I really enjoy good wine! I grew up in California, maybe that’s it? Maybe it’s because I really love food…GOOD food paired with GOOD wine!
To me, good food and wine is a wonderful part of the abundant life that Jesus has provided for us. Even in the old covenant, King Solomon said that we should eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all our labor- this is the gift of God. (Ecc 3:13) How much more should we be able to enjoy life now, as partakers of the new covenant?
Back in California, when my husband and I began learning about wine and learning about wine/food pairings, the exploration and experiences were a necessary part of the learning. In this way, growing in understanding of wine is much the same as growing in our understanding of God. You can’t just read about God and ever truly KNOW Him, you must experience Him, you must explore Him and His ways, you must taste and see!
Thankfully I have a good Papa, who has provided me with interesting friends who have wholeheartedly stepped into the exploration and experiences of knowing God. Because we have all jumped into the experiential portion of life with God, we feel comfortable to share with each other the odd experiences, communications and Holy Spirit rabbit trails. We discover aspects of God’s nature, His heart for us and our inheritance in ways beyond just reading our Bibles. Don’t get me wrong, we are all avid Bible study-ers. But our study leads to application in all sorts of ways.
Recently I invited a new friend to be a guest speaker at a ministry meeting I am hosting. I was excited to have her speak on her passion, healing through dance. After we talked, I wondered to myself how I would introduce her as I considered the questions that people might have about the event: “Adel, what does this have to do with our spiritual journey?” Or “How does this relate to your stated goal of bringing the Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven?” (People ask interesting questions in my imagination.)😉
As I pondered, the Lord brought to mind the illustration of old wine, new wine and wineskins that Jesus gave to questioning people. This conversation was recorded in Matthew 9:1, Mark 2:22 and Luke 5:33-39. He brought to my mind the qualities of old wine and new wine and how they are different.
In the world of wine, you may have heard that some wines need to be tasted young or new and others really need a few years and taste better when aged or old. What? Why?
Well a young wine has been recently bottled while an aged wine has been in the bottle for some years. If you tasted the same wine, bottled the same year over time, you would be able to taste the difference the time has made.
A young wine has a flavor profile that is called “fruit-forward.” I think that is so very appropriate to the new covenant. Fruit flavors are at the forefront of your palate. The fruit that is actually in the bottle and other fruit flavors that never were put in there.
A new wine is changing, maturing, growing. It is very much alive! Fruit is a result of Life not works. In the new covenant, fruit is the evidence that the Holy Spirit is living in us and that we are connected to the Vine.
Like believers in a new covenant relationship with God, a new wine is very much alive, growing and developing to its full potential. This is why an old wineskin will not do. The old wineskin has already been stretched to its maximum volume. A new wine will grow beyond the capacity of the old wineskin.
In a new wine, some of the flavors that are perceived were not actually put into the bottle. In the new covenant, some of the “flavors” that are perceived are not actually spelled out in the covenant, but they were in the ground, and in the atmosphere of the Father’s heart for us. They develop in the free and creative oxygen of the Spirit of God.
An old wine has gone through a maturation process as over time, tiny amounts of oxygen have penetrated the cork. The original flavors of a mature wine have changed and grown in complexity, and even the color of the wine has changed. Instead of the vibrant ruby red, or bright magenta, the color of the wine may now appear muddled and brownish. The obvious flavors of the fermented grape juice that was put in the bottle are now more subtle and the many qualities that made up the atmosphere of the growing grape vine begin to step forward on the palate; the minerals in the ground, the flowers and herbs planted nearby, acidity or tannins have become softer. Later another more subtle range of flavors develop, things that were not truly in the bottle whose flavors now step forward, leather and earth and spices…the list goes on. This is why an old wine can pair better with many different foods than a younger bottle of the same wine.
In the same way but not as positively, the old Mosaic covenant had matured and become complex, it bore the imprint of the atmosphere it had grown up in, an atmosphere marked by the pagan cultures all around. God designed complex rules to protect and separate His people from common-ness; to make them holy. His laws, however, did not dishonor or disrespect.
What God had put in the old covenant bottle, was now muddled with the ideas of men; over 200 new laws created by the Sadducees and Pharisees. Those man-made laws left the foundation of love, respect and honor toward God and people in exchange for religious values designed to look good to man. Those values invited judgement and dishonor against others rather than self-reflection and repentance.
