Are You Ready For Something New?

Bible Book: Luke  5 : 36-39
Subject: New Year; New Things; Resolutions


Forbes magazine posted an article online this week entitled “A Brand New Year”. The article was about New Year’s resolutions, and it opened by saying:

“…although it’s fair to say that New Year’s resolutions go in one year and out the other, people who make resolutions are ten times more likely to change than those who don’t actively make a resolution.”

The article went on to point out that forty percent of those who make resolutions are usually still successful after six months.[i]

With the dawning of a New Year, many people are filled with hope that the coming year will somehow be better and different from the one that has just ended. Perhaps you have started the New Year with a desire for something different. Maybe you are one of the millions of people with a couple of resolutions you hope to keep? I want to ask you, however, are you really ready for something new? Are you ready for real change that will truly alter your life?

Though Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, He always seeks to radically and continually change those who follow Him.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Jesus is the One who in the end will declare, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Rev. 21:5) His gospel puts to death the old man and then calls us to “…put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” (Col. 3:10)

Yet, most people are not really ready for the kind of newness and change that Jesus wants to bring. We find an example of this in our text in Luke 5. The religious leaders of that day were bothered by how differently Jesus and His disciples behaved and lived. To answer them, Jesus gave the parables of the cloth and the wineskins, or “bottles” as it’s translated here.

Dr. Ivor Powell said that these verses are a “goldmine”.[ii] Having studied them, I agree.

As we consider the words of Jesus here, I want to ask you some questions that I think can help us to find out whether or not you are really ready for something new in this new year. First of all, I want to ask you this:


For many folks, especially some Baptists, change is a four-letter word. Change is hard and uncomfortable. And yet, when something new comes very often it brings with it changes. This was certainly the case when Jesus’ ministry collided with the old, Jewish system of religion. Steeped in their traditions, Jesus seemed like an innovator and inciter that threatened their way of life. And they were right. In much the same way, Jesus can threaten the way of life that we grow used to living. As the Holy Spirit conforms us to the image of Christ, we find old, familiar things being put to death, and new ones taking their place. These changes can be any number of things in our lives, some of which we may even resist. That was what happened in the context of this parable.

Notice with me the new changes that were resisted in that day, and how they might apply to us. For one thing, Jesus brought:

A. Changes in relationships

The parables of the cloth and the wineskins were really prompted by a conversation that began back in verse 30. Luke writes, “But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?”

Jesus had been invited to a party at the home of Levi, otherwise known as Matthew, who had recently joined up with the Lord and His disciples. At the party was an assortment of people that would have been classified, at least by a devout Jewish person, as the scum of the earth. The religious leaders couldn’t figure out why someone like Jesus would have anything to do with that sort of crowd. Unlike Jesus, they wouldn’t have been caught dead with a seedy, sinful bunch like that. Jesus explained that the healthy don’t need a doctor, and that He had come to save that very sort of sinful people.

You see; the scribes and Pharisees liked the group of people they normally ran around with. It was a crowd they were comfortable with and made them feel good about themselves. Yet, Jesus was saying that those old ties and relationships were something He wasn’t interested in.

I wonder; what if in this New Year Jesus wants to break up some of the relationships in your life and start some new ones? And what if those relationships are not the same kind of friends you now have; you know, people who are like you, and don’t make you feel uncomfortable.

We as Christians have been called to carry the gospel to everyone, and that means people you don’t know, and might not even like. Would you resist the Lord Jesus shaking up your social circle, and pushing you out into some new and different relationships?

Consider another change that Jesus was bringing in this text. Not only were there changes in relationships, but He was also bringing:

B. Changes in routines

After the religious crowd questioned the kind of people that Jesus was hanging out with, they then brought another question regarding His religious practices.

Look at verse 33. They asked, “…Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?”

