Mark 2:21, 22 are our two verses upon which to reflect today. The context of these verses is this: the Pharisees (the religious leaders of Jesus' day) are upset because Jesus' disciples are not fasting. Jesus responds and says there will be a time after he's dead when his followers will use fasting to draw close to him. But while he is with them, they enjoy his fellowship like a bridegroom at his wedding feast. Then come today's verses: "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 the new wine is for fresh wineskins."
What is Jesus saying here? He is describing for all what following him is NOT. It's not just a new form of the Mosaic law. Following Jesus is NOT a new leagalism, a new way of trying to obey the Law so God will love you and you will be righteous. F
To the contrary, following Jesus is a new form of life altogether! It's an invasion of God's love into your heart. Your sins are forgiven. You are declared "righteous" before God. Your sins are forgiven...forever! You are now in an intimate, personal relationship with the living God. He walks with you, never to forsake you...ever! He is with us always, to the close of the age. We are God's adopted sons and daughters in his household of faith. We now have his name forever. We know are heirs of every spiritual possession our Father has in eternity. All this comes to followers of Jesus as a gift from God, through the Cross, by grace, through faith, NOT by the Law or works.
To try and take this new life from God through Christ and reduce it to a new form of the Law, mere legalism, is like taking a new cloth and patching it to old cloth. Eventually, it will tear away. Or it's like taking new wine and pouring it into old wineskins. The new, vibrant wine, with all its expansive gasses, will eventually rip the old wineskins apart.
That's what the Holy Spirit in the heart of the new believer does. He tears apart all old beliefs that I'm accepted by God because of what I do. This powerful, new love within us breaks apart old religious paradigms and produces a passionate heart filled with God's love and power.
That's what eventually happened in the days after Jesus' Cross and Resurrection. Eventually, the Christian Church had to break away from all forms of Judaism, the old Law. The old forms could not contain the new movements of the Holy Spirit.
Following Jesus is NOT a new form of the Law. It's NOT going through the outward motions of obedience for God's acceptance.
It's a new, vital, living relationship with the eternal Father who created us all. When that love invades us, we're never the same!
Always remember, in your walk with Christ, what following Jesus is (a new relationship with God) and what following Jesus is NOT (a new Law, a new obedience to try and earn God's favor through works).
The first gives life, love, peace and joy. The second brings death, frustration, despair and depression.