The Parables of Jesus Christ: New Wine in Old Wineskins

By: Alan Harvey

Posted: January 13, 2018

Category: Daily Devotional

Scripture: Luke 5:37-38

If you have ever taken a bottle or a can of a carbonated beverage, and then shaken it vigorously, and then removed the cap or tab, then you know what is going to happen? That’s right the contents will spew forth like a volcano erupting – and pouring the soft drink over you and the sides of the container like lava cascading over the sides.

That childish prank may have had its forerunner in new wine being placed in old wineskins. Perhaps some caravan of travelers discovered what happened as the new fermenting wine filled old wineskins and was jostled about in the cargo. The old wineskin was not pliable as it once had been and in fact it had become hardened and dry. The new wine was filled with effervescence and within the old wineskin, the pressure was building. The wineskin continued bulging at the sides until it finally burst and the wine poured forth. The wineskin and the wine were both lost.

New wine is good, but old wine is better. New wine may be tasty, but it has not yet had the opportunity to mature. The new wine may be flavorful, but with age wine develops complexities so that the taste of the first sip differs greatly from the wine as it is savored.

Long ago in Sunday school the way we learned the stories of Jesus and the Bible was through flannel graphs, records and singing, a coloring page, and perhaps a verse to memorize. Many of us recall those days and how much we enjoyed those lessons. Today computers with Biblical software, the Rotation Workshop and even the One Room Sunday school are “the new wine,” which appeals to young people. They are different approaches … as different as old wine and wineskins and new wine and wineskins. It is important to recognize the value of both and to realize that while there have been true and trusted methods of teaching and learning in the past, we need to keep ourselves open to new ideas and methods of doing so today.


Lord Jesus, we confess that it is not easy to accept and adjust to change. We thank You for the parable of the New Wine and the Old Wineskins. Help us to value the past, enjoy the present and be open to the future as we follow You in the journey of faith. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.