The religious crowd of that day, and apparently the disciples of John the Baptist, held to a strict regimen of fasting and prayers. They would pray at specific times each day (usually where everyone could see them), and they would fast at least two days a week. But here was Jesus and His disciples feasting it up with a bunch of sinners. His routine was radically different from theirs. Jesus explained to them that while He was with His disciples, it was something like a wedding feast. He was the bridegroom, and they were celebrating with Him. There would come a time when His disciples would need to fast, but it was not then.

The scribes and Pharisees loved their religious routines. It made them feel good about themselves and their man-made righteousness. They didn’t like somebody just dismissing all of that.

What about you? What if the Lord Jesus wanted to change your routine? What if He wanted to start you in a whole new practice and pattern? The truth is, we too easily fall into a routine of life, and without even realizing it we grow comfortable and complacent in it. Like the religious leaders of old, there may be fresh joy waiting for us, but we are too stuck in our rut to see it, or even want it.

The Lord Jesus may very well have something new for you, but it will require change. Are you willing to change?

There is a second question we draw from this text. I ask you not only, will you resist the changes of the new, but also secondly:


We come now to the interesting pair of parables that Jesus gave at the close of this chapter. Let me paraphrase them.

Jesus said, “No one takes a new garment and cuts of piece out of it to mend an old garment. The new one would be ruined, and the old one won’t match.”

Then he said, “Also, no one pours fresh grape juice into an old wineskin. When that wine starts to ferment, it will burst the old wine skin, and both the wine and the bottle will be lost.”

In that day liquids were often stored in animal skins. When wine was first poured into those skins it would stretch them, but that stretching would only go so far. That was the picture Jesus painted. Now, what in the world did He mean by this, and moreover, how does it apply to us?

Jesus was pointing to the challenge that something new, like the gospel, poses for something old, like the religion of the Jews.

Consider the point He made here. For one thing, He taught that:

 A. You can’t just patch in the new

The religious leaders protested the things that Jesus and His disciples were doing, and said, “Why don’t you do it like we do it?”

Jesus recognized that the gospel of grace was totally contrary to the works-based system of these men. The two could never be merged into one. You couldn’t take a little gospel and just add it to Judaism.

In a very similar way, we can’t try to patch a little Jesus into our lives. You can’t add a little gospel along with your old sinful ways and think it will work out fine.

Jesus is not a vitamin you take along with your meal to help you feel better and live better. He is the meal itself - the Bread of Life!

I fear that too many in this day want to sew a patch of the gospel onto the garment of their old life. They want enough Jesus to close the whole in their conscience, but not enough to clothe them fully in righteousness.

And yet, Jesus hasn’t come to decorate the old you. He has come create a whole new you, in His image and His likeness.

Which leads me to the second half of this pair of parables, where we learn not only that you can’t just patch the new in, but also:

B. You can’t just pour in the new

Look at the text and notice verses 37 and 38. Jesus said, “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.”

Imagine if the Jewish religious leaders had said, “Ok, we are ready for this new way you are preaching. Give it to us.”

The truth is they still would not have gotten it. Their hearts were not ready for the truth, and they could not have handled it. What they needed were new hearts that could hold the new wine of the gospel. One writer put it this way. He said, “Jesus knew that He would need new men for the new message.”[iii]

The gospel is not just information that we share with someone; scriptural data that we pour into their heads. The gospel is a miracle message that requires the work of the Holy Spirit to make it known.

But 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “…the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

The point of the parable is that Jesus must completely change you from the inside out. He wants to change your heart and its desires and affections, preparing it for the new life He saved you to live. You can’t be filled with the newness of the gospel without becoming a new kind of vessel all together. You say you want something new this year, but are you ready to become something new yourself? New wine won’t work in the old wineskin of your heart! You can’t just pour it in without a heart ready to receive it!

The Psalmist understood this, and prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

Based on this passage I ask you, will you resist the changes of the new? Will you recognize the challenges of the new? Thirdly, I ask you this:


Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell us about the parables Jesus shared here, but only Luke includes the statement we find in verse 39.

Jesus said, “No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.”

