Mark 2:22 CEV
No one pours new wine into old wineskins. The wine would swell and burst the old skins. Then the wine would be lost, and the skins would be ruined. New wine must be put into new wineskins.
This was Jesus’ response to those questioning Him about His disciples who had not been fasting like John’s disciples and the Pharisees. He further explained that His own disciples will fast, when He is taken away from them. Indeed, He was taken away but His disciples were not left comfortless or without a guide – we received the Holy Spirit. Every person who comes to believe receives a new nature, a new operating system, the old order of things pass away and give way to a new regime.
John 5:24 CEV
I tell you for certain that everyone who hears my message and has faith in the one who sent me has eternal life and will never be condemned. They have already gone from death to life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 CEV
Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.
The sinful nature (old wineskin) dies and the believer is mended and fixed…brand as new (new wineskin); ready to be filled.
Why didn’t the Holy Spirit begin filling Christ’s disciples while Christ was still around? At least Christ was filled and the Holy Spirit was already in existence and in operation.
God was patient and in no rush to ‘launch’ the new wine or make Him resident where He’ll be spilled and wasted. The vessels must be ready and appropriate, and that was to be achieved by Christ’s work of redemption.
So what happened to the disciples at the upper room basically was that they received the new wine having been made ready by Christ’s sacrifice.
The difference was clear afterwards. They received boldness, spoke mysteries, explained scriptures, performed miracles and made more disciples. They were unstoppable! That’s what the new wine does.
Gal 4:1-7 CEV
Children who are under age are no better off than slaves, even though everything their parents own will someday be theirs. 2 This is because children are placed in the care of guardians and teachers until the time their parents have set. 3 That is how it was with us. We were like children ruled by the powers of this world.4 But when the time was right, God sent his Son, and a woman gave birth to him. His Son obeyed the Law, 5 so he could set us free from the Law, and we could become God’s children. 6 Now that we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. And his Spirit tells us that God is our Father. 7 You are no longer slaves. You are God’s children, and you will be given what he has promised.
Paul’s letter to the Galatians as above distinguishes that the law kept men in a certain bondage, from which we were set free by Christ at the fullness of time (Gal 4:5) and thus became sons and furthermore became qualified and ready for the new wine – the Holy Spirit. (Gal 4:6).
God followed due process. God sent Christ; Christ came, died, resurrected and completed our redemption, we believe in His finished works and become sons, He sends the Spirit into our hearts – new wine in new wineskins/bottles. This is what makes sense, jump a step and it doesn’t.
We are in the dispensation of the Spirit, and there’s only one way to be relevant. We cannot continue to ‘follow’ Christ like His disciples did before the cross. We must be disciples following Christ by the leading of the Spirit. Christ Himself wanted this for us, there was much He could not tell the disciples because they were not ready (John 16:12 I have much more to say to you, but right now it would be more than you could understand. CEV), the Holy Spirit who was to come will reveal to them, teach them.
John 14:16-18 CEV
16 Then I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you. 17 The Spirit will show you what is true. The people of this world cannot accept the Spirit, because they don’t see or know him. But you know the Spirit, who is with you and will keep on living in you.18 I won’t leave you like orphans. I will come back to you.
John 14:26 CEV
But the Holy Spirit will come and help you, because the Father will send the Spirit to take my place. The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said while I was with you.
Heb 1:1-2 NKJV
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
Note that our own days and dispensation succeeds the above. So we can boldly say now, that God who at sundry times and in various manners spoke to fathers by prophets, to the Apostles by His son, now speaks to us by His Spirit.
Believers cannot afford to be fixated on prophets or even on “Christ’s dispensation”. There’s more! It’s an era of the Spirit.
If you focus on the era of the Spirit, it is impossible to lose focus of Jesus. Jesus said, John 16:13-15 ‘13 The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth. The Spirit doesn’t speak on his own. He will tell you only what he has heard from me, and he will let you know what is going to happen. 14 The Spirit will bring glory to me by taking my message and telling it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is mine. That is why I have said that the Spirit takes my message and tells it to you. CEV’.
So do not think focusing on the Spirit will make you lose sight of Christ; meanwhile being fixated on the prophets and ‘Christ’s era in the flesh’ can rob you of the wonderful experiences and greater works which abound by the Spirit.
Acts 19:1-6 CEV
While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled across the hill country to Ephesus, where he met some of the Lord’s followers. 2 He asked them, “When you put your faith in Jesus, were you given the Holy Spirit?” “No!” they answered. “We have never even heard of the Holy Spirit.”3 “Then why were you baptized?” Paul asked.They answered, “Because of what John taught.” 4 Paul replied, “John baptized people so that they would turn to God. But he also told them that someone else was coming, and that they should put their faith in him. Jesus is the one that John was talking about.” 5 After the people heard Paul say this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 Then Paul placed his hands on them. The Holy Spirit was given to them, and they spoke unknown languages and prophesied.
Paul found disciples in Ephesus, they had not even heard of the Holy Ghost not to talk of experiencing His power and workings. They were stuck at John’s baptism. Paul mentioned that Christ had come after John’s testimony and they instantly were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Did Paul stop there? NO!
He laid hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them.
Acts 18:24-26 CEV
A Jewish man named Apollos came to Ephesus. Apollos had been born in the city of Alexandria. He was a very good speaker and knew a lot about the Scriptures. 25 He also knew much about the Lord’s Way, and he spoke about it with great excitement. What he taught about Jesus was right, but all he knew was John’s message about baptism.26 Apollos started speaking bravely in the Jewish meeting place. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him to their home and helped him understand God’s Way even better.
Apollos was eloquent and mighty in the Scriptures. He knew only until John’s baptism and taught diligently on this, boldly in the synagogue. Thanks to God who through Aquila and Priscilla taught him God’s way more perfectly.
So friends, have you even received this new wine since you believed? Have you believed? Have you been filled with the Holy Ghost?
Well, now that you’ve heard; believe and receive.
CEV – Contemporary English Version
NKJV – New King James Version