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.” Mark 2:21-22
Jesus comes to make all things new. Not “slightly improved”. Not “minimally modified”. New.
But a new patch just doesn’t work with old cloth. New wine doesn’t go in old wineskins. When you try and fit the new thing Jesus is doing into the existing thing that is already there, the cloth and the wineskins are both destroyed.
What Jesus is pointing to with these two “mini-parables” from Mark 2 is the fact that he is coming, not to simply add himself to our already adequate life. But that when he comes, he is coming to completely wreck and remodel the Christian’s entire life.
Listen, if you want your nice, calm, quiet life to be left alone, then you should probably stay away from Jesus. If you do not want your calendar messed with… If you don’t want your finances completely rearranged… If you do not want your dinner table filled with people who might make you a bit uncomfortable… If you don’t want to be stretched… or dare I say it, if you don’t want to be completely and beautifully broken, then you better stay away from Jesus.
Because this Jesus that we see throughout Scripture… This is the Jesus that invites himself over for dinner, and there are “public sinners” present. This is the Jesus that starts holding a Bible study at your house and halfway through, folks start ripping the roof off. This is the Jesus that says “Follow me” and the next thing you know you’ve got sick and demon possessed people camping out all over your lawn. I mean come on, this is the Jesus who got Paul, a Jew among Jew, to eat bacon with Gentiles!
This is the same Jesus who takes a reserved, orderly, vanilla white boy from the country like me
and marries him to hot-blooded Puerto Rican woman like my lovely Latina bride.
And as God is doing all of this, he stands there with a huge smile on his face and he says in a kind, gracious, loving and glorious voice, “Hey ya’ll, watch this!” And the knowledge of the glory of the Lord fills the earth as the waters cover the sea. Jesus has come to make all things new!
Is Jesus making your life uncomfortable? Do you feel the strain of the cloth as it pulls against the patch? Is the wineskin of your existing life at the breaking point because of the new wine of Jesus’ teaching? Then stop trying to fit Jesus into our already existing structures. Simply surrender to His Lordship and the new and beautiful thing that He desires to do among us through the power of his gospel! You will likely be much more stretched, much less comfortable, and much more fulfilled.
A few of the guys from Bluff Park Community Church were up in Memphis together this week at the Kainos conference. (Do yourself a favor, go to their website, download the talks for the 2015 conference, pay the money and listen. Like, for real.)
We all drove up late Tuesday night and ended up getting to the hotel there around 10:30 or so. After getting all checked in, settled into the room, we finally went to bed sometime around midnight.
The next morning, the alarm goes off and my roommate Jesse gets up to go and hop in the shower. After a minute or two he comes back out just kind of chuckling. There was no shower curtain in our bathroom! So he calls downstairs to the front desk to see about getting one brought up to us.
The ladies response at the front desk was almost as entertaining as the situation we found ourselves in. She said, “Well, um, house keeping ain’t here yet. But I guess I can bring you a bunch of towels and you can ‘just let it do what it do’.”
We need Christ in us, the hope of glory to just “do what it do” among us. We need Christ in us, the hope of glory to spill over into our relationship with our spouses, to overflow into our parenting, to spill over into the cubicle next to us at work, to run into the neighbors house or dorm room next door, to the other kids and families on our kids sports team, to the guys or girls on our intramural teams. We need our schedules and our checkbooks and our priorities and our thinking and our hopes and our dreams to be completely wrecked, rearranged and reset by Jesus.
Jesus Christ comes, and He is not interested in fitting into our existing systems or categories or paradigms. He does not put a new patch on old cloth or new wine in old wineskins. Jesus comes to make all things new, to reorient our lives in their entirety around Him. And our prayer as a Christian people living out the implications of the gospel in community should be for our King Jesus to come and for Him to continually “do what He do” both in us and through us.