New Testament · Parables · Simple Truths

Parable Surprises – The New Wine

In our last post, we looked at the parable of The New Cloth, and noted that it was spoken within an inhale of this parable. Many parallels run through the two parables, like when and where it was spoke, to whom it was spoken and such.

This post will attempt to show some possible distinctions that may be of interest.

Let’s take a look at

The Parable of The New Wine

Matthew 9:17

17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

As mentioned in our introduction, we have a number of questions that will provide guidance in understanding each of these parables. Let’s review and delve into this parable

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

Matthews dinner guests, and those asking the question – John’s disciples, along with possibly some Pharisees. (See previous post for a few details)

When did the Lord give this parable?

During or after the meal with Matthew. (See previous post for a few details)

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

This parable was likely spoken in Capernaum, Matthews home town. (See previous post for a few details)

Why did the Lord give this message?

Changes are a comin’, as Bob Dylan used to sing, and never was this concept actualized more than during the time of Jesus among His people!

What was the message for the original audience?

This is the question that may supply some distinction between the two parables. The new cloth was a parable teaching of an external patch on an unyielding garment. This parable speaks of a growing medium in an unyielding container.

There is a difference.

Consider the stresses on a unyielding bag when the pressure exceeds its limitations! It is an instantaneous explosion. (Sorry ’bout that but I am an engineer, so I tend to go anal at times!). The Greek word used for “burst” in this passage actually may be translated as “break forth”. The wine is gonna break forth! The wineskins ain’t gonna hold it back.

At the very least, the useful wineskin becomes unusable. Both parables speak of the original garment/wineskin being destroyed, and the new patch/wine being wasted.

But the difference is also to be seen in the growth of the new medium. The wine grows (or ferments) and nothing stops it. The patch of new cloth actually shrinks in relation to the old garment, which creates the stresses leading to future tears. (Again with bringing up the pressure / stresses thing, Carl!)

In the first parable, the New Covenant is compared to a shrinking material (the new cloth), and in this parable (the new wine), the New Covenant is compared to a growing medium.

The ramifications are kinda interesting in my mind! Let’s consider in the next question.

What is the message for us today?

In some ways the New Covenant causes a shrinking of obligations (at least seemingly to the religious man).


Let me try to explain before you dismiss this thinking.

During the ministry of the Lord, the Sabbath became a huge issue between the Pharisees and the Master. Continually, the Master challenged the conventional wisdom of the currently accepted observance practices of the Sabbath. Check out my recent series Jesus on the Sabbath. It seems the Sabbath observance is an issue that is simplified in the New Covenant, that the Sabbath is a Person we can rest in. This is an incredible truth that I personally need to appropriate in my life.

The sabbath simpler, “smaller”? Kinda, but the reality is so much deeper!

One more example to consider.

For the first century church, much discussion was had over circumcision. To be in right relationship with the God of creation, the Old Testament directed the Jewish people to adopt circumcision as a sign of being the people of God. Many in the first century church fought to retain this obligation for the new covenant people of God, and yet the stories of the conversion of the Gentiles logically showed that physical circumcision did not make a difference. The New Covenant speaks of circumcision of the heart, and of the new life given to us a believers.

Physical circumcision simpler, “smaller”? Kinda, but the reality of heart circumcision is so much deeper.

Do you remember the time your heart was circumcised?


The New Covenant is a covenant that is alive, living via the life of the Living God. The Spirit of God is the “wine” in the believer (or globally, the church) that will not stop growing.

The believer (or church) will continually be challenged by the “new wine” of the Spirit of God to break out of old structures and religious restrictions that are constantly being laid upon and into their lives.

When was the last time you pushed a religious teaching out of your belief system (and subsequently out of you life) because the Word expanded your understanding?

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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.