If you haven't already, please read Part 1 of this series of posts. It sets the stage for what follows.
I started Part 1 with the following scripture reference on old and new wine.
36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”
In the Old Testament, we get a picture of how God worked with the nation of Israel. His consistency in working with them became, in a sense, a wine that they got used to drinking. They had, for example, expectations of deliverance when they were oppressed. Think of this as a part of the flavor of the wine. Consider this passage from 2 Chronicles, when Jehoshaphat sought the Lord because some nations had some against Israel.
2 Chronicles 20:5-9
5 Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard 6 and said:
“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. 7 Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 9 ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’
This was the cry of all of Israel when the Romans occupied their nation. They sought God for deliverance, but they sought Him for deliverance in a certain way, the way any nation would expect to be freed from oppression. That was the wine they were used to drinking. That was their history.
But God was bringing something very different through Jesus. This difference is illustrated in what is commonly referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus, in teaching his disciples, said the following:
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Jesus is not telling his disciples that their oppressors will persecute them. He is telling them that their own people will persecute them, that they will be rejected by members of their family nation. This is a very different wine; this wine has flavors of being despised and rejected in it, and Jesus was telling his disciples that they would be drinking this wine.
Jesus mentioned a few times to his disciples that he had a cup to drink. What was in the cup was this new wine, and it's not a tasty wine; especially when compared to the old wine. We still, today, usually prefer the taste of the old wine to the taste of the new wine. And the wine we drink can have an effect on how we expect God to work in us and through us.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
For some, this prayer is about what is going on externally. They want the kingdom to come so people will stop doing bad things. They want people to obey God's will on earth. This can especially be true in areas where people and governments have been highly influenced by Judeo Christian principles or ethics in the past but have moved away from those ethics.
But when we make this prayer internal, wanting the kingdom to come and His will to be done in our personal lives, the results can be very different. When Jesus was persecuted by the Romans and crucified, that was God's will being done on earth as it is in heaven. That was complete obedience. And the witness of this kingdom became something very new. When talking to Pilate, Jesus said:
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
The witness to Pilate that there is a kingdom and that it is not of this world was that no one came to rescue Jesus. No one came to his defense. This, again, is a very different wine from the Old Testament.
11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
We don't want to go outside the camp, outside the city. We don't want to bear this disgrace. We prefer a wine that says God wants to change the camp, to change the city, to change the nation. A wine with the flavor of being despised and rejected is not a tasty wine. Yet this disgrace, this willingness to be pilgrims and outsiders, is the witness to the world that there is a city whose builder and maker is God and that our hearts are set on that city.
In the book of Revelation, it talks about a time when the disciples of Jesus overcome the enemy. Not by changing their city but by the word of their testimony, even when it results in death.
11They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
This is God's will being done on earth as it is in heaven. This is a manifestation and witness of the power of a kingdom that is not of this world but is here within us. This is the church drinking from the cup that Jesus drank from.
I've said this before in other posts but want to say it again. I'm not a fan of suffering. I will do whatever I can to avoid suffering, for myself and for my family. But the cry of my heart for myself and my family is that God's will be done in our lives as it is in heaven (that we are obedient) and that our lives be a witness to a kingdom that is not of this world. We choose to drink this new wine. Not because it results in suffering, though it may, but because of the purpose, which is awesome.
And that will be Part 3.