LUKE 5:36-39 And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
"And He Spake"For those of us who love the truth, we find ourselves extremely fortunate to still hear what "He spake" from ages past. This is undoubtedly the greatest miracle we could hope for, for when Yeshua (Jesus) spake, He spake the "words of eternal life". But for the others, those who have "turned away their ears from the truth", what He spake is a stumbling stone and a rock of offence. Truth does not make them free but it does expose their snare. Unto them "He spake" in parables but unto us His words are "spirit, and they are life".
This parable in chapter 5 of Luke's Gospel reveals a Yeshua that is most certainly not in step with the religious leaders of His day. Three times in this chapter, as He taught and healed the ordinary people, the religious leaders "reasoned in their hearts" and "murmured against His disciples" and "said unto Him, why...?"
"And he spake also a parable unto them"
What truth was Yeshua concealing from some but revealing to others with this parable? What did He mean about taking a patch from a new garment and putting it on an old one, how that no one would do this because then the new garment would not agree with the old? What did He mean by saying that no one would put new wine into old skins or bottles because the fermentation of the new wine would burst the skins? He was not talking to 20th Century Westerners who may not of understood such things. His audience was 1st Century Easterners who knew full well the unfortunate results of such acts.
For those who have ears to hear, this simple parable is quite alarming. He was answering the "doctors of the law" with an ancient truth. He was teaching that just as one does not put a new patch on old clothing nor new wine into old skins, new truth is not placed into established religions, else "the new agreeth not with the old" and the "bottles shall perish". No! New wine, new truth, new revelations "must" be put into new bottles, into new ministries.
There are literally hundreds of different interpretations of the Scriptures and thousands of different persuasions Christian men and women join themselves to, yet we have only one Book, one Bible. Where have all these opinions upon HIS Holy Word come from? How do we navigate through them to the truth? I have long been amazed about how so many different theologies can originate from one book. Perhaps an answer is found here in this parable in LUKE 5?!
Is it not reasonable that GOD could reveal a great truth to some servant, resulting in such a following of that man, that after his passing others would make a Church, a dogma, even a religion of that servant's teachings? Have we not to this day the Lutherans, the Calvinists and the Wesleyans? I doubt if it can be argued very successfully that these men did not have powerful ministries, yet after they died some others carried on where perhaps GOD had not intended their ministry to go.
Carnal men have long found it profitable to build upon "other men's labors". The revelation which one man may receive, another takes, and with whatever teaching attracts those with "itching ears" he gathers a following to himself. When all is finished, that grain of truth GOD's servant may have began with, has now become a tangled mess of rites, rituals, traditions and ceremonies.
In LUKE chapter five Yeshua makes an end of speaking by admonishing them that, "no man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new". In other words, if one has been eating from the table of the established religions, the doctrines of His time or ours, then that man will not immediately accept new truth, for, saith he, "the old is better". Once one has become comfortable in his persuasion, he will not readily consider new ideas. The longer one proclaims that the way he was taught is right the less likely he will be to consider new truth. His heart has become hard. He has become so immersed within what he believes truth to be, that to consider it otherwise threatens to fracture his whole foundation. Unfortunately, when one fervently believes he is right when he is not, he is just beyond reach of being taught more perfectly.
Straightway or immediately was the word Yeshua used. One immediately does not desire the new but eventually he may. It depends on his heart, for a hard heart is one that will not allow itself to consider another perspective. Some mistake this as a badge to wear proudly amongst their piers. They think that because they have never wavered from their beliefs they are strong, and in that, hope or expect that they might someday be rewarded for what they think is faithfulness. Rather, faithfulness to the truth is what earns rewards. To pursue the truth and not allow your family, friends or Church to dissuade you is the sign of real strength. This takes great courage, for to step out of the camp, to be a true pilgrim, may bring upon you the ridicule and condemnation of those you thought were your trusted friends. It is not just faithfulness that is so important, but rather it is faithfulness to continually change to the truth that is critical.
This is why Yeshua's ministry was rejected. They clung savagely with hard hearts to their traditions, "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men". They wouldn't even consider the truth their Messiah taught. But that was not altogether surprising, and this is the great lesson for us here. Stephen asked the council in ACTS 7, "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted" just before they were "cut to the heart and gnashed on him with their teeth" and "stopped their ears, and ran upon him ¦and stoned him". The enemy was always there to slander those that spake the truth, then after their demise, to martyr them as great saints, only to lead away as captives their followers, by taking upon themselves "a form of godliness", even as an "angel of light". Paul's second Epistle to the Corinthians makes us aware that some were indeed "false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ".
Throughout the Bible we can see this pattern repeat itself over and over. GOD reveals a new truth to HIS servant, then after their passing others inherit his work, watering down the truth and selling it as a commodity. Each ministry, each Church will probably have at least a grain of truth. They need some truth else the snare would be without enticement. But where does the truth end and the "doctrines of men" begin. How much of the truth revealed to GOD's servants over the ages has been watered down or cloaked in error?
It is quite astounding when one first realizes the actual thrust of Yeshua's ministry. What were the points He drove home time and again? He didn't teach on prayer but only a few times. And occasionally but not often did He teach on love. Of course He performed miracles and healed many but how often did He teach on those things? Rarely.
As one reads the Gospels, a theme repeats itself over and over. At nearly every opportunity to preach and teach, He invested His limited time in reproving hypocrisy and deceit. Oftentimes He would start out on some particular topic, and then into a blasting reproof of the religious leaders He would go. "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" "Ye hypocrites ¦teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." "Ye are of your father the devil...for he is a liar and the father of it."
Sure, He taught parables, but what were His parables about? The enemy that sowed, the wicked husbandmen, the Good Samaritan and the priest that passed by on the other side. The vast majority of His teaching, of His very ministry, was the vital importance of an accurate knowledge of the Scriptures and the great efforts of the enemy to cloak that truth.
"thy word is truth"
Yeshua's very essence was "the Word made flesh!" Who He was He learned from the Scriptures. Who His Father was He learned from the Scriptures. Even why His Father had sent Him, He learned from the Scriptures.
He rejected the devil's temptations by quoting the Scriptures. Over and over He reproved Israel for rejecting the Scriptures. He rebuked His disciples for not believing "all that the prophets said should come".
Page after page, chapter after chapter and verse after verse He reproved Israel's leadership for after having "taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered". "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not." Walking upon a grave defiled a Judean, even if it was unmarked and he didn't realize it. Jesus was accusing the scribes and Pharisees of defiling the people by fooling them into thinking that the things they were teaching were truth.
This group of short studies will give the reader a gathering of opinions to consider. It is for him to measure them, if he will, by the Scriptures. Some of these opinions may at casual glance appear radical, and the reader may very well say with Nicodemus, "How can these things be?" But just because something is not accepted by the great majority does not make it untrue. Actually, I have found the opposite to be the case. The few usually have glimpsed the truth, while the many resist it.
If you believe GOD manages our Universe, then you must acknowledge he has allowed this study to come into your possession. Is it to strengthen your preconceived understandings by rejecting what is offered here? Or is it on the other hand to turn what you have thought to be the truth, upside down?
ACTS 17:6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.