Old Wineskins in a New Age

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Today is the day we mark the glorious resurrection of Jesus from the dead, in a higher and more pronounced way than we do every week. Every Sunday is resurrection Sunday, today is Resurrection Sunday.

Many Christians observe a Lenten fast up to this day, a custom we do not observe. While it is possible to do that in a good and edifying way, there are also reasons to be wary and cautious. Among those reasons is this—the resurrection is new wine, and new wine bursts old wineskins. When Jesus teaches on this subject, He expressly ties the old wineskins to a certain kind of fasting. He clearly identifies the older patterns of fasting with the old wineskins, and He teaches us that the new wine He is offering is utterly inconsistent with that kind of fasting (Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37). The problem was not the make of the wineskin, but rather the age in which it was made. The Lord doesn’t identify the problem as Pharisaical distortion, because He also includes the fasting of John the Baptist’s disciples.

At the same time, we do not want to fashion our own makeshift wineskin in the other direction, legalistically rejecting all fasts. The New Testament clearly shows that there are ways to fast that are fully consistent with this new wine (Acts 13:3; Acts 14:23; 2 Cor. 6:5). We should never pretend otherwise. So then, taking care to not return to the older order, taking care to rejoice in the new wine, we come to this Table in order to participate in an everlasting feast. So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

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