New Wineskins

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” Mark 2:22

I want to parent my sons the way God parents me because God is the ultimate parent. I want to reflect everything He does as my Father into my children’s lives, as their father. I’m just a man, and I will make mistakes, but God is perfect and loves us perfectly. So I can always look to Him in order to understand how to love my children the best way that I possibly can.

You cannot put new wine into old wineskins, because the old ones will break. We have new wine now, so we must use new wineskins. Jesus gave us a new way of understanding what it means to be in the kingdom of God. It means grace, peace, and mercy. He said, “I’m paying the price for all of you. Now you are forgiven. So don’t continue to punish yourselves! I paid a heavy price to protect you from punishment.”

So I hang with my sons and build relationships of trust with them because that’s what God does with me as my Father. God forgives me. He knows I’m not perfect, so He doesn’t punish me when I mess up. That wouldn’t make any sense!

Instead He says, “Look, I know you’re going to mess up. In fact, you’re probably going to have your hand slapped from time to time. Life is like that. And even if you get a lot of breaks in life, you’re still going to feel some kind of sting when you mess up. It could come from the law, like getting a speeding ticket, or from society, when you break one of those many unspoken social rules. You will. Everybody does. I am not going to condemn you. The crucifixion took care of that.”

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split. Matthew 27:50-51

The curtain ripped to show us that there is a new process here. In this new process, God says, “You’re my precious child. You’re in my family! And in my family, everyone is forgiven. When you mess up, I’m going to love on you. I’m also going to teach you. Trust me. I’ll train you up. I’ll make sure you know what’s right. And I’m going to tell you to go and sin no more.

“But I’m not going to punish you. That’s not how it works. I’m going to forgive you and love on you.”

That’s why I raise my sons with no condemnation. I don’t condemn them because condemnation creates fear, and I don’t want them to fear me. I want them to look at me and love me, knowing that I loved them first. It’s not easy. I don’t always do it right. I mess it up! Absolutely!

God says perfect love casts out fear, and God is perfect love. Therefore, where there is God, there is no fear. There is no fright. We aren’t scared when we are with God. We might feel a reverential fear, because God is the almighty creator after all. But there is no fear in the sense of being scared in His presence. We have no reason to fear that He is going to strike us down when we mess up.

We don’t have to fear, and neither should our children.

Writing on the Ground

Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 7:53-8:11

This is a familiar and famous story from the Bible, and the meaning seems obvious, except for one thing.

What was Jesus writing on the ground?

I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Well, I think He wrote all the sins of the woman’s accusers,” but I don’t think so. I really don’t. My theory is that He was writing the Ten Commandments. That could easily be what happened. He was trying to make a point about sin, and the Ten Commandments would have perfectly supported His point. We’re all bound by them, but we can’t do everything right all the time. No one can. We all sin.

Try looking at this story again, this time with this perspective in mind. Can you see it? Jesus started writing the Ten Commandments on the ground, and He was looking down at them while He spoke. He said, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” His point was so clear. Every single one of that woman’s accusers had broken these rules. Jesus knew it, they knew it, and we know it. Jesus said, “You’re coming at her with her adultery? Well, I’m coming at you because you didn’t honor your parents. Say, how many of you have served things other than God?”

Picture this, and then you’ll know what the scribes and Pharisees were facing. They had no choice but to say, “You’re right! Here I am, judging this woman, but I fall short in keeping the commandments. I may not be bad about honoring my parents, but just the other day I coveted something that isn’t mine.”

You can’t judge others. You really can’t. That’s why Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” He could say that with complete confidence that no harm would come to her. He knew no one there had a leg to stand on!

We all sin. In this, we’re all the same. That’s why you rarely saw Jesus get upset with people. He looked at the adulteress, and He said, “Where are your accusers?” And she said, “They’re gone.” Alone with her, He didn’t yell at her. He didn’t condemn her. He simply said, “Well, I don’t accuse you either.”

When He looked at her, He understood. Jesus knows that in our weakness, in our flesh, we are going to sin. So He just released her. But not before telling her, “Go, and sin no more.” And I think she understood what He meant. This was God looking at her and saying, “In me, you have the ability to sin no more.”

And I think that’s where Jesus was just so good! He understood that people are not good. Not always. We aren’t! In our flesh, we sin.

We all have to understand that. We have to come to grips with it. And when we do, I think we will judge a whole lot less.

See you Tuesday.