I love this verse because I believe it points to how it is sometimes difficult for us to receive the newness that Jesus brings, but we nonetheless must choose to let Him have His way in our lives.

To choose to receive the new wine that Jesus wants to give you, there are a couple of things you’ll have to overcome. For one thing, you must choose to receive it:

A. In spite of the preference you feel

Look again at our Lord’s words in verse 39. He said, “No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.”

Jesus looked at those religious fellows and said, “I know you don’t want to drink what I have come to give. You have been drinking your old wine a long time, and you like it. You are used to it.”

Jesus recognized that these men were comfortable with their religious system. It pleased them and appeased them. They had no appetite for something new. In much the same way, we may grow comfortable with things the way they are in our lives. We may develop a preference for the old wine of life we have been drinking. But Jesus offers a new wine that is made with living water! He longs to bring about changes in us that will be for our good in the long run, even if we don’t immediately crave them.

I am a Coca-Cola man. I have no desire for Pepsi. When a waitress at a restaurant asks, “Will Pepsi be ok?” I usually just take tea instead. Now the truth is, I don’t really have anything against Pepsi. It doesn’t taste like garbage or anything. I am just used to Coke, and if I have my druthers, I’ll take a Coke and a smile. It’s brand loyalty.

Some of you have developed a brand loyalty to your way of life. You like it pretty much the way it is. But the gospel is a call to be renewed day by day, and to be gradually but consistently molded into the image of Jesus. And the Bible calls us to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in this by submitting to His sanctifying work in us. In other words, you must choose the new in spite of any preference you feel for the old.

Looking at verse 39, we are taught that we must receive the choice of the new not only in spite of the preference you feel, but also:

B. In spite of the process you face

In verse 39, there is a very important word. It is the word translated “straightway”. Jesus said, “No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.” Though some of the new translations omit it, there is a word in that verse that literally means “immediately”.

Jesus said, “I know that having drunk the old wine for so long, you will not immediately want to try the new.”

The indication is that the new wine at first won’t taste as good as the old, but that over time, the new wine will become more palatable and desirable. There is a reminder here that the Christian life is a process. It is a process of hearing the call of Christ, choosing to follow Him in spite of how it hard it may be, only to find in the end that His way was best!

Jesus says, “Take up your cross!” Yet that cross is heavy and hard. We say, “But Lord, I don’t want to carry that old thing around. It gives me splinters and buckles my knees.” But in obedience to our Lord’s call, we take up the cross, and we find that in losing our life for His sake, we have actually found it. We find that in dying to ourselves we can truly live!

In this coming year, Jesus may call you to something that at first leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Yet, if you will choose to obey His call, you will somewhere find that new wine is sweet to your taste and better than the old wine ever was.

My dad was raised up in the mountains of western North Carolina, where winters could be hard. He told me of a year when the snow was so deep they had to helicopter food into certain areas. When I was growing up in Chattanooga, I remember my dad talking about how much he hated the snow. He said one time that he was “praying for global warming.” Well, this week he sent me a picture of four foot snow drifts in South Dakota where he now lives and works as a missionary. I reminded him of his hatred for snow. He texted back, “Loving every minute of it.”

Jesus comes to make all things new in our lives. The process of that newness may take a while, but if we will receive it rather than resist it, in time we will learn to love every minute of it.

I saw a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip that showed young Calvin saying to Hobbes, “Resolutions? Me?? Just what are you implying? That I need to change? Well, buddy, as far as I’m concerned, I’m perfect the way I am!”

Hopefully, all of us recognize that we are far from perfect the way we are. Even those of us who know Christ, know we often believe a better gospel than we live. Yet, Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant, and the one who has opened up for us a new and better way, has come to make all things new, starting with us, His people.

Will you let Him? Are you really ready for something new?

[i]Passikoff, Robert, “A Brand New Year”, 1/2/13,, accessed 1/3/13,

[ii] Powell, Ivor, Luke’s Thrilling Gospel, (Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, 1984), p. 136

[iii]Ibid, p. 137