The Making of New Wine Skins


Ravi Zacharias says that “the desire of God is to prepare the wine skins for the pouring of the new wine”. He says this in a two-part interview and which he focuses on the question “Has Christianity Failed You?”

We are the wine skins God desires to prepare. When we are born again (from above), we are born of the Spirit.[1] Paul says we become new creations: “the old has passed away; behold the new has come”.[2] But Jesus says we need new wine skins to contain the new wine (of the Spirit).[3]

We often have a very anthropomorphic view of God. Many of us come to God through our own desires and wants and needs. That isn’t wrong. Jesus invites us to come. He invites us to seek and to knock and to ask. He tells us that a good father will not give his child a stone when his child asks for a fish. God expects us to come to him for our needs and even our desires.

However we can’t remain in that posture and grow into the kingdom of God. We can’t remain in the position of asking God only for our own wants and needs and grow in newness of life. We need to transition and mature into the new wine skin God desires us to be.

Ravi Zacharias talks about  Jesus’ prayer life. He would often retire to desolate places or mountains or other remote places where he would spend full nights in prayer with the Father. He did this before He went to the cross. Jesus is an example to us in his prayer life.

I just got done reading in Luke 6 how Jesus went to the mountain and prayed all night. He did this right before the Sermon on the Mount and right before He chose twelve of His disciples as apostles. He came away from an all-night prayer session making a critical decision and preaching perhaps his most famous sermon.

The prayer time that Jesus had with the Father that night was not likely about his own needs and wants. We know by the actions that He took and the things that He said that He was praying about things much deeper and more significant than that. He was praying about the choice of twelve men He would disciple to follow Him, and he was praying about what the Father would have Him speak to the crowds.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray in a particular way to our Father. That prayer includes a request to God to give us our daily bread, but that is only one portion of the prayer He taught.

The rest of the prayer includes recognition of God the Father in His heavenly authority. It continues with praise for His holy name, and prayer for God’s kingdom to come and God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. It includes a segment on our relationships with others, asking God to forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. It includes prayer for help in overcoming temptation and prayer for delivery from evil.

Just from Jesus’ own prayer life and from the prayer He taught us, we see that we must press on past our own needs and wants to learn who God is, to increase in our knowledge of God and our relationship to Him, to grow in our understanding of His perfect Will and of His kingdom, to develop a right relationship to God and to the people around us and to stand strong against temptation and sin.

Ravi Zacharias says that the instruction and example of Jesus demonstrates that prayer is more about developing relationship with God and understanding the will of the Father than it is about our own needs and desires.

In fact Jesus tells us not to be concerned about our own needs, as God will take care of us as he does the lilies in the field and the birds of the air.[4]

Ravi Zaccharias suggests that we are often disappointed with God when we are focused on the wrong things. When we are focused on our own needs and desires, more than God’s will and relationship with God, we are bound to be disappointed.

But God desires to prepare new wineskins for the new wine. God has a purpose in the lives that we live and even in the disappointments that we feel. God is stretching us and making us pliable so that when the new wine comes, we are able to receive it and to hold it and to partake in the newness of life that is promised to us.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[1] John 3:3-6 “Jesus answered him, “’Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again [from above] he cannot see the kingdom of God.’  Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”)

[2] 2 Corinthians 5:17 (“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”)

[3] Mark 2:21-22 (“No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”

[4] Matthew 6:26-33 (“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”)

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