Much to the exasperation of the religious people in his day, Jesus was repeatedly doing and saying things that weren’t commonly done or said according to the religious standards of that day. Jesus was more intent on introducing something NEW. Ephesians 4:22-24 reminds us to continually check the attitude of our heart to see that it reflects this new way of walking in righteousness and holiness. As you pray today, search your heart and surrender any attitudes towards yourself or others that don’t line up with the example of life that Christ set for us to follow.
Through the Parable Of The Wineskin, Jesus pointed out that what God desires is mercy (how we treat one another, the oppressed, the poor, the marginalized), not sacrifice (ritual, outward appearances, and religious practices). Are there any rituals or religious practices that are keeping you from extending mercy to those in your life that need it? Read over Psalm 86:15 and highlight the words that are most challenging to you. Say a prayer, using that scripture as a guide, that the Lord would help you to grow past those challenges and reflect the attitudes in that verse toward those you encounter in your daily life.
Jesus told religious leaders that if they wanted to be able to embrace the new thing He came to offer, they would have to be willing to let go of something because old wineskins aren’t fit to hold new wine. What do you need to let go of so that Jesus can replace it with something new? Take a moment to read over Proverbs 3:5-6 and write down some areas of your life where you may need to let go of something. Ask the Lord in prayer to help you replace those things with the new things He has to offer. Reach out to someone you trust and ask them to check in with you next week on how you’re growing in those areas!
Author Bob Goff writes, “Sadly, whenever I make my opinions more important than the difficult people God made, I turn the wine back into water.” As you read over Ephesians 2:14, ask yourself, “Why did Jesus choose to spend time with tax collectors and other ‘disreputable sinners?’ Then ask yourself if there are difficult people in your life or those that often go unnoticed, dismissed, or marginalized. Reach out to someone who falls into one of those categories and pray for them. Then, intentionally connect with them and invite them out for coffee/lunch/dessert and take some time to get to know them.
The old religious laws say that in order to be accepted by God you have to clean up your act and behave in a certain way. The new way that Jesus introduced says that you are valued, loved, and accepted by God just as you are. What are some ways you have been trying to “behave” yourself into God’s good graces? Take a moment to read over Zephaniah 3:17 and write down all the wonderful things that make you unique. Listen to the song You Say by Lauren Daigle and spend some time praying for the words of the song and scriptures would help you to receive the love of God just as you are.
TALK IT OVER
- Who were your best childhood friends when you were growing up?
- Were the majority of your childhood friends Christians or not?
- Despite differences between you and your childhood friends, what common ground did you share?
- Why do you think Jesus chose to spend time with tax collectors and other “disreputable sinners?”
- How can we follow in His footsteps when it comes to inclusion?
- Who in your neighborhood or workplace do you know that may be “living in the margins,” oppressed, or hurting?
- What are some practical ways you can step into their world and offer the hope of Christ?
- Is there anything in your past that you think holds you back from moving forward in your faith and in authentic relationships with others?
- In this message, Kelly related wineskins to our way of thinking and attitudes that motivate our behavior. What are some old “wineskins” you’ve found yourself in as you have grown in your faith?
- What do you need to let go of so that Jesus can replace it with something new?