is the ability to be flexible. Presenting someone new or suggesting new ideas should garner very careful scrutiny by the church. At the same time, there comes a time to discard old, unusable programs and sew together some new opportunities.
As we walk into this really new year for First Baptist, may our prayers and our ability to reason walk side by side for the Glory of God.
Welcome to a New Year at First Baptist!