In the last days of that covenant, the days that Jesus walked the earth, things that were not in the original bottle (covenant) had been added by the Pharisees, making the wine unapproachable until it had passed its peak and became a dead wine. Sadly, it was still being force fed to the people of Israel. As it always does, the religious spirit caused people who wanted to engage with God to feel far from Him and separated by judgement and rejection.
On the cross, just before his death, Jesus was offered a sip of “sour wine.” Sour wine is another way of saying, DEAD wine. Dead wine has either aged past its life or been exposed to air prematurely and turned to vinegar.
Jesus fulfilled the law by both his sinless life and by his perfect sacrifice on the cross. In fulfilling the law, He brought it to its intended conclusion, death. He rejected the dead wine. In a sense, He verified the death of the old covenant, the only possible end of the law. As he died, so our flesh also died to the law and is raised to life in the new covenant.
In Romans 7:6, Paul tells us: 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new [wine] of the Spirit, and not in the old [wine] of the written code. (My word [wine] replaces the actual word ‘way’).
It seems like an important statement that the last thing Jesus did in His ministry before dying was to reject the dead wine of the old covenant.
It also seems important that the first miracle Jesus did in His ministry was to make about 180 gallons of really amazing wine! He created new wine that John the Baptist, the last prophet of the old covenant, was not allowed to even taste.
John the Baptist, the last and greatest prophet of the Old Covenant was not allowed to drink wine. He “sang the dirge,” Matthew 11:17 the funeral song of the old covenant. But Jesus began his ministry playing the wedding song of Isaiah 61, the Good News of what, “on earth as it is in Heaven” is to look like for His bride.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
Good news, freedom from captivity, release from darkness, beauty, joy, praise, a display of His splendor! These and much more are the fruit of the new covenant that Jesus bought for His bride.
As his first miraculous act, Jesus, the first prophet of the New Covenant, made a tremendous amount of really good wine for a wedding celebration! He did this for people who had been partying for days and, according to the master of ceremonies of the wedding party, were inebriated enough that they could no longer tell just how good it was. I am not implying that Jesus intended that they become more drunk. Only that he always provides both a choice and an opportunity to rejoice. Psalm 104:10-15
This better wine was an unexpected and abnormal order of service to the MC of the event. Usually the host of a wedding would serve the good stuff while everyone was aware of flavors and qualities, before they had drunk too much to care about taste. Jesus was not capable of producing something that would fit with their expectation. He was generous in His heart toward them, He was generous in His provision for them and the fruit of his new ministry was outside the standards of their cultural expectations. For Jesus, the Wine and the Wedding are inseparable.
The generosity of God’s heart toward us is available to us in the new covenant. To believers living in the old covenant or mixing old wine and new wine into the old wineskin of the religious system they knew, the new covenant wine blows their wineskin-minds!
As we learn and grow in the new covenant, we read again the scripture verses that have always been right there before us, but our minds were not ready to receive the great gifts available to us. What is ours as partakers of the new covenant?
Could healing for some conditions caused by our enemy be as simple and glorious as expressing praise to our Father with our bodies? Healing through dance, healing through song, healing through anointing with oil, through laying on of hands, emotional healing through intentional praise, life altering promotion and acceleration by claiming the promises of God over our lives?
In 2 Samuel 6:14–17, David danced with abandon before the Lord as he celebrated bringing the Ark of the Covenant up into his city. David was leaping and dancing before the Lord. Why? Because he was now allowed to host the Presence of the Lord. As New Covenant believers, we have the privilege and miracle of hosting His Presence every day of our lives. His dwelling is within us.
In Jeremiah 31, after the Lord stated that He would be the “God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people,” He went on to describe how “His people” would respond to his goodness:
They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;
they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord—
the grain, the new wine and the olive oil,
the young of the flocks and herds.
They will be like a well-watered garden,
and they will sorrow no more.
13 Then young women will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. (Jeremiah 31:12-13, NIV)
I’ll say it again, to Jesus, the wine and the wedding are inseperable!
The New Wine of Jesus brings with it the oil of joy. The New Wine makes our hearts like well-watered gardens with much fruit growing up effortlessly. The New Wine brings comfort to our hearts and a shine to our faces. In my opinion, when we recognize the fullness of our inheritance as the Bride of Christ, we have plenty of reason to dance, to enjoy the fullness of what the New Wine means for us as overcomers and to receive every good thing our Winemaker/Groom has promised us. I encourage you to drink deeply of the New Wine.